Yuantong Temple

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Yuantong Si (Yuantong Temple) in Kunming, Yunnan, had its beginning as the Butuluo Temple founded during the Nanzhao Period (738-902). During the period from 1301 (5th year of the Dade reign, Yuan Dynasty) to 1319 (6th year of the Yanyou reign, Yuan Dynasty), the temple was reconstructed and given its present name, and a new Guanyin Hall was added to it. Repeated repairs were done during the Ming and Qing dynasties. According to historical records, Yuantong Temple was converted into a Taoist temple for a brief period, and as a result both Buddhist and Taoist influences are seen in some buildings, stele inscriptions, and religious statues.

The topography of Yuantong Temple is that its front towers over its rear on a mountain slope so that one can peep through its front gate and get a panoramic view of the entire temple with its posterior perched on the edge of a cliff. The archway in front of the temple stands on a base that is ten meters higher than that of its Mahavira Hall. Few temples in this country are built in this way. As behooves Kunming as a city where it is spring all the year around, the layout of the Yuantong Temple is combined with horticulture and landscaping, turning the place into both a religious center and a botanical garden of blossoming flowers and green trees.