The Xichan Temple, sitting by the hills of Yi Mountain, is located in Fengwei Village on the outskirts of Fuzhou. It is one of the five greatest Buddhist temples in Fuzhou City, along with Yongquan Temple, Chongfu Temple, Chongsheng Temple, and Linyang Temple.
Xichan Temple was first built during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AC), with a history of more than 1130 years. There were temples at the all four corners of Fuzhou city in ancient times, and this temple was in the west, hence the name Xichan Temple (West Buddhist Temple). On its premises of about 7.7 hectares there are 36 buildings of different sizes, including the Hall of Heavenly Guardians, the Grand Hall, Prayer Hall, Sutra Collection Pavilion, Jade Buddha Hall, the Pavilion of the Goddess of Mercy, guestrooms and the Meditation Hall. Most of the buildings in the current temple were rebuilt during the Qing Dynasty. However, the complex also includes very modern buildings such as Bao’en Pagoda.
The 15-tiered Bao’en Pagoda built in 1986 is the highest of brick pagodas in China, with a height of 67 meters. It can be seen from outside of the enclosing walls, even before you reach the temple. Although constructed by modern material it has an antiquity look and its walls are engraved with Buddhist stories and decorated with colorful patterns of flower, fish, beasts and insects.
The Hall of 500 Arhats next to the pagoda is the most impressive among the buildings of Xichan Temple complex. It houses statues of the 500 Arhats, each with a different and lively expression. This eye-catching building is a real jewel in architecture design. It also allows you to go all the way up to the top, and most floors have outdoor walkways around the terrace, so you could have fantastic view of the city.
Xichan Temple boasts a collection of jade Buddha statues and figurines brought from Myanmar, which are housed in Jade Buddha Hall, a two-story building. Downstairs you can admire a 2.95 meters high jade statue showing Buddha in seated position, while upstairs lays an impressive 3.7 meters long jade statue of a reclining Buddha, which is the largest in China.
In the Pavilion of the Goddess of Mercy, there is a huge bronze statue of Bodhisattva with 1,000 hands and 1,000 eyes, weighing 29 tons.
Besides ancient and modern structures, the Xichan Temple is also famous for its litchi trees. In the compound of the temple there are a number of lichee trees planted several hundred years ago during the Song Dynasty, and they still bear fruits.
Xichan Temple is very pleasant to visit and is very photogenic. The Bridge of Nine Turnings over the pond of freeing captive animals features the landscape of Jiangnan gardens. Standing on arch bridge, you can enjoy the scenery of the reflections of towers on the lake, red plum, green bamboo, and Lychee Trees of different sizes, which is very beautiful.