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Shaolin Temple

Introducing Shaolin Temple
Shaolin Temple is located at Dengfeng County, Henan Province. It is the birthplace of Buddhism's Chan Sect (Zen) in China as well as the cradle of China's Shaolin Wushu (martial arts). In 1983, it was designated as one of national key temples in the areas of the Han nationality. Shaolin Temple was founded in the 20th year (496) of the Taihe reign of the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534). It was named Shaolin Temple because it is situated in the heart of Songshan Mountain, the middle one of Five Famous Mountains in China, and within dense woods at the foot of Shaoshi Mountain. It is said that this temple was built by Yuanhong (Emperor Xiaowen of the Northern Wei Dynasty) for the purpose of accommodating Buddha, an Indian monk who came to China to disseminate Buddhist doctrines. Afterwards, Bodhidhama, the founder of the Chan Sect in China, came to Songshan Mountain via Guangzhou City and Nanjing City by sea. In Shaolin Temple, he widely recruited disciples, and carried forward Buddhist doctrines. Since then, the status of Shaolin Temple as the Chan Sect's birthplace has been established. Shaolin Temple is also famous for its Shaolin Kongfu. Shaolin Kongfu obtained its great reputation during the Sui and Tang dynasties (581-907). In the Song Dynasty (960-1279), it became a unique school of Wushu named Shaolin School in the history and began to become an outstanding one among China's Kongfu schools. During the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), Shaolin Temple has more than two thousand monks and became a prestigious Buddhist temple. After the mid Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), it gradually declined.

Shaolin Temple Fast Facts
• Chinese Name: Shao Lin Si 少林寺
• Best Time to Visit: March to November
• Recommended Visiting Hours: About 3 to 4 hours
• Things to Do: Photography, Buddhism Culture, Martial Arts
• Opening Hours: 08:300-17:30
• Entrance Fee: CNY 80
• Address: Songshan Mountain, Dengfeng, Henan Province

What to expect at Shaolin Temple

Shaolin Temple covers an area of more than 30,000 square meters, so its scale is great. Much attention has been paid to symmetry of its overall arrangement. On its medial axis stand the Gate of the Temple, Heavenly King Hall, Main Hall, Sutra Hall, Abbot's Room, Thousand Buddhas Hall, etc., and a number of important buildings stand on both sides hereof. The Gate of the Temple is in the shape of red wall and green tile, and three characters Shao Lin Si (Shaolin Temple) on the tablet of the Gate were written by Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty. The Statue of Sakyamuni and the Statue of Kwan-yin are enshrined in the Main Hall. The Sutra Hall is the place where the temple stores Buddhist scriptures and expounds Buddhist doctrines. The Thousand Buddhas Hall is the largest Buddhas Hall in Shaolin Temple, and there exist large-scale colorful frescoes on three walls. These frescoes are of superb craftsmanship, and are treasures in China.

About 300 meters in the west of Shaolin Temple, there stands the largest-scale group of pagodas in China. This group, consisting of more than 250 pagodas, is the burial ground for all abbots of Shaolin Temple in the past dynasties since the Tang Dynasty (618-907). All pagodas are different in shape and size, and were almost inscribed and graved, which mirror the architectural styles of different dynasties, and is the treasury for research on China's ancient brick-and-stone buildings and statuary.

How to get to Shaolin Temple
• Shaolin Temple are approximately 17km from downtown Dengfeng, 70km away from Luoyang and 95km from Zhengzhou.
• Take Dengfeng Bus 8 (Dengfeng-Shaolin Line) to Shaolinsi Station. Then walk around 2 km to Shaolin Temple.
• Take a bus from Luoyang Bus Station or Jinyuan Bus Station to Shaolin Temple.
• Take a bus from Zhengzhou Central Bus Station to Shaolin Temple directly.
• Rent a car/bus from GGC to enjoy a hassle free private transfer from hotels in Dengfeng, Luoyang or Zhengzhou to Shaolin Temple.

Additional travel advice on Shaolin Temple
• Shaolin Temple is a religious site, so visitors should dress modestly and behave with good manner. Keep quiet in the temple.
• Visitors with entrance tickets can enjoy Kung Fu Shows for free during daytime. The shows are performed at the Martial Arts Hall of Shaolin Temple. And there are usually about 5 to 6 shows per day. Please check the performance time in advance. And it is better to get to the Martial Hall at least 30 minutes in advance to ensure a seat closer to the stage.

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