No. 114: Lushan Temple, Changsha, Hunan

(This article was published in the Shenzhen Daily on November 24, 2014.)

The ornate main gate (大门) at Lushan Temple (麓山寺) in Changsha, Hunan (湖南. 长沙市)

August 13, 2012 - Reaching my next temple was a different kind of challenge. It wasn’t remote, like Zhenru, or far away, like Jingju. I just couldn't find it!

I had only the vaguest idea where Changsha's Lushan Temple was located. I had found Yue Lu Mountain, where it was said to be. But where on the mountain was the temple?

A taxi driver did his best to help me find it, but we failed (and he tried to refuse payment after driving me around for half an hour!) Finally, after I stopped lots of people and asked them questions, someone told me it was "right behind" Hunan University. So I wandered through the campus, asking even more people, and ended up climbing up the mountainside!

Remember that Changsha in August is hot and wet. I was not prepared for this.

The climb, though, was quite beautiful. It was lined with ancient tombs, pagodas and pavilions. The very names--"Huang Xing Tomb" and "Double Nan Stele," "Sui Dynasty Dagoba" and "Autumn Admiring Pavilion"--evoked a time gone by.

So when I reached the temple gate (which resembled the one at Kaifu), I felt like an intrepid explorer. Later I discovered that there was in fact a road up to the temple, with a tram shuttling past the temple's side gate. Had I only known!

The modest temple compound that we see today belies the temple's great historical importance. Founded by monk Zhu Fachong in the year 268, it is the first temple built in Hunan, and one of the oldest in China. Built and destroyed many times, most of the current buildings date only from 1985, and construction continues.

Today it hosts a large library, and is home to the Hunan Buddhist Academy. Overall, it was well worth the trouble!

GPS Info:
  • 28.17982, 112.93498


(Regarding problems with this map, please see the CHINA section on this page.)


More pictures can be found here.

The gateway at Lushan Temple resembled the one at Kaifu Temple. I was so happy to see it!

The modest main hall

A modern Thousand-Armed Guanyin stands at the rear of one hall

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