Longshan Temple/Mengjia Longshan Temple No. 211 Guangzhou Street, Wanhua District. Daily 6am-10:20pm. Free.
Located in the historic Wanhua District--the old village part of Taipei--this Buddhist-Taoist temple has been here nearly 300 years, since 1738. Though small, it is busy and is the best known temple in Taiwan. The temple has stood through natural disasters and several wars, including a bombing by Americans in World War II (it was thought that in error that the Japanese were hiding weapons inside). Three decorative gates with curling swallowtail eaves are positioned one within the next, and visitors are greeted when they walk through the first by an expansive courtyard with waterfall.
|interior gate at Longshan Temple/Mengjia Longshan Temple in Tapei, Taiwan|
When I visited, the exterior was lined with hundreds of yellow lanterns, and the courtyard was filled with lantern decorations that were part of the Taiwan Lantern Festival extravaganza.
|yellow lanterns decorate exterior of Longshan Temple/Mengjia Longshan Temple in Tapei, Taiwan|
Features include elaborate stone and wood carvings. Dedicated to Guanyin, the god of mercy, people come to the temple to worship more than 100 other gods and goddesses in side halls, including Matsu, goddess of the sea, and Wenchang Dijun, god of literature (exam periods are particularly busy here). Worshipers bring their offerings to leave on large tables,
|offerings table at Longshan Temple/Mengjia Longshan Temple in Tapei, Taiwan|
and anyone can ask at a window for a stick of incense to light as they make requests of gods. Chanting occurs at 6 a.m., 8 a.m., and 5 p.m.
|lighting candles at Longshan Temple/Mengjia Longshan Temple in Tapei, Taiwan|
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images ©2016 Carole Terwilliger Meyers