Guandu Old Town

Guandu Old Town, one of the cradles of the ancient Dian civilization and culture in Yunnan, is located in the southeast suburb of Kunming, far about 10 km from downtown. Being a famous historic and cultural town, dated back to the Nanzhao Kingdom (738-937) in as early as the Tang Dynasty, Guandu Old Town had been a big market town and communication centre. During that time, the town was called Wodong, a fishing village by the Lake Dian which served as an ideal stop for officials for sightseeing around the Dian Lake. In the onwards Song Dynasty, Mr. Gao Shengshi, who was the governor of Shanchan City (name for Kunming in the Song Dynasty), paid frequent visits to Wodong and berthed his boat on the shore. He later on named Wodong "Guandu" (official ferry) and brought it under his control, setting up Guandu County and constructing a town.

Major sights of Guandu Old Town can be briefed as “six temples, seven pavilions and eight shrines”, among which the earliest are Tuzhu Temple and Fading Temple.

Tuzhu Temple

Originally erected in the Nanzhao Kingdom Period (738-937), Tuzhu Temple covers an area of more than 5,000 square meters and serves as the shrine for Deity Mahakaya (Da Hei Tian Shen)-a protector of the Nanzhao Kingdom. Mahakaya was in fact Siva in Brahmanism in Ancient India. After converting into Buddhism, he became a Buddhist guardian. When Buddhism was introduced into the Nanzhao Kingdom (Dali Area) from Tianzhu (Ancient India), he was enshrined as a “patron god” (Tuzhu) by locals of Dali.   

Fading Temple

Originally erected in the Nanzhao Kingdom Period (around 756), Fading Temple underwent renovation in the 21st year of Guangxu Period of the Qing Dynasty. It covers an area of about 2,500 square meters, consisting of the Main Hall, the Side Halls, the Wing Rooms and the Gate etc. Being a column-and-tie wooden structure (Chuan Dou Shi), the main hall used to be the shrine of Mahakaya. The side halls and wing rooms are shrines of Buddhist and Taoist deities such as Goddess of Mercy, God of Fortune and Yuewang King (namely Mr. Yue Fei, a brave general in the Song Dynasty).   

Miaozhan Temple

Miaozhan Temple was first constructed in the 27th year (1290) of Zhiyuan Period of the Yuan Dynasty but was damaged by floods. It was reconstructed and shifted to the present site in 1325. There used to be two 13-storeyed dense-eave and solid pagodas of which the west one has been brought down by earthquake.

One can see a plaque inscribed with "Shao Lin Si" (Shaolin Temple). In 2008, Guandu District of Kunming and Shaolin Temple based in Songshan Mountain in Henan Province signed an agreement, according to which the latter is entitled to take over for 20 years Miaozhan Temple, Tuzhu Temple, Fa’ding Temple and Guanyin Temple in Guandu Old Town. Master Shi Yongxin, the Buddhist Abbot of Shaolin Temple, showed up to attend the opening ceremony of “Guandu Shaolin Temple”.

Jingang Pagoda

Guandu Old Town is usually recognizable by Jingang Pagoda in front of Miaozhan Temple. Sponsored by Luo Gui, a eunuch who garrisoned in Yunnan in the Ming Dynasty, it was constructed in 1457. (“Jingang” is a kind of pagoda construction style originating from India. Buddhist pagodas designed in this style usually comprise two parts: the pedestal and the major part. The pedestal surface appears rectangle or square while the major part turns out to be a big pagoda surrounded by four small ones)

The pagoda is said to be erected to vanquish a devastating devil locally called “Luo Si Guai” (Devil Conch). As the core of the architecture complex of Guandu Old Town, Jingang Pagoda appears to be the oldest of its kind in China.

Jingang Pagoda is composed of the pedestal and the major part. The surface of the pedestal is 10.4 meters wide and long, and 4.7 meters high; its base is hollow and has four gates spacious enough for vehicles to pass through. The major part of the pagoda is five pagodas the biggest of which is as tall as 16 meters and the small four ones all measure 8.84 meters high. 

How to get

To get to Guangdu Old Town from Kunming City, tourists can join in our tours, or take min-bus or public bus Nos. 31,169, 185, 908.

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