Kaiyuan Temple (Quanzhou)

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Kaiyuan Temple
Quanzhou Kaiyuan Temple-the Hall of Mahavira.jpg
The Hall of Mahavira at the Kaiyuan Temple
Basic information
District Licheng
Prefecture Quanzhou
Province Fujian
Country China
Website http://www.qzdkys.com/
Completed 686
Site area 78,000

Kaiyuan Temple (simplified Chinese: 开元寺; traditional Chinese: 開元寺; pinyin: kaiyuan si; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Khai-gôan-sī), is a Buddhist temple in West Street (西街), Quanzhou, China, the largest in Fujian province with an area of 78,000 square metres (840,000 sq ft).[1] Although it is known as a "Hindu-Buddhist temple", on account of added Tamil-Hindu influences, the main statue in the most important hall is that of Vairocana Buddha, the main Buddha according to Huayen-buddhism. What is now called the Mahavira Hall (Mahavira = the Great and Strong) is in fact the Vairocana Hall.

It was originally built in 685 or 686 during the Tang Dynasty. Behind its main hall "Mahavira Hall”, there are some columns with fragments from a Shiva temple built in 1283 by the Tamil community in Quanzhou dedicated to Hindu God Shiva. The carvings are dispersed across five primary sites in Quanzhou and the neighboring areas. They were made in the South Indian style, and share close similarities with 13th-century temples constructed in the Chola Nadu region in Tamil Nadu. Nearly all of the carvings were carved with greenish-gray granite, which was widely available in the nearby hills and used in the region's local architecture.[2] In 1983, the Kaiyuan Temple was designated as a national temple.


  1. ^ "Kaiyuan Temple". Chinaculture.org. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  2. ^ Lee, Risha (2009). "Rethinking Community: the Indic Carvings of Quanzhou". In Kulke, Hermann; Kesavapany, K.; Sakhuja, Vijay. Nagapattinam to Suvarnadwipa: reflections on Chola naval expeditions to Southeast Asia. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. p. 240. ISBN 978-981-230-936-5. 

Coordinates: 24°55′00″N 118°34′52″E / 24.9168°N 118.5810°E / 24.9168; 118.5810