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The Golden Temple

Also known as the Golden Temple of the Heavenly Harmony Palace, the Golden Temple is a famous Taoist Temple in Yunnan Province. It is the one of the largest, tallest and best preserved temples made in bronze in China, and has been listed as Cultural Relic Site for Protection at State Level. It was named the Golden Temple because of the bright color which looks just like gold. Also named the Bronze Roof Tile Temple, the temple is made of bronze. It is 7 KM (4 miles) northeast of Kunming City proper on the Ming Feng Shan, or Phoenix Twittering Mountain. Surrounded by forests, it is a good site for outings and relaxing while taking in the fresh air. Recent years, many orienteering competitions chose the Golden Temple as their site.

Originally built in 1602 during China's Ming Dynasty, the Golden Temple of the Heavenly Harmony Palace was built by the military officer Cheng Yong Bin to copy the famous Golden Temple in the Wu Dang Mountain in Hubei Province. Throughout its history, the temple was renovated, rebuilt and relocatedseveral times. What we have now was reconstructed in 1671 during China's Qing Dynasty by Wu San Gui. Wu was a war lord who was assigned to rule Yunnan province as a reword of helping the Manchurian army conquered the Ming Dynasty and establish the Qing Dynasty. Wu was regarded as a betrayer by many Chinese, because as a Han Chinese, he facilitated the nomadic Manchurian crossing over the Great Wall, which was the final stronghold of the Ming Dynasty.  This led to the downfall of Ming Dynasty which was ruled by Han Chinese.

One of the most famous buildings here is the bronze building. It is 6.15 meters (20 feetsquare, 6.7 meters (22 feet) in height, and weighs more than 200 metric tons (400,000 lbs). Though it looks very much like wooden traditional Chinese architecture, every part of the building from the doors and windows, the roof tiles, the sacrificial table, the statues, the curtains and the inscribed plates are all made of bronze. Within the building are well-sculpted statues of Taoist deities. 

One of the other fascinating build
ings here is the Bell Tower, within which hangs a copper bell weighingmore than 14 metric tons (28,000 lbs). With a circumference of 6.7 meters (22 ft), 2.1 meters (6.9 ft) in height, it is the third largest copper bell in China. 

Other than these two most distinguished buildings, which are a popular spot for practicing Taoism, there is an additional cluster of typical Taoist buildings.

There are exhibitions displaying bronzewares in the Heavenly Harmony Palace that give you a snapshot of the brilliant bronze culture found in Yunnan province. With ancient trees and beautiful flowers, and rare spices also planted on the site, the Golden Temple is a popular destination for travelers.

Located next to the Kunming Horticultural Exposition Garden in the northeast suburb of Kunming, the Golden Temple can be reached by taking buses number 10, 71 and 76.


 
Minds Abroad is a Chinese Language School based in Kunming offering
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