Golden Temple (Chinese Name: 金殿风景区) together with the Taihe Palace are regarded as two of the most interesting attractions in the Golden Temple Park (Jindian Park) of Kunming.
Taihe Temple is the most important and active Taoist temple in Kunming, Yunnan. Atop the front gate, is a large horizontal board inscribed with the Chinese saying ‘Ying Wu Chun Shen’ meaning ‘Spring abounds on Yingwu Mountain’ in Chinese.
The Golden Temple built during the Ming Dynasty is the most unique and well known structure in the park. It, like Taihe Temple, is a Taoist temple. However, the special thing about Golden Temple is its architecture. The walls, sixteen pillars, rafters, roof tiles, altar, statues, altar-hanging, the horizontal inscribed board, the table and even the banner on the right in front of the temple are all made from bronze. The burnished copper gleamed like gold and that is why people named it the Golden Temple. The whole temple weighs more than 280 tons, making it not only one of the four largest bronze temples in China, but also the heaviest and best preserved.
What to See
【Golden Temple Heaven Gate】 Started from the Yingxian Bridge at the foothills, passing the first door, second door, third door to the platform as high as 1000 meters above and there is a castle type building, towers, the crenel walls in the city wall, Taihe palace in the city.
Temple】 After entering the Golden Palace, you can see the existing largest copper temple in China – the Golden Temple. Its beams brackets, roof cornices, the horizontal inscribed board, altar, statues, the table are all made from bronze, weighing two hundred tons. Temple is 6.7 meters high, 6.2 meters wide and deep, the vertical cylinders are 16. In the temple there are 5 gold statues, Zhenwu is in the middle, accompanied by golden boy and jade girl- immortal boy and girl in waiting of a divine house on the both side and two generals of water and fire aside. The copper temple is sitting on high marble, is enclosed by two layers of stone railings, glittering, like a golden treasure house. Outside the Golden Temple there are walls, gates, battlements and gate tower. Behind the temple there is one camellia and two lagerstroemia indica, which were said to grow in the Ming dynasty. In Taihe palace there is a 20 kg Seven Star sword, which is a magic weapon to safeguard the mountain by Zhenwu. And there is the 12 kg wooden broadsword, it was said the combat knife used by Wu Sangui.
Tower】 There is a “Mingzhong Tower” in the southeast of Golden Temple. In the back mountain of Golden Temple Scenic Area there are three floors of 36 upturned roof-ridge of 29 meters high tower. Under the third floor of the dome, hanging by the great bronze bell made in Ming dynasty Yongle period (1432) 21st year, the bell is 3.5 meters high, 6.7 meters circumference, 14 tonnes, which is the Yunnan’s largest antique clock, has been 560 years of history. This bell is hanging in the southeast of Kunming city Limen Gate Xuanhua building (southwest of Jinri Building), and when demolished Xuanhua building it was moved to the ancient park. To protect the cultural relics, the government and the bell moved to the Golden Temple, and funding in 1983 built the bell tower. It is the tallest building on Mingfeng Mountain, there is wide field of vision when you step on the tower and look around, where is an ideal place to overlook eastern suburb of Kunming.
【Botanic Garden】 Golden Temple has 500 acres of the Bell Tower botanical garden landscape, now there has been built ten gardens of camellia garden, azalea garden, magnolia garden, rose garden, green house area, introduction of more than 2000 kinds of garden plants. Golden Temple Spot Area is a tourist attraction combine of humanities landscape and natural landscape features. In the side back of temple, there are thick folded camellia and two crape myrtles; legend has it for the kind of the Ming dynasty and planted during the Ming dynasty. Before and after the Spring Festival every year, thousands of camellia flowers are in full bloom, red as fire.
Camellia of Golden Temple is renowned at home and abroad, Golden Temple camellia tea garden has thousands of potted camellias, camellia is one of the eight famous flowers in Yunnan province, its cultivation history was over 500 years. Yunnan is known as the hometown of camellia and camellia is Kunming’s city flower. At the end of winter and the early spring, nearly all sorts of flowers are sleeping and leaves are falling, but camellia is still bursting into gorgeous bloom.
