The White Horse Temple is situated 12 kilometers away from the east of Luoyang City, Henan Province.
The White Horse Temple, established in 68AD under the patronage of Emperor Ming in Eastern Han Dynasty’s capital, is the first Buddhist temple in China. According to folk story, Emperor Ming dreamed of Buddha circling overhead. Then two emissaries of Emperor Ming departed to search for Buddhist scriptures. Two emissaries encountered two India monks and persuaded them to come to China. In 67AD, they arrived in Luoyang with Buddhist scriptures and statues of Buddha loaded by two white horses. For greeting the two India monks, Emperor Ming ordered people to build temple and named it the White Horse Temple as an appreciation of two white horses.
White Horse Temple in Luoyang city is regarded as the cradle of Chinese Buddhism by believers. Occupying an area of 40 thousand square meters, the White Horse Temple is the best preserved ancient building complex. The original temple building was larger and more magnificent. Experiencing many vicissitudes, the main building of White Horse Temple was constructed in Ming and Qing Dynasty on the original site. They were refurbished in 1950s and again in March 1973 after the Culture Revolution. It has numerous halls separated by the courtyards which include Tianwang Hall (Heavenly King Hall), Great Buddha Hall, Daxiong Hall, Qingliang Terrace and so on.
Standing behind the temple gate, Tianwang Hall was constructed in Yuan Dynasty and twice refurbished in Ming and Qing Dynasties. In it, the statue of Mitreya Buddha was enshrined with statues of four Heavenly Kings on both sides. Located behind Tianwang Hall, the Great Buddha Hall was the second hall of temple. In the center of Hall enshrined three statues of Sakyamuni, Maha Kassapa and Ananda. These three statues were carving based on a Buddhist story. According to story, Sakyamuni kept silent and just smiled in a ceremony of discussing Buddhist sutra. Only Maha Kassapa understood his meaning so Maha Kassapa became his successor. Daxiong Hall was rebuilt in Ming Dynasty. The three Buddhas are placed in a large gilded sutra carved from wood. Sakyamuni is sitting in the center with Medicine Buddha on the left and Amitabha Buddha, the teacher of the Western Pure Land on the right. The vivid statues of eighteen Arbats sit both side of the Hall.
As the first Buddhism temple, White Horse Temple was designated as one of the national key cultural relic protection sites in 1961. Now White Horse Temple becomes a 4A tourist attraction which attracts many tourists at home and abroad every year.
Admission Fee: 50RMB
Opening Time: 7:30 – 17:30
How to get to: No.58 Bus from White Horse Temple to Guanlin Temple ( fee: 1.5 RMB)