Home Taiwan A Temple’s Garden That Features Breathtaking Rock Scenery

A Temple’s Garden That Features Breathtaking Rock Scenery

Nestled in the countryside near the Zengwen Reservoir in Nanxi District in southern Taiwan’s Tainan City is a magnificent garden affiliated with a Buddhist temple, Dazhishan Xuankong. With a breathtaking garden, the temple ranked first among the 100 most beautiful religious sites in Taiwan in an online poll conducted by the Ministry of Interior in November 2013. 

The striking Lingbi stone at the entrance of the Trail of Life. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)
The striking Lingbi stone at the entrance of the Trail of Life. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

The Trail of Life

Covering an area of about 3 hectares (7.4 acres), the temple is known for its “Trail of Life” (生命之路), which is a 300-plus-meter-long winding path surrounded by stunning scenery. Standing at the entrance of the trail is the Lingbi stone, which has a distinctive shape symbolizing a warm welcome to visitors. Visitors may have to contort their bodies or lower their heads to walk through the hole in the stone before exploring the trail. 

The Trail of Life at Dazhishan Xuankong Temple. (Image: Courtesy of Dazhishan Xuankong Temple)
The Trail of Life at Dazhishan Xuankong Temple. (Image: Courtesy of Dazhishan Xuankong Temple)

The Trail of Life claims to be the longest of its kind in Taiwan. It features a large exhibit of outdoor art including a variety of tree fossils, limestone columns, statues, and many other types of stones, as well as splendid Taiwan white pines and old intertwined pines.

Sacred Stone of Buddha

At the center of the temple is the Sacred Stone of Buddha, 152-ton limestone boulder with a length of 10.4 meters, a height of 4.7 meters, and a depth of 1.2 meters. It is from eastern Taiwan’s Hualien County and is the largest of its kind in Taiwan.

The Sacred Stone of Buddha and the Heart Sutra at Dazhishan Xuankong Temple. (Image: Courtesy of Dazhishan Xuankong Temple)
The Sacred Stone of Buddha and the Heart Sutra at Dazhishan Xuankong Temple. (Image: Courtesy of Dazhishan Xuankong Temple)

The largest Lingbi stones in Taiwan

There are three massive Lingbi stones (靈璧石) displayed in the garden, weighing 173, 165, and 98 tons respectively. Two of them were erected at the entrance of the temple, and the third is placed in the Bodhi Garden.

An intriguing ancient rock at the garden of Dazhishan Xuankong Temple. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)
An intriguing ancient rock in the garden of Dazhishan Xuankong Temple. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

Originating in Lingbi County in China’s Anhui Province, the Lingbi stone is considered the most remarkable among the four types of stone deemed beautiful by most Chinese.

An intriguing ancient rock at the garden of Dazhishan Xuankong Temple. (Image: Julia Fu / Vision Times)
An intriguing ancient rock in the garden of Dazhishan Xuankong Temple. (Image: Julia Fu / Vision Times)

100-million-year-old petrified wood

There are many exhibits of majestic petrified wood (樹化石), which are around 100 to 200 million years old. It is said that petrified wood has the power of protecting people against evil spirits.

There are many petrified wood at Dazhishan Xuankong Temple. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)
There are many petrified wood exhibits at Dazhishan Xuankong Temple. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

Due to its scarcity, Myanmar has banned the mining and export of petrified wood since 2006, and this precious fossil has been nominated for UNESCO World Heritage Status.

There are a wide variety of odd-shaped stones scattering in the garden. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)
There are a wide variety of odd-shaped stones scattered throughout the garden. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

Forest of stalactites

One of the most amazing sights at the temple is its 5,000-year-old precious stalactites standing tall in the picturesque garden. There are 11 stalactites in various sizes in the temple grounds, and most of them are so massive that they look like skyscrapers.

There are 11 stalactites in different sizes at the temple. (Image: Courtesy of Dazhishan Xuankong Temple)
There are 11 stalactites in various sizes in the temple grounds. (Image: Courtesy of Dazhishan Xuankong Temple)

Other stones and statues

Additionally, there are a wide variety of odd-shaped rocks and statues scattered throughout the garden, including the thousand-year-old Buddha head statue from China, which gives the garden a peaceful and dignified ambiance.

There are many stunning stones at the garden of Dazhishan Xuankong Temple. (Image: Courtesy of Dazhishan Xuankong Temple)
There are many stunning stones throughout the garden of Dazhishan Xuankong Temple. (Image: Courtesy of Dazhishan Xuankong Temple)

Yongsing Suspension Bridge

The garden of Dazhishan Xuankong Temple is also a great location to take in the 500-meter-long Yongsing Suspension Bridge, which is the longest bridge in southern Taiwan. With an eye-catching purple color, the bridge is gorgeous and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Tainan.

The Yongsing Suspension Bridge near Dazhishan Xuankong Temple. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)
The Yongsing Suspension Bridge near Dazhishan Xuankong Temple. (Image: Billy Shyu / Vision Times)

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  • Billy has published over 100 articles on the beauty of Taiwan, traditional culture, and other interesting topics. He will continue to share more interesting articles with our readers.

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