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Jing'an Temple: a gangster abbot protected by Russian bodyguards


The Temple of Peace and Tranquillity has not always been true to its name!

Its cascade of golden roofs is visible from afar and its gleaming pagoda is reflected in neighbouring skyscrapers. Lines of cars on busy Nanjing Street crowd the front of the vast building, which is close to the Plaza 66 luxury shopping centre.

The current location of Jingan Temple seems of a piece with its hectic history. Founded in 247 AD during the Three Kingdoms period, it was transferred to its present site in 1216, and destroyed by fire in 1972. In 1930, the temple was run by Abbot Khi Vehdu, a very popular gangster who was always surrounded by Russian bodyguards. The sobriety of the vast courtyard and buildings will surprise you.

The temple, rebuilt in 1984, has maintained the elegance and style of the Song dynasty. Although it has lost many treasures, it houses a pure jade statue of Sakyamuni Buddha, to which the temple is devoted. It is not uncommon to see stock traders from the neighbourhood praying and asking for prosperity in their business…

Jing'an Temple 
1686, Nanjing West Road

+86 (0)21 6256 6366

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