Xianhe Temple is one of the oldest and well maintained temple mosques in Yangzhou. This place of worship was built by Deyou Emperor in his first ruling year.
The construction of this temple mosque coincided with the arrival of Puhaing, an initiator of Islam and one of the Mahomet’s, in the city of Yangzhou. Years later in 1390, the temple was completely rebuilt by an Arabian missionary, Ha San, when the whole city was ruled under the Ming Dynasty ruler, Hongwu Emperor. Interestingly, this temple has been rebuilt several times over after this!
What is so special with this temple is that it has a wonderful combination of traditional architecture of ancient China and Islamic structure. In fact, the Xianhe Temple is among those rarest places which have this kind of rich and interesting combination of architecture in the country. The Xianhe Temple along with Quanzhou’s Kylin Temple, Guangzhou’s Huaisheng Temple and Hangzhou’s Phoenix Temple represent China’s Grand Temples. Each of these places has their own characteristics and is worth a visit during your trip to China.
What to watch out for?
1. Unbelievable architecture
The grand architecture of Xianhe Temple is something to watch out for. Tourists from different part of the globe who gather here each year during the Islamic festivals are often seen marveling about the place architecture and overall beauty. In addition to depicting a unique blend of both Chinese and Arab architecture at one place, the design of Xianhe Temple will remind of a crane.
In fact, the outside design of this temple has a distinct “tail” and “mouth” layout. If the screen wall that faces the gate of the Xianhe Temple looks like the crane’s mouth, the forest comprising of bamboo shoots presents itself like the crane’s tail. Owing to these features, the mosque is called as “Xianhe Temple”.
2. Prayer hall
The prayer hall located at the Xianhe Temple mosque may be small, but it is kept open on all days to ensure every visitor gets an opportunity to be there and offer their prayers. It is certainly a humble place and will remind the visitors about the history of the place and the role of Islamic religion and culture in the east coast of China.
3. The Garden Tomb
This is another historically important structure you can find in the vicinity of the Xianhe Temple. The Garden Tomb belonging to the founder of the temple has the symbol of Islam topping it. The founder was a descendent of Prophet Mohammed and was a teacher in the temple. He lived in the city until 1275 AD, the year he died. The grave present inside this building also contains the holy Koran’s inscriptions. The graves of other prominent Muslim figures are located nearby to this place. The Muslim symbol of the quarter-moon sits prominently on top of this building.
Travel tips for tourists visiting the Xianhe Temple
1. Make sure you appreciate and respect the habitat that surrounds the temple.
2. Respect the statues installed inside the temple.
3. Visitors to the temple should not wear hat inside the premises and are not supposed to touch statues present there.
4. Taking photos of the presiding deity or statues present inside the temple complex is strictly prohibited. Tourists are required to follow the necessary steps to ensure they stay away from trouble while visiting this sacred place.