A popular stop for local residents, the Temple of the Town God (Chenghuang miao) in Shanghai is filled with statues of local gods and spirits that bring good fortune.
History of the Temple of the Town God (Chenghuang Miao)
When this temple was first built in 1403 under Ming Emperor Yongle (1403-25), it was dedicated to the legendary Han general Huo Guang as well as the guardian city god, Qin Yubo. Qin Yubo was a righteous scholar who refused to get involved in court politics (then rife with corruption) despite much pleading from the emperor. Deified upon his death in 1377, Qin Yubo now watches over and protects the city of Shanghai.
The temple had become more of a marketplace by the time of the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), when it was mostly destroyed. Both the temple and surrounding market were thoroughly restored in the early 1990s.
What to See at the Temple of the Town God (Chenghuang Miao)
The present version of the Chenghuang miao has been much restored since its 15th-century origins, but still retains its historic and authentic feel. There is still a statue of General Huo Guang in the front hall and Qin Yubo in the back hall, with many other deities represented as well.
Many Shanghai residents frequent the temple to offer incense before their favorite local god, hoping for good fortune in return. The temple is staffed by what the Blue Guide China calls "bad-tempered monks [who] are clearly more interested in collecting money from local people willing to pay to have the gods solve their problems than entertain foreign visitors."
The Temple of the Town God is surrounded by the reconstructed shops and restaurants of the "traditional" market, as well as the beautiful Yu Yuan (Garden of Content), created in the 16th century.
Quick Facts on the Temple of the Town God (Chenghuang Miao)
|Names:||Temple of the Town God (Chenghuang Miao)|
|Visitor and Contact Information|
|Coordinates:||31.221484° N, 121.483721° E|
|Address:||Fangbang Zhong Lu 249|
|Lodging:||View hotels near the Temple of the Town God (Chenghuang Miao)|
- Frances Wood, Blue Guide China, 2nd ed. (New York: WW Norton, 2001), 268.
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Map of the Temple of the Town God (Chenghuang Miao), Shanghai
Below is a location map and aerial view of the Temple of the Town God (Chenghuang Miao). Using the buttons on the left (or the wheel on your mouse), you can zoom in for a closer look, or zoom out to get your bearings. To move around, click and drag the map with your mouse.