Qing Yang Gong Temple (Green Goat Palace) is the oldest and largest Taoist temple in Southwest China. It is situated in the western portion of Chengdu City. Originally built in the early Tang Dynasty (618-907), this temple has been rebuilt and repaired many times. The existing buildings were mostly built during The Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
According to legend, Qing Yang Gong was said to be the birthplace of the founder of Taoism, Lao Tsu, and is where he made the first sermon about Taoism. Ever since Taoism was established, this temple was said to be the holy place for immortals to get together. According to recorded history, this temple was visited by two emperors of the Tang Dynasty. The temple was named by one of these two emperors. Because of this, Qing Yang Gong is regarded as a cultural and historical site of great importance in Chengdu.
Qing Yang Gong now contains a large number of buildings, each of which has its own distinguishing Taoist architectural features. Inside the main building, there are exquisitely carved panels of the 8 immortals of Taoism who are riding their assigned beasts. The statue of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, sits peacefully in a lotus blossom seat. In Qing Yang Gong Temple, there are several platforms. The Zijin Platform denotes the place where Lao Tsu was born, and one platform denotes the place where he gave his first sermon on Taoism.
In the middle of the entrance of Qing Yang Gong is the mountain gate. On it hangs a tablet with an inscription that reads "Qing Yang Gong". It is said to have been inscribed by an important official of the Tang Dynasty. The exterior of this gate is decorated with brightly-colored animals on its stone pillars and cornices. Delicately sculptured, these animals make this gate look elegant and brilliant. Standing right inside Sanqing Palace, one of the main temple buildings, there are the three immerse statues of Sanqing (Three Purities), the most representative immortals in Taoism. The highlight of Qing Yang Gong Temple is the two brass mythological animals which are the most famous relics of this temple. They are located in the Sanqing Palace. Considered the simultaneous incarnation of all twelve zodiacal animals of China, these two mythological animals are said to bring health and longevity to anyone who strokes their head. Because of this, their head has been worn smooth by luck-seekers.
Besides these key buildings, there are many other pavilions, courtyards, landscaped gardens, an excellent vegetarian restaurant, and public teahouses with Chengdu features located in Qing Yang Gong. Every spring there is a flower festival, temple fair, and Lantern Fair held near this temple. With the incense-filled air, ancient trees, and beautiful buildings, visitors to this ancient temple cannot help but feel peaceful.
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