The Shuanglin Temple is located in Zhongdu Town (southwest to Pingyao County) in Shanxi Province. According to the oldest stone tablet, the Shuanglin Temple has a history of more than 1,400 years. The Shuanglin Temple covers an area of 15,000 square meters. Facing to the south, the temple consists of Hall of the Heavenly Kings, Hall of Sakya, and Hall of Bodhisattva and the Thousands-Buddha Hall.
The Shuanglin Temple is one of the most important historical sites of Pingyao. It is renowned for owning a long history and preserving thousands of spectacular painted sculptures.
Entering the gate of the Shuanglin Temple, the hall right in the north is the Hall of the Heavenly Kings. There are marvelous sculptures of four Buddha's attendants standing under the eaves of the hall. Inside the hall, the sculpture of Maitreya sits in the center with four celestial kings in the north and eight Bodhisattvas in the south. The four spectacular sculptures of celestial kings are three meters in height, and each of them holds an instrument in their hands (respectively Pipa - a stringed Chinese lute, a sword, a snake and an umbrella).
Going through the Hall of the Heavenly Kings, visitors will arrive at the Hall of Sakya. The hall consecrates Sakyamuni, Manjuri and Samantabhadra. Paintings on the walls vividly tell the story of Sakyamuni. The sculpture of Avalokitesvara sitting on the pedestal with her right leg bent and leaving one stepping on a lotus leaf is one of the most precious sculptures in the temple.
Located in the middle court, the main sculpture in the Thousands-Buddha Hall in the east houses a sculpture of Avalokitesvara. Among the rest more than 500 small sculptures, one of Skanda by the side of Avalokitesvara is regarded as one of the master pieces. Those lifelike portraits on windowsills and the sides of the gate are of great value for exploring the costumes of Ming Dynasty. In the Hall of Bodhisattva, a beautiful sculpture of Thousand-arm Avalokitesvara with a peaceful expression, dignified appearance, and bright colors is one of the highlights among the thousands of sculptures.
Opening hours: 8:00-19:30 (Spring and Summer); 8:00-18:00(autumn and winter)
Ticket price: 40 CNY
Recommended visit time: 1 hour
There is no direct bus from Pingyao to the Shuanglin Temple. You could rent a car to visit the Shuanglin Temple (about 6km).