Address: NO.12, Beihuoxiang, Changlefang, Xi’an City, Shaanxi Province
Popular Activities: Participate in prayer sessions and temple fairs
Opening Hours: 8:00-18:00 (On the 1st and 15th days of every lunar month, the opening hours is 6:00-18:00.)
Building Function: The main place where believers in northwest China teach and receive precepts and learn Taoist knowledge; a place to spread religious culture and do public welfare undertakings.
Overview of the Temple of the Eight Immortals
The Temple of the Eight Immortals, also known as the Eight Immortals Palace, is the largest and most famous Taoist temple in Xi’an. It is located in Changlefang, Dongguan, Xi’an. The Eight Immortals Palace is famous both at home and abroad for its beautiful and moving legend of the “Eight Immortals”, which is regarded as a scenic spot of Taoist immortals.
According to the Taoist legend, there are eight immortals, namely Tieguai Li(铁拐李), Zhongli Quan(钟离权), Zhang Guolao(张果老), He Xiangu(何仙姑), Lan Caihe(蓝采和), Lü Dongbin(吕洞宾), Han Xiangzi (韩湘子) and Cao Guojiu(曹国舅).
The Temple of the Eight Immortals now is divided into three yards from the main gate to the back hall. Outside the main gate, the screen wall is engraved with the four Chinese characters of “万古长青” (pronounced wàn gǔ cháng qīng, literal meaning: the lofty spirit will never disappear).
At both ends of the gate, the Bell Tower and Drum Tower stand apart. There are five halls in the first yard and the second yard is divided into the front and back halls. The third yard includes east and west courtyards.
The Hall of Ling Guan, the Hall of the Eight Immortals, and the Hall of Dou Mu are located along the axis of the temple. In the east, there are the Hall of Master Lü, the Yaowang Palace, and the Taibai Palace. The Hall of Master Qiu is located in the west courtyard.
The Hall of the Eight Immortals is the most complete Taoist temple in Xi’an. Today the Temple of the Eight Immortals is an integration of religion, culture and tourism. It welcomes visitors with its elegant environment and colorful cultural life. It has become one of the holy places and key Taoist temples in China and is among the first batch of cultural relics protection units in Shaanxi Province.
History of the Temple of the Eight Immortals
The temple was built in the Song Dynasty, renovated repeatedly in the Yuan (1206-1368), Ming (1506-1521) and Qing Dynasties (1636-1912), and was the part of the Tang Xingqing Palace.
In the early days after the founding of new China in 1949, the temple was protected by the government. And the government allocated funds for renovation several times in 1952.
In 1956, the temple was listed among the first batch of key cultural relics protection units in Shaanxi Province, and it is the largest and most famous Taoist temple in Xi’an.
In November 1982, the State Council approved the Eight Immortals Palace to be included in the list of national key temples.
Highlights to See at Temple of the Eight Immortals
According to legend, Wang Chongyang, founder of Quanzhen School of Taoism, was frustrated in his job as a wine supervisor and abandoned his position to seek Tao. One day, he met Zhongli Quan, Lü Dongbin’s master, at Ganhe Bridge. Then, Han Zhongli gave him a book called “Wu Pian Ling Wen” (A Taoist classic that records the process of alchemy) and he got the Tao. Later the bridge was called Yuxian (literally meeting the immortal) Bridge.
The purpose of building the bridge is to let future generations remember and learn the boundless merits and virtues of Lü’s master and never forget his own practice and the foundation of helping the world and doing good deeds.
Under the bridge, money hangs on both sides. It is said that throwing coins to ring money represents good fortune. When people walk across the “Yuxian Bridge” and put alms at will, it already indicates that you have a predestined relationship with the Tao and the immortals.
Hall of Eight Immortals
Hall of Eight Immortals
The Hall of the Eight Immortals in the center of the main courtyard is the main hall of the temple. It was expanded during the reign of Zhengde (1506-1521) in the Ming Dynasty and rebuilt during the reign of Kangxi (1662-1722) in the Qing Dynasty. The carved beams and painted buildings of the Hall of the Eight Immortals are antique. On the door of the hall, there is a plaque of “宝箓仙传” written by Emperor Guangxu of the Qing Dynasty.
Donghua Emperor and the Eight Immortals are enshrined in the hall. Donghua Emperor sits in the center, and the Eight Immortals are placed in two columns, from inside to outside. Donghua Emperor is the deity who governs all the immortals. His incarnation, Wang Xuanfu, was also the master of Zhongli Quan in the Eight Immortals, and Lü Dongbin got his Tao from Zhongli Quan. Because of this kind of teacher-student relationship, so they are honored in one hall and share the incense in the world.
Hall of Dou Mu
Gods of Hall of Dou Mu
Dou Mu has a peculiar appearance and is the most respected god. Dou refers to the stars of Beidou; Mu refers to the mother. Dou Mu’s belief originated from the ancient peoplee’s worship of the stars. Because she is the elder of the Beidou stars, she is nominally nobler than the stars. The Hall of Dou Mu was built to show respect to her.
The Hall of Dou Mu is surrounded by a red lacquered wooden fence, and two ancient cypresses stand in front of the hall. The iron-cast rectangular incense burner is filled with incense, and the words “福佑三秦” (pronounced fú yòu sān qín, meaning to bless Shaanxi) are cast on it. People’s respect for Dou Mu is a kind of psychological sustenance for people to get rid of disasters, take refuge, live long, and get rich.
Suggested Travel Route
Main gate→Hall of Lingguan→Hall of the Eight Immortals→Hall of Dou Mu→Hall of Mater Qiu→Hall of Mater Lü→Yaowang Palace→Taibai Palace
Story of Temple of the Eight Immortals
There is a legend about the Temple of the Eight Immortals. This Taoist temple with the original name Master Lü Temple was built in the Song Dynasty. During the Jiaqing Reign of the Qing Dynasty, the Taoist priest Dong Qingqi said that he had heard rumors among the citizens that they often saw eight people like immortal hanging around the temple.
Images of Eight Immortals
He also said that he had dreamed that Master Lü said to him: “Eight of us were always together, serving the interests of the people, eliminating the evils, spreading prosperity and becoming immortals. How can I lead the incense alone for hundreds of years, which makes me uneasy in my heart? It is better to change its name to the Temple of the Eight Immortals.”
He thought it was “the Eight Immortals were revealing the holy spirit”, so he changed Master Lü Temple into the Temple of the Eight Immortals following Master Lü’s will, and expanded it, making the Temple of the Eight Immortals the largest Taoist temple in the ancient city of Xi’an.
How to Get to Temple of the Eight Immortals
Take bus 8, 15, 37, 43, 300, 622, get off at the Jishiguai Station and walk northward for about 10 minutes.
Take Line 1 and get off at the Kangfu Road Station. And then walk southward for about 10 minutes.
Chinese: 请带我去八仙庵。English: Please take me to the Temple of the Eight Immortals.
Chinese: 请带我去八仙庵的南门。English: Please take me to the south gate of the Temple of the Eight Immortals.
If you go to the Temple of the Eight Immortals from Xi’an city center (NOVOTEL), it takes about 20 minutes (CNY 25).
If you go to the Temple of the Eight Immortals from Xi’an Xianyang International Airport, it takes about 80 minutes (CNY 120).
If you go to the Temple of the Eight Immortals from Xi’an Railway Station, it takes about 10 minutes (CNY 10).