Ba Xianan Monastery
Ba Xian'an Monastery
Ba Xian'an Monastery, located on Changle Fang Street, is in the suburbs east of Xian. Originally built during the Song Dynasty (960-1279), it is the largest Taoist temple in the northwest area.Daoism derived from China since the period of Eastern Han (25-220). According to the legend, Daoism has eight immortals known to the world. One day these immortals passed by the site of the temple and stayed for a time. Since some people thought that these immortals appeared to bless them, a temple was built on this site in order to make sacrifices to these immortals. Hence it was named as Ba Xian'an Monastery (namely, Temple of the Eight Immortals).
During several restorations of the later Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, the Ba Xian'an Monastery took on a larger diversity as it became a public place for the Taoist to learn its religious culture. Moreover, when the Eighth Allied Force invaded Beijing in 1900, the Emperor Guangxu and his mother, Empress Ci Xi, came to Xian to take refuge in this temple. While they lived there, Ci Xi ordered decorated archways to be built inside. It was at that time that the temple got another name Ba Xian'an Palace.
In 1983, the State Council proclaimed that it was one of the most important palaces in China and ordered it rebuilt according to its original layout and architectural style. At present, the tall-wooded Ba Xian'an Monastery looks simple and serene. In front of the monastery, there's a huge Screen Wall with four Chinese characters "Wangu-Changqing (means remaining fresh forever)" on it. Then stepping through the Mountain Gate of this temple, one can see a Bell Tower and a Drum Tower flanking both sides. The monastery is divided into the middle, the eastern and the western parts. Walking along the middle route, one will reach Linggong Palace, Baxian Palace (Eight Immortals Palace), and Doulao Palace respectively. In the east, there are Luzu Palace, Yaowang Palace and other features, besides Qiuzu Palace and Jianyuan Room in the west. Every year, a grand Taoist celebration is held on September 9th of the lunar calendar. Many people come here to burn joss sticks and pray for a blessing.
On the street outside the monastery, the government has made it a commercial venture where one can find many religious curios, which are very popular among visitors.