No. 106: Baotong Temple, Wuhan, Hubei

(This article was published in the Shenzhen Daily on September 15, 2014.)

The ancient Hongshan Pagoda (洪山宝塔) stands on the mountain
behind Baotong Temple (宝通寺), Wuhan, Hubei (湖北, 武汉市)

August 4, 2012 - After lunch in Guiyuan Temple's vegetarian dining hall, I boarded a local bus and waved out the window as I passed Wuhan's famed Yellow Crane Tower. Originally built in 232 CE, it is now a 1985 reconstruction a kilometer away from the original site.

Alighting some four kilometers east of the Tower (and five east of the mighty Yangzi River) I made my way to Baotong Temple. This exquisite compound was originally built around 1600 years ago, but, like the Yellow Crane Tower, it has been destroyed and rebuilt numerous times. (Wuhan has always been something of a hotspot.)

In contrast to that history--and to the crowds at Guiyuan--Baotong temple was remarkably peaceful. I was charmed by the two "free release" ponds near the front, each with a two-faced Guanyin statue (four faces in total). Around each Guanyin there were doubled figures of the twelve zodiac animals--four of each again, with 48 in total.

The temple climbs quite steeply, one hall after another at the top of steep flights of stairs. Each hall was brightly painted. Two of them had unusual names: The "Treasure Myriad-Buddha Palace" (with 10,000 Buddha figures inside) and the "Island Arhat Palace," where the 500 Arhats are displayed--unfortunately, behind cheap plexiglass that detracted from the viewing.

At the top of the hill is a pagoda dating to the Yuan Dynasty. Originally called Lingji, it is now called Hongshan Pagoda, after the mountain where it--and the temple--reside.

As I walked back down, the gates were closing. I had just made it!

GPS Info:
  • 30.53088, 114.34102


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


More pictures can be found here.

The front gate of Baotong Temple

One of the two-faced Guanyins, surrounded by doubled zodiac animals

A brightly-colored hall at the top of steep stairs

The 500 "Island Arhats" behind unfortunate plexiglass

The central figure in the "Myriad Buddha Palace," with some of the 10,000 Buddhas behind

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