Yuantong Temple


Basic Information of Yuantong Temple

Chinese Name: 圆通寺 Pronunciation: yuán tōng sì

Opening Hours: 8:00-17:00

Ticket: 6 Yuan

Building Time: 1319

Best Visiting Time: All year round

Recommended Time for Visit: 1-3 Hours

Address: No. 30, Yuantong Street, Kunming City, Yunnan Province

Building Function: Yuantong Temple is one of the most important sites for Buddhist ceremonies and a destination of pilgrimage for pilgrims and visitors. It is also the site for the Buddhist associations of Yunnan Province and Kunming City.


What You Need to Know about Yuantong Temple

Bells in front of Yuantong Temple.jpg

Yuantong Temple is located at the foot of Yuantong Mountain in Kunming. As one of the earliest Buddhist temples in China, it is steeped in history. It has gone through more than 1,200 years of vicissitudes, and it was built 100 years earlier than the Zhejiang Mount Putuo, which is one of four famous Buddhist mountains in China. Yuantong Temple was the Avalokiteshvara(the goddess of mercy) sanctum as the popular legend says. “Yuantong” is one name of the 32 alias of Avalokitesvara. So, it was built to consecrate Avalokitesvara. Yuantong Temple is the most venerable Buddhist temple in Yunnan Province. Refurbishments over the years have not swerved the distinctive architectural style of the Yuan and Ming Dynasties(1303-1372).


Developmentof Yuantong Temple

Octagonal Pavilion,Yuantong Temple.jpg
Octagonal Pavilion

In 765, Nanzhao Kingdom (a local regime in the Tang dynasty) established a city near the Dianchi Lake and built many Buddhist temples with the characteristics of Nanzhao, typified by the Potalaka Temple. The Potalaka Temple was later named as Yuantong Temple.

In the 1950s, the temple was responsible for taking care of the tooth of the Buddha. Ceremonies were held to greet and send off the sacred tooth, which was a meaningful event in the history of Yuantong Temple.

In the early Yuan Dynasty(1271-1368), successive years of wars destroyed Potalaka Temple. Then people spent 18 years reconstructing it and renamed it as Yuantong Temple.

In the Ming Dynasty(1368-1466), Yuantong Temple became the largest Buddhist temple in Kunming. Because the supreme ruler of Yunnan, the Mu family, designated Yuantong Temple as the main place for the Buddhist ceremonies of their family. After they became the biggest benefactor of Yuantong Temple, a large sum of money was used to expand and repair it.

In the Qing Dynasty(1644-1912), the gate was moved from south to the opposite side of Yuantong Street, and the “Yuantong Scenic Spot” memorial archway and octagonal pavilion were built, thus forming the pattern we see today.


Top Sites to Explore at Yuantong Temple

Yuantong Shengjing,Yuantong Temple
Yuantong Shengjing

 Yuantong Wonderful Realm

Yuantong Temple in Kunming has a unique architectural style. The front archway, engraved with “Yuantong Shengjing” (Wonderland), is at the highest place of the Yuantong Temple scenic area. So people who go down the mountain along this road can get a panoramic view of Yuantong Temple from the very beginning.

 Yuantong Hall

In the center of the temple complex, there is a small pond of carps and turtles and a small pagoda. An arched stone bridge connects the entrance to the main hall and temple. And various bridges and walkways cleverly connect the pavilion of the temple with the rest of the complex.

Yuantong Hall,Yuantong Temple.jpg
Yuantong Hall

 Yuan Dynasty Statues

Sculpture, a striking symbol in the history of art, bears some resemblance to old stories of solid forms. There are a series of Buddha statues such as Sakyamuni, Amitabha Buddha, and Medicine Buddha of the Yuan Dynasty in the main hall. The surrounding walls were embellished with the carvings in the shape of 500 Buddhist Arhats and the two pillars are carved with yellow and green dragons.

 Copper Buddha Hall

The architecture of Copper Buddha Hall is a blend of Thai and Chinese styles. The bronze statue of Sakyamuni in the temple is a gift from the King of Thailand as a symbol of friendship.


Ways to Get to Yuantong Temple

 By Bus

If you go to the Yuantong Temple from the center of Kunming(Dongfeng Square), you can take bus No.83, No.105, No.91, No.4, No.A2, No.129, No.234, No.59, No.71, No.23. It takes about 35 minutes to get there.

 By Subway

If you go to the Yuantong Temple from the center of Kunming (Dongfeng Square), you could take Metro Line 2 and get off at the Chuanxin Drum Tower Station(穿心鼓楼). Then you can exit the station through Exit D to take bus No.95, No.119, No. 235 or No. Z5 to get there.

By Taxi

Chinese: 请带我去圆通寺。English: Please take me to Yuantong Temple.

If you go to the Yuantong Temple from the center of Kunming (Dongfeng Square), it takes about 15 minutes and costs about 20 yuan.

If you go to the Yuantong Temple from the Kunming Changshui International Airport, it takes about 40 minutes and costs about 100 yuan.

If you go to the Yuantong Temple from the Kunming Railway Station, it takes about 30 minutes and costs about 32 yuan.     

Yuantong Temple
Yuantong Temple


Question & Answer
2 Questions
Asked by Jessica USA | 07/08/2021 14:54 Reply
yuantong temple
Is there still monks?
1 Answer
Answered by Ella England | 09/10/2021 17:00
Reply 0 0
Asked by Catherine U.S. | 06/26/2021 11:27 Reply
Can I take pictures in the temple?
Can I talk with the monks?
0 Answer
More questions & answers
Ask a question

Items with * are required fields

Can’t find what you’re looking for?
China Travel, Best Guide and Tips from Travel Exper