Nanputuo Temple is an attractive temple complex with a history spanning more than a millennium. Listen to monks chanting and smell burning incense as you stroll along the temple’s beautiful lotus-filled lake. Follow the pathway behind the temple to the summit of Wulao Mountain, which offers picturesque views over the city.
The original temple was built during the Tang dynasty and has been destroyed and rebuilt numerous times over the centuries. The incarnation you see today was built in the 1980s, following the previous temple’s destruction during the Cultural Revolution. The temple continues to serve as an active place of worship. Watch for locals throwing wooden blocks, lighting incense or reading scriptures.
In front of the temple, see the pretty lake filled with lotus blossoms. Take a break on one of the benches along the edge of the water. The shaded courtyard is another pleasant place to relax. Here, have a wonderful vegetarian meal dining alongside the temple’s monks.
Look up to appreciate the temple’s intricately decorated roof, which features colorful flowers, mythical animals and human figures. Don’t miss the golden statue of Guanyin inside the Hall of Great Compassion. This sculpture features dozens of outstretched arms, with a small eye engraved on each hand.
In the Devajara Hall, you’ll find a statue of the Maitreya Buddha, depicted with a characteristically large smile and fat belly. Look for the statue of Wei Tuo behind the Maitreya Buddha. Wei Tuo is responsible for protecting Buddhist teachings and is depicted holding a stick toward the ground, a sign that the temple is wealthy and able to provide food and lodging for traveling monks.
Climb the steps behind the temple, which lead up the hill to the top of the 620-foot-tall (190-meter) Wulao Mountain. This forested walk will take you past grottoes and interesting rock formations. From the top, enjoy gorgeous views of the temple below, as well as across the sea toward Jinmen Island.
Nanputuo Temple is located at the base of Wulao Mountain, near the entrance to Xiamen University. To reach the temple, take the bus from Xiamen’s train station or port.