The Lungshan Temple located in Taipei, Taiwan, was built in 1738 by immigrants from the Fukien (Fujian) province of China who settled in Taiwan. It is primarily a Buddhist temple but has incorporated Daoist and Matzu tradition, a Goddess of marine voyage (helpful for island dwellers). This temple is regarded as a masterpiece of Taiwanese, Chinese, and Buddhist architecture. In 1945, the United States bombed the temple in our conflict with the Japanese, who had taken Taiwan as a colony from China for about fifty years, and much of the temple and many irreplaceable artifacts and works of art were destroyed. Nevertheless, the temple was rebuilt and designated a historic site, and really is a historic and beautiful must-see for anyone visiting Taipei.
At the entrance to the temple, there were vendors selling fragrant flowers meant for prayer and worship uses, but I bought up one because it was made of these really fragrant flowers sold all over Taiwan as natural air fresheners.
Upon entering the temple, you’ll see a lovely courtyard with a gardens, ponds, and breathtaking man-made waterfalls. On the day when I arrived at the temple, it was drizzling, but that just served to give the whole place a special rain-enhanced dazzle to it.
The intricate carvings on the rooftops of the temple structure were amazing, and it made me wish I had brushed up a bit more on my eastern religions studies so that I could better appreciate the stories and rich symbolism expressed in those painstakingly created works of art.
Despite the rain, the inside of the temple was packed, the walls lined with worshipers, and the air buzzing with chanting prayers.
After our visit to the temple, we were delighted to find an 85C Bakery just outside the temple. Although my general rule while traveling is to not eat anything I could find at home, I totally gave in and stopped by for a tall cup of my favorite sea salt jasmine green tea. Nevertheless, there was something about it that just didn’t taste as delicious as it does in LA (can’t beat the fresh California ingredients?), and the shop itself was actually quite small and cramped for me since I’m used to the gorgeously spacious ones out in San Gabriel Valley.
Next up, the largest collection of Chinese art in the world, the National Palace Museum.