Golden Temple was built during Ming dynasty Wanli period thirtieth years (in 1602), built by the Yunnan provincial governor Chen Yongbin who imitated the Taihe Palace and Golden Temple style of Tianzhu Peak Wudang Mountain Hubei province, and consecrated Zhenwu deity. Around the temple was brick wall protection, such as towers, the gate of the building, which is called Taihe Palace. In Ming dynasty Chongzhen period tenth year (1637), the bronze temple was dismounting and partial shipment moved to Binchuan Jizu Mountain by the provincial governor Zhang Fenghe. Existing Golden Temple is reconstructed by Pingxi king Wu Sangui in tenth years of the reign of emperor Kangxi in Qing dynasty (1671).
Ming dynasty Chongzhen period tenth year (1637) the Golden Temple was moved to Binchuan Jizu Mountain, annals inscriptional record are consistent. The governor of Yunnan province Zhang Fenghe moved to Jizu Mountain.Tianzhuf Peak. Tianzhu peak is also called “goldentop” therefore. Jizu Mountain bronze temple was destroyed in 1966 during the “cultural revolution”
removed the “four olds” (old ideas, old culture, old customs and old habits) movement. Taihe Palace bronze temple in Fengming Mountain rebuilt during Qing dynasty Kangxi period, the inscription of the whole body ridge purlin in the bronze temple was covered by chimney spot, and the inscription verified the Taihe palace was rebuilt by Wu Sangui in Qing dynasty Emperor Kangxi period 9th year (1670) and he also rebuilt Zhenwu Bronze Palace. Completed in Kangxi period 10th year October 16th (1671). Because twelfth year of Kangxi period (1673)Wu Sangui raised army to fight against Qing government, therefore, local chronicles inscriptional record only written “rebuilt in nineth year of the reign of emperor Kangxi”.
Taihe palace Golden Temple was takeover in 1950 by military, named as the “Kunming Golden Scenic Area”. It was successively administrated by Bureau of Culture and Education, Culture Bureau, Construction Bureau, and Bureau of Parks and Woods. In 1966 during the “Cultural Revolution” sweep “four olds” (old ideas, old culture, old customs and old habits)
movement, the clay statues of different hall were destroyed, and the collapse of the temple. And in 1968, Taihe Palace was used as dormitory for Kunming hand cart tire factory, in 1970 it was taken back by the city of Kunming city Construction Bureau.
After the downfall of the gang of four, year after year to repair ancient buildings, and rebuilt the Thunder Temple, Laojun Temple, Sanfeng Temple, restored three heaven gates, Lingxing gate, built a new gallery pavilion, repaired part wall of Ming dynasty. In 1983, the top of Bell Tower was built to protect the original Xuanhua Building grand bell in Kunming city of the Ming dynasty Yongle period. From 1983 to 1991, in the south, east of Fengming Mountain, new requisition of land of 273 mu, the building of the Kunming Botanical Garden covers an area of 500 mu. Botanical Garden is divided into twelve theme gardens like camellia garden, greenhouse flowers area, azalea garden, water scenery garden, magnolia garden, rose garden, bamboo botanical garden, naked seed plant area, rare and endangered plants area, demonstration area, the parrot garden (bonsai area) and cedar lawn garden. Provincial and municipal governments successively make investment of more than 8 million RMB.
For the 1999 world horticultural exposition in Kunming, from 1997 to 1999, the municipal government successively in Fengming Mountain Golden Temple invested 20 million yuan, a comprehensive maintenance of Taihe Palace ancient architectural complexes was bring into force, and repaired Bell Tower, opened up the tower travel services area. And builded a large greenhouse showhouse, new cuckoo boutique garden, develop orchid nursery and ferns botanical garden, rebuild the autumn garden restaurant, transformed travel hostel, reconstructed campus tourism toilet.
Travel Guide of Golden Temple
【Recommended Visiting Hours】 2 to 3 hours
【How to get to Golden Temple】 taking bus No.10, 47, 71, 76, 146, 147 and 235 at Golden Temple
【Best time to travel】From March to October is the best time to travel, in the spring and summer the scenery is the best. The scenery in winter is simple, and it is not very good to visit as in other season.