China | Luoyang

White Horse Temple Luoyang

China Discovery Tour

Luoyang | China

03 Jan 2020 | Fri

Day 07 of 18

  • Drive – Zhengzhou to Dengfeng
  • Shaolin Temple and Pagoda Forest
  • Lunch | Yongtai Temple Vegetarian Restaurant Dengfeng
  • White Horse Temple Luoyang
  • Thai Temple Wat Hame Assavaram at White Horse Temple
  • Lee Royal Hotel Mudu Luoyang

White Horse Temple Luoyang

Situated in Luoyang, Henan Province, White Horse Temple is the first Buddhist temple in China and one of the most renowned temples in the country. A visit here is a must-do for any traveler to China, as it offers a unique glimpse into the country’s religious history.

White Horse Temple Luoyang

The temple was built in 68 AD during the Eastern Han Dynasty, and was originally named Lushi Temple. It was renamed White Horse Temple in memory of the two white horses that carried Buddhist scriptures from India to China. Today, the temple covers an area of over 30 hectares and consists of several buildings and courtyards.

When visiting, be sure to take a look at the iconic statue of the white horse that stands in front of the main hall. Inside, you’ll find a large statue of Budda as well as many other historical artifacts.

White Horse Temple is a Buddhist temple in Luoyang, Henan that, according to tradition, is the first Buddhist temple in China, having been first established in 68 AD under the patronage of Emperor Ming in the Eastern Han dynasty.

The temple, although small in comparison to many others in China, is considered by most believers as “the cradle of Chinese Buddhism”. The geographical landmarks to the south are Manghan mountain and Lucoche River.

The main temple buildings, a large complex, were reconstructed during the Ming (1368 to 1644) and Qing (1644 to 1912) dynasties. They were refurbished in the 1950s, and again in March 1973 after the Cultural Revolution. It has numerous halls divided by courtyards and manicured gardens, covering an area of about 13 hectares (32 acres). The display plaques in Chinese and English give ample descriptions of the Buddhist deities installed in the halls. Significant statues include Śākyamuni Buddha, Maitreya (the laughing Buddha in China), Amitābha, the Jade Buddha, Bodhisattvas such as Guanyin, and arhats and stone statues of the two white horses which brought the Indian monks to China and two mythical lions at the entrance. Under international funding, the temple has undergone many changes, both structurally and internally. The most recent cooperative project, with India, was completed in 2008 when the Sanchi Stupa and the Sarnath Buddha statue were erected.

– Wikipedia White Horse Temple Luoyang


Hall of Heavenly Kings

Has a statue of the Maitreya, known in China as the Laughing Buddha

Hall of Heavenly Kings

Hall of the Great Buddha

The main hall in White Horse Temple (built in the Ming Dynasty 1368-1644) and known for its elegant architecture. In the middle of the hall stands a statue of the Buddhist patriarch Sakyamuni along with two of his disciples – Kasyapa and Ananda standing on each side.

High Incense Burner in Front of Hall of the Great Buddha

Hall of Guidance

The smallest hall at the White Horse Temple, here you will find the Amitabha Buddha (also known as the Buddha of Guidance). To his left and right are the Bodhisattva of Moonlight and the Goddess of Mercy. These sculptures were produced during the Qing Dynasty (1644 to 1912).

Hall of Mahavira

The largest and most impressive hall in White Horse Temple. In the center stands a two-story Buddhist shrine that showcases hand-carved birds and giant dragons.  Also included are three saints Sakyamuni, Amitabha, and the Buddha of Medicine look with the eighteen arhats (followers) all made from hemp, silk, and clay. These items still keep their colorful appearance even though they were made in the Yuan Dynasty (1279–1368).

Monks Performing Funeral Ceremony

Foreign Temple Complex

As you exit out of the White Horse Temple complex (at back on the left side of complex) you will enter the Foreign Temple Complex. We did not realize about this section so it came as a surprise when we spotted a Thai Temple. In this section, you will find Temples from Thailand, Myanmar, and India.

I will cover the Thailand Temple in its own post here Thai Temple Wat Hame Assavaram at White Horse Temple

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