Zhi Nan Temple

Zhi Nan Temple is a Taoist temple on the slopes of Houshan (Monkey Mountain) in Muzha, a suburb of Taipei, Taiwan. It was founded in 1882. The temple’s main deity is Lv Dongbin, one of the Eight Immortals.

Popular folklore holds that unmarried couples who visit the temple together will break up. One explanation is that Lv Dongbin, famous for his Taoist sexual prowess, can be counted upon to seduce any unmarried woman (older versions specify that she must be a virgin). Another is that since Lv Dongbin’s love for Immortal Woman He was unanswered, he is jealous of lovers.

Zhi Nan Temple is famous for its stairway of “1000” steps. (This is to the Yuanzhen Pond and the Tudigong shrine; the gate of the Chunyang Chapel requires a further 300 steps.)

Zhi Nan Temple

I only walked down the 1300 steps after my visit to the temple because I took a bus route No. 530 all the way up to Zhi Nan Temple parking lot.

After I got off the bus, there’s still some steps to walk. On the way to the temple, I felt hungry and got some smelly tofu at this open-air food stall in a pavilion.

Food Stall

The oldest part of the temple is the Chunyang Chapel, constructed in 1890. Funding came from gold miners working in Jinshan. This shrine houses a statue of Lv Dongbin, founder of the Chunyang sect of Quanzhen (“Complete Perfection”) Taoism. The present statue was a 2002 gift from Zhi Nan’s “home temple,” Yongle Temple in Shanxi province.

Statue of Lv Dongbin

Facing the Chunyang Chapel, to the left is the Lingxiao Chapel (built 1963-1966). The main deities are the Jade Emperor (on the top floor) and the Three Pure Ones (on the ground floor). Below these may be found the classrooms and offices of the China Taoism Institute, a Quanzhen seminary granting 2-year BA and MA degrees in Taoism.
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Sanxia Township, Taiwan

Sanxia is an urban township in the southwestern part of Taipei County(New Taipei City).

I took a bus 706 to Sanxia from Wanhua, Taipei City. You can wait for the bus near Longshan Temple MRT station. Bus routes 702,703,705,910,916 also connect Sanxia with Taipei City or Taipei MRT.

Here’s a map of Sanxia Township:
Map of Sanxia
Click thumbnail to enlarge.

The first site I saw was Sanxia River and Sanxia Bridge.

Sanxia River
Sanxia Bridge

Sanxia Bridge was built during the Japanese Colonial Era. It has become a symbol of Sanxia.

Most people come to Sanxia to see Zushi Temple which is the most important religious site in Sanxia. Originally built in 1769 by Fujianese immigrants to Taiwan, it has been rebuilt three times, of which the last effort (beginning 1947) is the masterpiece of renown Taiwanese artist Li Meishu. It is considered by many to be the most intricately sculpted temple in Taiwan.
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