Ba Xian An Monastery
Ba Xian An Monastery (Temple of the Eight Immortals), as its name indicates, is mainly dedicated to the legendary Eight Immortals Han Zhongli, Zhang Guolao, Han Xiangzi, Tieguai Li, Cao Guojiu, Lv Dongbin, Lan Caihe and He Xiangu. Located on Changle Fang Street in the eastern suburb, it is the biggest Taoist temple in Xian and is a famous Taoist architecture in northwest China.
Ba Xian An Monastery is also called Ba Xian An Palace because when the Eight-Power Allied Forces invaded Beijing in 1900, Emperor Guangxu and Empress Dowager Cixi escaped to Xian and lived in Ba Xian An Monastery. Therefore, Empress Dowager Cixi donated taels of silver later to fund the renovation of the monastery and gave it the name Ba Xian An Palace.
The monastery is said to be built in the Song Dynasty (960-1279), and was repaired and expanded many times in succeeding dynasties. The structures that can be seen today were mainly built in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Not counting Mountain Gate, Paifang, Screen Wall, the Bell Tower and Drum Tower, the monastery can be divided into three sections. The first section includes five halls, dedicating to the protective god of Taoism-Wang Lingguan. The second section has two halls, and the color-painted statues of the Eight Immortals are worshiped in the back hall. The third section is the Main Hall with a tablet hanging on its lintel. The four characters 'Dong Tian Yun Ji' was inscribed on the tablet by Empress Dowager Cixi. Inside the hall, sacrifices were made to Dou Mu Yuan Jun (a high ranked god in Taoism) and other gods. Its annexes contain Lvzu (Lv Dongbin) Hall and Yaowang (King of Chinese medicine) Hall on the east and accommodations for Taoists on the west.
Besides visiting the monastery and burning incenses to pray for felicity, you should also look around the street outside the monastery. It's really a short street at a length of only 100 meters (110 yards) lined with two-storey buildings on both sides. Many curios like bronze mirrors, folding screen, four treasures of study, gallipots, porcelain and folding fans are sold here, most of which were commodities of the common people in olden times.
Ba Xian An Monastery is a popular and important spot for Taoist celebrations in Shaanxi Province. On the 14th, 15th and 16th day of the fourth lunar month, the annual temple fair will be held. Ceremonious religious activities on the Double Nine Festival (9th day of the 9th lunar month) also attract a lot of adherents and tourists from near and far.
Address: Dongguan Street, Xi’an