Bamboo Temple (Qiongzhu
Si), a Tang Dynasty temple known for its Arhat
statues, is arguably the most famous of Kunming's
temples. Arhats are famous monks and "saints"
of Chinese Buddhism, usually displayed in large
groups of 500 or more. The Arhats of the Bamboo
Temple were made over a period of seven years
by a famous craftsman from Sichuan called Li Guangxiu.
His masterpieces are extremely realistic and lifelike,
even if some of the statues are a bit surreal.
The temple is located on the
Yu'an Mountain, about 15 km from the center of
Kunming. On each side of the temple gate stand
four ancient Cypress trees, planted during the
Ming Dynasty, more than 400 years ago. Entering
the temple, the first thing visitors notice is
the carefully designed courtyard, spread over
four layers, one on top of another. The Main Hall
contains a trinity of enormous gilded Buddha statues
seated on lotus thrones.
Two hours should be sufficient
time to visit the temple.