Monday, October 13, 2014

Taipei Confucius Temple (台北市孔廟) [Taiwan Day 407: The House of Confucius - Oct. 12, 2014]


“Confucius Confused”, I still remember the title of the story in my Reading Marvels book during my grade school days. It was the first time I learned about the wise man named Confucius. Fast forward, I’m in Taiwan where the teachings of Confucius are very important like filial piety. I decided to visit the Taipei Confucius Temple to give me a new perspective about the great sage.


My Travel Buddy that day was Rakesh (Indian) and he is a first year PhD student. Having a Travel Buddy in my Taiwan Day Adventures is like having a ‘guest’ in my weekly ‘travel show’. haha! We boarded the MRT to Yuanshan Station and walked to find Dalong Street where the temple was located. 


We noticed a red wall while walking in Kulun Street. The wall is called Wanren Gongqiang. Wan means 10,000 while Ren is a unit of measurement. Based on the pamphlets that we got from the Visitor Information Center, it is known as the Wall of Supreme Knowledge. 





We entered through the Hong Gate (Gate of Learning) and then the Li Gate (Gate of Rites). The Li Gate stands on the west side of the temple while the Yi Lu (Path of Righteousness) stands on the east side. A Pang Gong (Side Gate) also exists on the east side of the wall complex. All visitors to the Temple Confucius Temple must pass first either through the Li Gate or Yi Lu before entering the main gate. It means that the path of learning must start with righteousness and rites.









We noticed the Pan Pond with a big painting of a Chinese unicorn called Qi Lin. The unicorn represents the coming of the birth of Confucius. We also took pictures in the Lingxing Gate. Yellow protruding studs made the doors attractive while the dragon stone pillars were amazing. The stone drums were also interesting to touch. 
















We entered the Lingxing Gate and there was another gate! It is called the Yi Gate and was decorated with “hornless dragon encircling” windows. The Yi Gate was very beautiful on the outside. We entered it and found two large musical instruments. It was a big red drum called Jin Gu and a large bronze bell called the Yong Zhong. I love the red color of the Jin Gu and it was my first time to see such large percussion instrument.







The Dacheng Hall (Great Achievement) is the heart and soul of the temple. A large stone platform is very noticeable and is the venue of a Confucian ceremony which happens every Sept. 28 (the birthday of Confucius). A special dance called the Yi dance is presented on his birthday.


































free playing cards as souvenirs for the visitors


The Taipei Confucius Temple is not just a temple and it’s also a museum. Lots of information can be learned from the interactive displays inside the East Side-Buildings, West-Side Buildings and Chongsheng Shrine while the 4D Theater in Minglun Hall will give the visitors a free 30 minute movie about the history of the temple and the Six Arts (Rites, Music, Archery, Charioteering, Calligraphy and Calculation). The 3D movie is accompanied with environmental effects.






A thousand years have passed but his teachings are still remembered. A lot of temples were built for him in Taiwan and I will visit them someday. If you come to visit Taipei, don’t forget to visit the Taipei Confucius Temple. You will discover here the wisdom of the ages. It is just right to call this place as “The House of Confucius”.
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