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Shanghai City God Temple
Shanghai Chenghuang Miao

Among diversity of Taoist temple clusters in Shanghai, Shanghai City God Temple is famous for its time-honored history and magnificent building complex at home and abroad. Shanghai City God Temple is located in the busiest and landmark-style tourist area of Chenghuang Miao. Initially, it is an important Taoist temple firstly built during the reign of Emperor Chengzu, specifically during his dominating period (1403-1424). Up to today, it has more than 600 years of history. Since its establishment, the scale of Shanghai City God Temple gradually expanded till the age ranging from 1821 to 1850. At its peak time, the total area is over 49.9 mu, roughly 33,000 square meters. As an important Taoist temple of Shanghai, Shanghai City God Temple suffered a serious destruction during the period of Cultural Revolution. And the god statues were ruined, and the halls were used for others. In 1994, as the gradual opening of religion freedom, Shanghai City God Temple was reopened and acted as the Taoist temple under the operation of Zhengyi Branch of Taoism. In 2005, the usufruct of wing-rooms in front of the main hall is regained, and then the second reconstruction project of Shanghai City Temple started. Today’s City God Temple covers more than 2000 square meters and consists of Huoguang Hall, Jiazi Hall, Caishen Hall, Cihang Hall, Chenghuang Hall, Niangniang Hall, Fumu Hall, Guansheng Hall and Wenchang Hall.

The Main Buildings of Shanghai City God Temple Scenic Area

Shanghai City God Temple
City God Temple of Shanghai

Yuyuan Garden, a classic traditional garden of southeast China, is a famous tourist attraction of Shanghai.

The frontispiece of the Main Hall is hung with a tablet themed with Three Huge Chinese Characters:城隍庙, and the eye-catching couplet of the gate is quite philosophical:

做个好人心正身安魂梦稳- To be someone kind that you will have a just heart, safe life and peaceful mind and dream
行些善事天知地鉴鬼神钦- To do something kind that it will be known by heaven and earth as well as admired by spirits and gods

The inside of the main hall is the sitting statue of Jinshan God, whose antetype was General Huo Guang(霍光将军) of West Han Dynasty. The left of the main statue is the official-style judge and the right is officer-style judge, and the other statues of the both sides are the followers of Jinshan God. Actually, the City God Temple had existed before the reign of Yongle of Ming Dyansty, and the local governor of Shanghai named Zhang Shouyue(张守约) rebuilt the Jinshan Temporary Memorial Hall used for memorizing Huo Guang to be Shanghai City God Temple. In 1924, the main hall was burnt down, and in 1926, it was reconstructed. The current one is the restored hall in 1926 – an archaized building made of armored concrete.

Yuanchen Hall(元辰殿), also called Sixty-Year Circulation Hall or Liushijiazi Hall. Yuan literally translated as commencement and kindness, and it means the auspicious time. Yuanchen God is the Year God of China and closely associated with each Chinese. Traditional China takes Sixty Years as a circulation, and people call it Liu Shi Jia Zi(六十甲子), and in Taoism, it is considered as a name of God, and then the belief of Taoism Yuanchen appeared. Liu Shi Jia Z i is a star god, so it is also called Taisu God(太岁神), each person has its own Taisui Year, and the birth year of the person is his Taisui Year.

Cihang Hall(慈航殿) serves Eye-Mother Goddess, who can cure the Eye Disease, Cihang Goddess in charge of safet and Tianhou Goddess in charge of sea-shipping safety.

Caishen Hall(财神殿, Treasure God Hall) serves Wenchang God in charge of reputation, fortune and official destiny, Lord Guan God in charge of safety and Treasure God in charge of wealth fortune.

City God Hall(城隍殿) is the last hall of City God Temple. The other halls include Niangniang Hall in memory of Lady Chu, who was said to be the wife of City God. Fumu Hall in memory of the parents of City God, and the Wenchang Hall serves Wenchang God, two side of whom are two immortal boys: Tiannong Diya(天聋和地哑) .

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