The Wuhou Temple, or also known as The Wuhou Memorial Temple of Chengdu, is a famous shrine built to honor and remember the Shu Kingdom during the time of The Three Kingdoms of China dating back 220 to 280.
The Shu Kingdom was ruled by Liu Bei, the first emperor of the monarchy. Liu Bei had a trusted advisor named Zhuge Liang, a talented politician who excelled in military and astronomy. He is one of the legendary historical figures during his time with the title of ‘Wuxiang Hou’ or ‘Marquis Wuxiang’ hence the temple was also called Wuhou Marquis Memorial Temple. Initially, it was a shrine dedicated to Zhuge Liang until it was destroyed after the fall of the Shu Kingdom.
The shrine was ultimately forgotten when Dufu, a famous poet who lived in 712-770 of the Tang Dynasty, wrote about the beautiful Wuhou temple surrounded by cypress trees. Centuries later, it was discovered and rebuilt in 1672 during the Qing Dynasty. The renovations included construction of a memorial temple for Liu Bei and other officials of the Shu Kingdom.
Located in the southwestern suburbs of Chengdu, the Wuhou Temple is peacefully situated among the lovely gardens and the forest shade from old cypress trees. The whole temple is measured to 37,000 square meters from south to north with well-preserved architectural structures.
The buildings are reminiscent of the ancient kingdoms of China with inscriptions written in walls and tablets that narrate the story of each character. The most famed stone tablet in the shrine is called the Tablet of Triple Success. This is the first structure you can see in the front gate. It is made of wooden slab shaped into a large monument. The name derived from the three renowned Chinese artists; Pei Du who penned the inscriptions, Liu Gongchuo who styled the wordings, and Lu Jian who engraved the writings in the tablet.
The Wuhou Temple is divided into three sections, the Cultural Relics Area for historical storytelling of the Shu Kingdom, the Garden for a natural experience, and the Jinli Street for cultural appreciation of the ancient lifestyle of Chengdu.
The Cultural Relics
This area consists of temples and mausoleums that occupy most of the attraction:
The Temple of Liu Bei
The first temple that you will pass after the gate is the Temple of Liu Bei. The showstopper of this temple is the golden statue of Liu Bei at the center along with his descendants and officials. Liu Bei’s shrine is the largest and most magnificent structure in Wuhou.
The Temple of Zhuge Liang
After the temple of Liu Bei sits Zhuge Liang’s memorial shrine. Even if it is not as grandiose as Liu Bei’s temple, Zhuge Liang is the highlight of the Wuhou experience. His golden sculpture is positioned in the center of the building with his son and grandson at the back. Inside his temple, there is a guest room, study area, a bell tower, and a drum tower. It is known that the three bronze drums in front of Zhuge Liang's statue were the one he used when he was leading his army to battle. When you gaze your eyes at the roof, you can find notable quotations that show Zhuge Liang’s wisdom and bravery.
There are other lesser temples in the cultural site such as Sanyi Temple and Jieyi Temple that both features the monarchy of Shu Kingdom. On the west side of the attraction, you can behold the Tomb of Liu Bei or Huiling Mausoleum. The tomb was built in 1825 with a surrounding brick wall that helps preserved the place.
At the side of the Mausoleum is the Southern Suburbs Garden. Here lies the cemetery of Liuxiang who served as the chairman of Sichuan province during the period of Republic China in 1912-1949. It features a stone memorial archway, a pavilion with tablet inscriptions, and hallways leading to the tomb of Liuxing.
The Jinli Street is found next to the Wuhou Temple. It is the national cultural industry demonstration base. It showcases a commercial district in Qing Dynasty style with a touch of the Three Kingdoms historic area. The street is lined with teahouses, bars, restaurants, theatres, and stores that fully exhibit the old way of life in Chengdu.
How to get there?
There are four (4) convenient ways to go to the Wuhou Temple. The first one is via Metro Line 3 and alights in Gaoshengqiao. Then walk for 3-5 minutes eastward along Wuhouci Avenue until you get to the temple. The second option is you can ride a bus from Chengdu to Wuhouci Station. Hop on to any bus with number 1, 57, 82, 334, 335, or 1126. The third option is if you are coming from other Chengdu attractions, you can take advantage of the sightseeing bus to reach Wuhou Temple. The last alternative is to book through a tour agency to arrange your trip for hassle-free travel.
What are other things to remember?
- The Wuhou Temple is open daily from 8 AM – 8 PM. You should come in early to avoid long lines at the ticket area. Entrance fee is 10 USD for adults, 5 USD for teenagers, and free for children below six years old. They stop selling tickets 30 minutes before closure.
- Check the schedule of the Wuhou Temple site through a local agency. They do occasional renovations so you might miss some temple sites during your visit.
- It is an open park, so it is more enjoyable without rain showers and intense heat. Visit the Wuhou Temple during the cool months from October – December.
- Foreigners may opt to take a local tour guide to fully appreciate the history of Wuhou Temple or avail of an audio guide for a small fee.
- You can squeeze in your schedule other nearby destinations since you can finish the temple tour in less than 3 hours.
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