Visiting Taipei’s Longshan Temple and Herb Lane, Taiwan
I loved my visit to Taiwan, and I’ve already written about many areas of interest to see in the country, and in its capital, Taipei.
Taipei also boasts beautiful Buddist temples, perhaps chief among them is the Longshan Temple.
The temple was first constructed, on a much smaller scale, in 1738.
Today, it is considered one of Taiwan’s most important places of worship, known for its impressive wood carvings and stone sculptures – including twelve major support structures in the form of dragons in the main hall.
The temple was built on the site where an eighteenth century travelling merchant accidentally left an incense pouch.
Soon afterwards, a bright light shone from the pouch, with an inscription on the pouch reading that it came from Longshan Temple in mainland China’s Fujian’s province. Thus, the Taiwanese Longshan was founded.
The carvings and wood work of the temple are impressive, and we enjoyed wandering and admiring the temple.
We had never seen the tradition of divinity blocks in other Buddhist countries, but we saw this often in Taipei, and especially at Longshan.
Worshipers burn three incense sticks, while holding their divining blocks. They then ask for what they wish to know in the form of a question. Depending on how the blocks fall, the answer is either positive or negative.
Along one wall of the temple is Herb Lane (Qiangcao Xiang), with heaps of fresh and dried herbs and medicinal plants.
We had a nice time stopping here to have fresh mango juice and to cool down from the hot summer day… and it was the only way I could even dream of getting the kids to agree to head off in the city heat to visit more temples!
For more Taiwan tips, see my earlier posts on Island hopping – and overview for Taiwan, the amazing Taipei National Palace Museum, going up to the top of the famous skyscraper Taipei 101, and staying at the beautiful Silk Palace Hotel in Taroko Gorge.
Enjoy your time in this interesting island nation.
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