Review: Dongyue Temple (東嶽殿)

Dongyue Temple (東嶽殿)

Built in 1693, Dongyue Temple(東嶽殿) is one of the celebrated seven Buddhist temples and eight Taoist shrines of Tainan. It enshrines Dong Yue Da Di who, together with Chenghuang Ye (City God) of Chenghuang Temple on Qingnian Road nearby, are in charge of the Netherworld. Visitors often go there to pray for the deceased and occasionally communicate with spirits through mediums. The temple has been rebuilt several times.

When I visited, one of the temple leaders took me on a guided tour and showed me some of the artifacts they have in storage. One was an altar that had bullet holes in it dating to the Japanese occupation. According to the guide, Taiwanese children ran into the temple during a gun battle. The altar stopped the bullets from hitting the children and they all survived.  

The temple used to have a Worship Hall but this was demolished to make way for road widening. The renovators attempted to preserve the original appearance as much as possible and used the old materials to rebuild the temple. The temple houses several plaques, the most famous of which was presented by Luo Sheng-bao, Commander of the Bangka Garrison, in 1882, and has the words “What goes around comes around” carved on it. I asked the guide about this plaque but he wasn’t able to find it. Instead he showed me the altar. I would definitely recommend visiting this temple. It is one of the most important in Tainan.