Linggu Temple Scenic Area

The eastern-most of the three scenic spots on the southern slope of Purple Mountain, the Linggu Temple Scenic Area is the quietest and most serene. Basically a collection of buildings scattered across the natural scenery of the mountain, there are three main attractions of interest here.

The first is the namesake of the scenic area, Linggu Temple. Theoretically this Buddhist house of worship dates from 514AD and was known as Kaishan Temple. However, it was moved by Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang from the site where his tomb now stands to its present location. At this time it was renamed and declared as the “number one Buddhist temple under heaven.” It has since been destroyed and rebuilt. Linggu Temple is a peaceful and pleasant place, but if you’ve made it to Nanjing you’ve undoubtedly seen more impressive temples before. The temple was under renovation in March 2008 and the additional entrance fee was ¥2. No doubt this will increase when renovations are finished.

Of more interest is the Beamless Hall, the only building in the Linggu Temple Scenic Area that has survived since the Ming Dynasty. Composed entirely of brick with no supporting beams, the hall has arched ceilings and is a fascinating structure. It was once part of the temple but now serves as a memorial hall to fallen Kuomintang soldiers and holds various displays on the topic.

Finally, the 60 meter tall Linggu Pagoda, which also serves as a memorial to the Kuomintang KIAs, was completed in 1933 from the design of an American architect. It carries an inscription by Chiang Kaishek on its exterior. It’s a tough, spiralling climb to the top of the pagoda. The reward is a decent view of the surrounding landscape (mainly trees).

There are numerous other buildings and a couple of tombs on the grounds of the Linggu Temple Scenic Area, and of the three spots this is probably the nicest one to linger for a while and wander about.

Admission: ¥35. Open: 7-18.

Directions: Tourist Bus Y3 from the train station stops at the Linggu Temple Scenic Area.

Alternatively, take the subway to Xiamafang station. You can then take the tourist shuttle (¥10) to Sun Yatsen’s Mausoleum and on to the Linggu Temple Scenic Area.

Show the taxi driver: 请带我去灵谷寺, 谢谢。 (Please take me to Linggu Temple. Thank you.)