Lugang Longshan Temple

If there were a beauty contest for temples, Longshan Temple in Lugang, Changhua County, would easily win. Built with bricks and cypress from Fujian, this sprawling Buddhist temple (10,000 sq. meters) is the best-preserved Qing-era structure in Taiwan. Sweeping swallowtail eaves, gossamer-like carvings, elaborate beams and brackets impart to it a breathtaking elegance. This is intensified by the traces of time you see everywhere – scratched wood, pigments lightened by sun, and ancient banyans in the courtyard.

The magnificently decorated ceiling in Longshan Temple serves to amplify sounds as well as the usual symbolic functions. Aptly, the resident deity of this delicate and dignified temple is the Bodhisattva Guanyin. Her shrine sits in the rear worship hall.

Longshan Temple has the typical layout of a Buddhist temple. You enter through the Shanmen (the Three Gates of Liberation), the main entrance. The first hall you see is the Hall of the Maitreya Buddha. This is followed by the Grand Buddha Hall, the main worship room. In the rear of the complex is the Hall of the Bodhisattvas.