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Baoguo Temple
2019-10-15 11:22 Text Size: A A A

Baoguo Temple, seated on Lingshan Mountain in Jiangbei District and 15 kilometers away from downtown Ningbo, is a thousand-year-old temple. The Grand Hall in the Temple is one of the oldest and best-preserved wooden structures in the region south to Yangtze River, invaluable to the nation’s architectural studies. The temple is surrounded with mountains, with Shiyan Peak on the right, Maan Mount on the left and backed up by Mao Mount. Therefore, it gives rise to a saying: Temple in mountains but where is the entrance? Yan Jing, head of the secretariat of the Ming Dynasty in the mid-16th century and a native of Ningbo, named it the First Mountain in the East. As historical records go, in the Guangwu reign of the Eastern Han Dynasty, Zhang Qifang, head of the secretariat, retired in this place after quitting officialdom. His hut was later turned into a temple and named Linshan Temple. It was later ruined, and then rebuilt, destroyed again in the Huichang Reign of the Tang Dynasty when Buddhism was denounced as heretic. In 880 of the Tang Dynasty when it was rebuilt, the temple was named Baoguo Temple by Xizong, the then Emperor of the Tang Dynasty. The existing Mahavira Hall was built in 1013, the 6th year of the Zhenzong Period of the Northern Song Dynasty. Numerous officials and personages and even emperors of different dynasties left their inscriptions in the temple when they visited it.

Baoguo Temple, being one of the national key cultural relics protection units, has its distinctive and unique architectural style. A few hundred steps up from the foot of Lingshan Mountain and following the Zigzag path after you pass the Diejin Platform, you can see the towering ridges and cornices of the Hall of Heavenly Kings. Behind the hall ,there is a lotus pool with clear and crystal water. And then further behind you see the the magnificent Main Hall. The roof is supported by using precision tenon technology and well- connected brackets, and no nails. On the ceiling of the hall are three well-like hollows cleverly connected with the whole frame. They somewhat conceal the skeleton-like beams from the visitors to the hall, that is why it is called “A Beamless Hall”. The hall deoth is bigger than the width, that is rare among all the Buddhist hall of the same time. The inside pillars are melon-shaped by piling up small wood blocks. It looks great and resounds when knocked. One more incredible thing about this hall: no bird nestles, no worm damage, no mouse holes. A popular explanation goes that this is because a kind of yellow cypress was used as the building material, which gives off an irritating smell can keep these creatures away, but no convincing evidence has been given, so this remains a mystery to be solved.

The temple is surrounded by a number of spectacular sights, such as the Duojiao Pavilion on the Shiyan Peak, the Wanghai Pavilion on the Xiangbi Peak, both boasting a panoramic view. 

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