Dai Temple, a holy place of Taoism

Dai Temple (岱庙also called Dongyue Temple) is a Taoist temple located to the north of Tai'an(泰安), Shandong Province. Together with the Forbidden City in Beijing, the Temple of Confucius, the Kong Family Mansion and the cemetery of Confucius in Qufu(曲阜), and the Mountain Resort in Chengde(承德), Dai Temple is one of the four China's best-preserved architectural complex.


Initially constructed from Han(汉) Dynasty (206BC-220), Dai Temple was built as where the emperors made sacrifice to the gods of Heaven and Earth, and worshiped the god of the Mount Taishan(泰山). Covering an area of 96,000 square meters, the temple houses various stylish buildings including Tiankuang Hall(天贶殿), Zhengyang Gate(正阳门), Drum Tower, Han Dynasty Cypress Courtyard(汉柏院), and the Tang Dynasty Pagoda Tree Courtyard.


Tiankuang Hall(天贶殿) consecrating the god of Mount Taishan is the most important building in Dai Temple. In front of the hall stand two pails and a huge iron censer of Ming Dynasty. Beside the censer stands a pavilion with a stone tablet inscribed with the poems of Qianlong Emperor, who is a great emperor of Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Walls inside the hall are painted a giant Taoist mural.


Besides the famous Tiankuang Hall, Linglong Archway, Bronze Pavilion and Iron Tower are all famous attractions reflecting profound Taoist culture. Built in 1672, the Linglong Archway is about 12 meters (39 feet) in height. Various patterns are carved on the archway such as two dragons playing with a ball, a flock of cranes playing with a lotus and the red phoenix in the morning sun. Bronze Pavilion and the Iron Tower are located at the backyard of the Dai Temple. Both of the Bronze Pavilion and the Iron Tower embody the beauty of exquisite ancient Chinese art.


Tourists who are interested in exploring Chinese calligraphy art could also have a close visit to the stone tablets situated inside the Dai Temple. The tablets are of great value of exploring both ancient Chinese Calligraphy art and Taoism history. Among all the tablets, the one written by Li Si(李斯), who was the Prime Minister of the Qin Dynasty (221BC-206BC), is of the most renowned.

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