The Qutan Temple was first build in the 25th year of the Hongwu reign of the Ming Dynasty (A.D.1392). The name of the temple was vouchsafed by Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang.The whole temple covers an area of 28,000 square meters, with the building area of about 10,000 square meters. It’s the most complete buildings of the Ming Dynasty, preserved in Northwest China.
The Qutan Temple has a long history. The whole layout is similar to the layout of the Summer Palace in Beijing. Therefore, it’s claimed as “ the Small Summer Palace”. The whole building is made up of three courtyards-the front courtyard, the middle courtyard and the behind courtyard. The temple gate, the King Kong Hall, the Qutan Hall,the Baoguang Hall and the Longguo Hall are arranged on the axle wire in turn. These main buildings gradually rise in accordance with the mountain. The Yubei Pavilion, the Small Bell and Drum Tower, the Cloister with Frescos, the Pagoda, the Side Hall, the Hall for Storing Sutra, and the Big Bell and Drum Tower are symmetrically arranged in the two sides of the main buildings. The Qutan Temple is well designed. The halls in different styles, the green decorative drawings, and the simple arches all display the typical architectural style of the Ming Dynasty.
Among these buildings, the Longguo Hall is the most representative. It’s the tallest and grandest building. It covers an area of 912 square meters. It’s built on a 2-meter-high granite platform. The roof beams and ridgepoles are carved with all kinds of patterns.The whole building is majestic and magnificent. A lot of cultural relics are stored in the Tanqu Temple.
It’s too numerous to mention one by one. The most valuable treasures are the stele which was bestowed by the emperor of the Ming Dynasty,dozens of steles of the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the gold seal, the sliver seal and the copper seal, the ivory seal used by emperors, the ivory Buddhist beads, the sandal Buddhist beads, the stone statue of Milariba, the giant bronze bell of the Ming Dynasty, etc.. There are a lot of frescos in the temple, covering an area of about 800 square meters. They are the frescos of the Tibetan Buddhism with the longest history in China. The gallery in the temple is called “ 72 Flowing Rooms” by local people. Walk upwards along the two side steps from the middle hall (the Baoguang hall). All inclined corridors and eaves are connected. They are well arranged. Drains are hiddenunder the temple. The Baoguang Temple is one of the most characteristic buildings in the Qutan Temple. The frescoes in the gallery paint the life of Sakyamuni, covering anarea of more than 370 square meters. The painting technique of these frescoes is outstanding. They are all painted with ore palette. Over 600 year later, they are still as bright as what they used to be. The Qutan Temple is surrounded by mountains and rivers.The scenery is very spectacular. Its architectural art, Buddhist art, statuary art and painting art attract thousands of believers or visitors to come here.