Located in northern Chengdu, Wenshu Temple is often regarded as the best-preserved Buddhist temple in the city. Originally known as Xinxiang Temple, the Buddhist center was later renamed after a 17th-century monk who famously inhabited the monastery. The temple features an 11-story iron pagoda—the largest of its kind in China.
Though nestled amid a fast-paced street in the Sichuan capital, the grounds of the Wenshu Monastery offer visitors well-manicured gardens and intricate statues and carvings at every turn. Sip a cup of tea from the temple teahouse and vegetarian restaurant while listening to folk music, or visit the numerous cultural relics housed within the monastery grounds, including a broken skull fragment from the monk scholar Xuan Zhang and a jade Buddha from Myanmar (formerly Burma) brought to China in 1922.
Only a few sightseeing tours include the temple, but it’s possible to see it as part of a customized private tour of Chengdu, along with any other attractions you may be interested in.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Wenshu Temple is a must-see for those with an interest in Buddhism or travelers looking for an escape from the crowds.
- Entrance to the temple is free.
- The Wenshu complex is an active temple, so please be respectful of the devotees there to worship.
How to Get There
To get to the temple, arrive with a tour group or r take Metro Line 1 or Bus 16, 52, or 55 to Wenshuyuan Station.
When to Get There
While typically buzzing with devotees, Wenshu Temple isn’t as frequently visited by tourists as other Chengdu attractions, so there isn’t really a bad time to visit. If possible, opt for a cool spring or fall afternoon when the weather permits sitting outside with a cup of tea.
The Story of Cidu
According to local lore, a Zen Buddhist monk named Cidu came to the temple during the Qing Dynasty and lived in a hut between a pair of trees for several years. When he died and his body was being cremated, an image of Wenshu, a Bodhisattva, appeared in the flames. This led to the belief that Cidu had been a reincarnation of Wenshu; hence, the new temple name.