The Lower Tianzhusi Temple is one of the three parts of the Tianzhu Temple. Since the temples stand independently from each other, they are also called the Three Temples of Tianzhu Hill, on which they are built.
Since Tianzhu Hill is part of the Hangzhou West Lake scenic area, the temples are also considered as some of the best scenic attractions in the region. They are also very important to those in the Buddhist faith, as all three temples are considered as The Buddhist Heaven of Tianzhu.
The Lower Tianzhusi Temple is also named as the Fajing Temple, a name given by Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty. The lower temple is also the oldest one, while the upper temple is the newest. The lower temple has up to 1,700 years of history behind it. The temple is credited to the Indian monk Master Huili, who came to Tianzhu in 330 AD.
It was then expanded by King Suikai and was even called the ‘South India Temple’ as many believe that it is merely another version of a similar site in India. The temple has, however, been ruined repeatedly during its long history, but its layout was finally re-completed when it was renovated in 1982. It has now been beautifully and completely restored thanks to the efforts of the Hangzhou Buddhist Association.
Things to do
Due to the popularity and prominence of Buddhism in Hangzhou, the three temples, especially the oldest of them, get a lot of visitors regularly. Many of these visitors are on their pilgrimage, and they consider it an honor to be among the monks who reside in the temple. Most guests also join in worship by burning incense and some paper money.
Also, since the temple is hidden deep in the valley of Tianzhu Hill, the Lower Tianzhusi Temple boasts of a very solemn and solitary environment, which is perfect for Buddhist pilgrimages and quiet, relaxing sightseeing tours. The temple is of particular interest among those who are interested in Buddhism and in the connection between nature and religion. While guests are not allowed to take photos inside the temple to respect the people who go there to pay homage, the temple offers an unforgettable sight.
The temple itself also boasts of a grand architecture, which has helped attract many famous monks to it. The temple therefore offers a great backdrop for photograph, and is certainly worth admiring. Inside, it also offers many notable halls, namely:
• Tianwang Hall
• Yuantong Bao Hall
• Yaoshi Hall
• Cangjing Hall
• Zhai Tang
Behind it, you will also see many hidden scenic attractions, including:
• Sansheng Stone
• Jinhua Cave
• Xianglin Cave
• Lianhua Cave
• Fanjing Tai
While there, guests are also encouraged to try the Xiang Lin tea (Fragrant Grove tea), which is produced in the Lower Tianzhu Hill. This is just as famous as the Bao Yun tea produced in the upper temple. The tea is produced from the Shuanghui Peak, where the Shuanghui or Baizhang Rock can be found.
The tea is produced in the tea fields that surround the temple, and is served in the restaurants and tea houses that can be found in the little village near the temple.
Other notable spots in the nearby area include:
• Super-mercy Spring
• Dream Spring
• Lizard Spring
• Huanying Well
• Zuochan Well
• Shixian Well
The Baoquan Spring is also famous and is another worthy place to see. The water there hangs off the Rushi Peak, and the place is surrounded by groves of ancient laurels.