Travel Report: Guandi Temple – Quanzhou, China.
February 2018. As with most Chinese cities, there are plenty of temples scattered around Quanzhou. I consider myself something of a temple veteran, therefore I decided to limit myself to the magnificent Guandi Temple on Tumen Street.
Guandi Temple stands in honour to Guan Yu, a Three Kingdoms general known as The Taoist God of War. Yu is famed throughout China as a pillar of loyalty and righteousness. As a result, you’ll see numerous statues of the old guy inside. There are also a few wall panels recounting the many tales of his life. I really love the architecture, an odd mix of classical Chinese and 1970s Sheffield steelworks!
The whole temple area literally buzzes with chattering merchants and persistent beggars. One guy even shuffled right up to me and shook his tin cup into my face! However, he quickly got chased away by this group of female vendors. Cheers, ladies!
Guandi Temple, Quanzhou.
I’ll never forget this amazing old woman propped up in a chair. She was so damn weathered, I half wondered if she’d been mummified! Nobody seemed to be paying any attention to her and, as I discreetly grabbed my photo, it suddenly dawned on me that she might be dead! She certainly wasn’t however, as seconds later the old dear emitted a sudden spluttering cough.
Guandi Temple’s smoky interior is small and modestly decorated. But it’s still highly atmospheric, as worshippers scurry about praying, burning incense and leaving fruit donations. Just take a seat on the wooden benches in the corner and watch it all unfold.
For the tiny fee of 3RMB, you can buy yourself a cluster of prayer papers. I was well up for this, especially as it’s a temple tradition to liberate your prayers in the temple furnace. All in the name of good fortune, health and general prosperity. The temple is free to enter and open daily from dawn until late into the night.
For more on this under the radar city, check out my other reports from around Quanzhou.
Or maybe search further afield with my zillion articles from across China.
You can also dive into my short story series, Challenged in China.
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