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Linggu Temple

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Linggu Temple, Nanjing Attractions

Breif Introduction
Linggu Temple is a Buddhist temple in Nanjing. It used to lie at the northeast foot of Mount Zhongshan, ie. where Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum now lactes, since since Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang chose the place to be his mausoleum and then the temple was moved to the present place. The temple was named by Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang himself. 

Linggu Temple is famous in Chinese history, it was described as "the best Buddhist temple in the world". It is said that in the Ming Dynasty, Linggu Temple flourished. Crowds filled the place to burn joss sticks. It is said that it could hold 1,000 monks at that time. The environment here is very pleasant. The Linggu Temple is surrounded by aged dark green trees and a large park, . The sweet fragrance of flowers pervades, and the sound of the bell is melodious. The forest and springs around add vitality and wild pleasure to the temple.

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Linggu Temple has the history of over 1,500 years. Originally constructed in 515 CE, the temple was moved here during the early days of the Ming Dynasty so Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang's tomb could receive the good fengshui of the temple's setting. Wuliang (Beamless) Hall, made without a single piece of wood or a nail, was chosen in 1931 to be the shrine to the over 30,000 soldiers who died in the Northern Expedition War (1926-1928). The Monk Xuanzang, immortalized in Journey to the West for crossing the Himalayas to bring back Buddhist scriptures to the Tang Court, is also memorialized here. Linggu Pagoda sits nearby the temple.

History of Linggu Temple
The temple was first built in 515 during the Liang dynasty (502-557). It used to lie at the northeast foot of the Purple Mountain, i.e. where the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum is located, since the Hongwu Emperor of the Ming dynasty (1368–1644) chose the place to be his mausoleum and then the temple was moved to the present place. The temple was named by the Hongwu Emperor himself. It used to be large and covered an area of over 300,000 square metres. Later it was destroyed in warfare during the reign of the Xianfeng Emperor in the Qing dynasty (1644–1911) and rebuilt during the reign of the Tongzhi Emperor. In the temple, except for buddhas and bodhisattvas, Xuanzang and his relics were enshrined and worshipped.

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What to see in Linggu Temple
Wuliang Hall
Wuliang Hall is 22 meters high and 53.8 meters wide. It was constructed in 1381, The hall enjoys high reputation for its special architectural techniques. The structure was built with bricks from the bottom to the top entirely, without a piece of wood or a single nail. Thus it was called Wuliang Hall, since Wuliang means beamless. It happens that the hall originally enshrined Amitayus (Buddha of Infinite Life) whose Chinese name pronounces the same with Wuliang. 

Later in 1928, the hall was turned into the memorial hall of soldiers who lost their lives in the War of Northern Expedition (1926–1927). More than 30,000 soldiers were enshrined. Linggu Pagoda was built in 1929 as a sign of remembrance for those soldiers. The 9 stories pagoda stands 60.5 metres high. Speeches made by Dr. Sun Yat-Sen and epigraphs of Chiang Kai-Shek were inscribed on the tower.

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Linggu Pagoda
Linggu Pagoda is part of the Linggu Temple Scenic Area in Zhongshan Mountian National Park. This is a spacious temple complex with a few attractions, namely this 7-tiered pagoda but also the Linggu Temple and The Tomb og Tai Yankai. The pagoda itself might be enough to draw you here anyway, but nevertheless the combination of surrounding sites makes for a very pleasant and mostly peaceful trip outside of downtown Nanjing.

Linggu Pagoda is not connected with the temple, but was designed by American architect Henry K Murphy and built between 1930 and 1932 as a sign of remembrance for the soldiers. The nine-story-tall pagoda stands 60.5 metres high. Speeches made by Sun Yat-sen and epigraphs of Chiang Kai-shek were inscribed on the tower.

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In the temple, there is also a Three Superb Tablet, on which a painting of Baozhi painted by Wu Daozi, a famous painter; a memorial poem written by Li Bai, a Tang dynasty poet; calligraphy written by Yan Zhenqing, a well-known Tang dynasty calligrapher, is inscribed. Since the three were all masters in their own field in the Tang dynasty, the tablet was considered Three Superb Tablet. Unfortunately, the original tablet was broken in warfare, the present one is a duplicate made during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor of the Qing dynasty.

Travel Guide

Admission Fee: CNY 32
Opening Hours: 8:00-17:30
Time for Visit: 2-3 hours
Best Season for Travel: Spring & Autumn
Address: Linggusi Road, Zijin Shan, Nanjing
Tel:  +86 25 8443 7786

How to get to Linggu Temple

Bus route: take bus No 202 and get off Linggusi (Linggu Temple) stop
Metro route: take Metro line 2 and get off Zhonglingjie and get out from exit 1 and you will reach to Linggu Temple

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