Jing An Si (Jing An Temple) [静安寺]

  • Address:1686 Nanjing Xilu, Jing'an District, Shanghai
  • Getting there: 20, 37
  • Contact: 021 6256 6366  
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Although not as old as many Chinese shrines, Jing An Si, the Temple of Tranquility, can boast the longest history of any religious structure in the city of Shanghai. Housed in the temple are a Ming Dynasty copper bell (the Hongwu Bell) that weighs in at 3,175 kilograms (3.5 tons) and stone Buddha sculptures from the Northern and Southern States period. Prior to 1949, the temple was Shanghai's richest Buddhist monastery, presided over by the Abbott of Bubbling Well Road (an imposing figure who kept seven mistresses and a White Russian bodyguard). Today's Southern-style main halls are all recent renovations using Burmese teak. The temple is also the headquarters and repository for the Mi Sect, a Chinese Buddhist discipline that was all but extinct until it was reintroduced from Japan in 1953.

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