Every Chinese city once had a Temple of the Town God, the central shrine for Taoist worship. Shanghai has one that dates back to 1403 when local official Qin Yubo, who had been posthumously designated as Shanghai’s patron town God, was finally honoured with a beautiful temple of his own.
Tucked away within the folds of the Old City alongside the Yu Gardens and Yuyuan Market, the Temple of the Town God is home to the local deities who are responsible for the well-being and wealth of Shanghai’s residents.
Originally built during the Ming Dynasty, the temple enjoys a golden reputation, both at home and abroad, for its long history and magnificent architecture. Also known as Chenghuang Miao (the guardian of the city), the foundation of this exquisite temple was constantly extended over time and the temple now occupies an area of over 2000 square meters, housing nine halls namely – the Grand Hall (Huoguang Hall), Yuanchen Hall (Jiazi Hall), the God of Wealth Hall, Zihang hall, Chenghuang Hall, Niangniang Hall (Goddess Hall), Fumu Hall (Parents Hall), Guansheng Hall,and Wenchang Hall.
The present version of the Chenghuang Miao still retains its historic and authentic feel. Since its founding in 1403, the temple has been destroyed several times, but despite the tough times, the red-faced Town God today presides in fine style over his temple along with a cast of Taoist and Buddhist deities.
So, make sure you visit this marvellous temple the next time you’re in Shanghai, for it quite the travel experience.
Find your nearest Asian Store