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Xiangguo Monastery

China, an East Asian country is one of the world’s oldest civilizations. It has a vast cultural history of more than five thousand years and an outstanding natural beauty. On the other hand, this country has remained a comparatively isolated and secluded one, and being a land of mystery, this country is not known to the western half of the world. However, China is rapidly developing and has grown in the phase of modernization, with an immense speed and is also welcoming the outer world to interact and do business with them.
Xiangguo Monastery is on Ziyou Road and was first built in 555. The temple was at most active during the Northern Song dynasty when it housed more than 1,000 monks in 64 halls. However most of the halls still found in the temple date back to the Qing dynasty. In the glazed-tile covered Octagonal Hall, you will find a wooden statue of the Avalokitesvara Buddha. This 5 meter or 16 feet statue is a masterpiece devoted to detail, and the deity has 4 faces and 1,000 hands and eyes. The monastery is a magnificent, resplendent architectural complex. In the Tang Dynasty, it was well-known for its ten incomparable possessions such as beautiful architecture, collection of Buddhist scriptures, frescoes and calligraphic inscriptions, etc. Since then, it has several times been destroyed, in natural disasters as well as in wars, and then rebuilt.
The monastery as it stands today was built at the time of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty. In the main hall stands a sculpture of the Goddess of Mercy standing 7 metres high and all plated with gold, it is a superb work of carving art said to have been chiselled out of the trunk of a single gingko tree at the time of Qianlong. Outside the gate to the monastery is a bell tower in which is hung a massive bronze bell weighing over 5 tons. Made in the Qing Dynasty it stands 3 meters or 10 feet high it is known as the Frost Bell of Xiangguo, because apparently, when frost forms on the bell its ring can be heard throughout town. It was one of the eight scenic sights of Kaifeng in the past.
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