Songshan Cihui Temple
As the Chinese poet Liu Yuxi had famously contemplated, “Mountains are prestigious for the presence of immortals, not for their height; seas are sacred for the inhabitance of dragons, not for their depth”, the Songshan Cihui Temple in Taipei’s Fushou Mountain was founded, and is currently operated, by Guo Ye-zi, a devoted and virtuous Taoist priestess who insists on a career of universal relief through a facility that educates, inspires and purifies its followers. In other words, the temple was constructed out of the founder’s ultimate compassion that urged her to extend self-help to others. Dedicated to “Wuji Yaochi Dasheng Xiwang Jinmu,” or “Mother of the Infinite Jade Pond,” this awe-inspiring, gracefully landscaped temple is nestled amid verdant hills to evoke religious sentiments. That explains why it is a mythical sanctuary for Taoist deities and immortals, a Mcca for Taoists seeking peace of mind, and an intriguing must-visit for tourists. Occupying an area of approximately 33,000 m2, the towering Cihui Temple comprises a group of elaborately structured, five-story buildings flanked by pagoda-style bell towers for an imposing and magnificent effect. The patio outside the temple’s 2nd floor main hall commands a panoramic view of downtown Taipei, which is exciting and unforgettable enough to make you want to linger longer. Patterned after traditional Chinese temples, the main structure is a quaint mixture of the distinctive palatial arts from the Ming and Qing dynasties and modern architectural techniques, ingeniously accentuating the mountain area’s luscious pine woods with its red bricks and yellow rooftops, in a dazzling manner, like a green cocktail garnished with a red cherry.