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Kunming Attractions

Sightseeing Kunming


Yuantong Temple

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Yuantong Temple

Yuantong Temple is the grandest and most active temple in Kunming with a history of more than 1200 years. Located on the south side of Yuantong Hill, it is a destination of pilgrimage for pilgrims worldwide. In 1956, the temple held a tooth of the Buddha here for a short time.

As recorded in the inscription on the tablet 'Notes on Building the Yuantong Temple' erected in the 7th year of he Yanyou Period of the Yuan dynasty(1318), the Meng family of the Nanzhao Kingdom in the Tang dynasty built 'the Butouluo Temple' at this place. Butuoluo is originally a transliteration from Sanskrit, which means 'bright'. It was also translated as Putuo or Potala. According to 'Garland sutra'(Huayan Jing), Butuoluo is a name of a sacred Buddhist mountain. It sits on the South Sea in India and is a place of Buddhist rite for Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva(Guanyin Pusa). So the Yuantong Temple is a temple of Avalokitesvara since the Tang dynasty.

The Yuantong Temple has three features. Firstly , it is the earliest temple of Avalokitesvara.
Another famous place for Avalokitesvara rite in Mount Putuo in Zhejiang Province was set up in the Five Dynasties, which was 100 years later than the building of the Butuoluo Temple in the Tang Dynasty. Therefore, the Yuantong Temple and the Potala Palace concurrently built in the Tang dynasty are the earliest temples of Avalokitesvara in china.

In 1253, Kublai Khan, the king of the Mongolian Kingdom, conquered the Dali Kingdom and the Butuoluo Temple was destroyed in the war. It was rebuilt from the 5th year of the Dade Period(1301) to the 6th year of the Yanyou Period(1319)of the Yuan dynasty and renamed 'the Yuantong Temple'.

The name Yuantong preserves the meaning of the Buddhist rite place for Avalokitesvara because Yuantong is one of the 32 clerical names for Avalokitesvara. The meaning of Yuantong, explained by the Buddhists, is the compete awareness of wisdom, the deep understanding of Buddhism and obtaining the state of doubtlessness. It actually means understanding and enlightenment.

The Yuantong Temple, after several large - scale renovations in the Ming and Qing dynasties and after the founding of the People's Republic of China, has become the most famous temple of Yunnan. It is the site of the Buddhist Association of Yunnan Province and Kunming City at present. A large number of worshippers and cisitors come to visit it throughout the year and it is very popular even in the Southeast Asian countries.

China tours inclusive of visiting Yuantong Temple, Kunming


Kunming + China Tours

Kunming, Dali, Lijiang, Shangri-la Tour from $896.00
Spring city of Kunming, Stone Forest in Lunan, traditional architecture complex of Bai minority in Daili, tranquil Lijiang old town, mysterious remote land of Shangri-La (Zhongdian).
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Zhongdian, Meili Snow Mountain Tour from $1,042.00
Zhongdian County (Shangri-La) is a primarily Tibetan county, synonymous with a "heaven away from the turmoil of the mundane word". And gazing up on the Meili Snow Mountain towering above the clouds, you can't escape feeling a sense of the divine.
6 days Read Details
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