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Chenghuang Temple in Shanghai

Chenghuang Temple is located in the middle of FengBang Road, Huangpu district, Shanghai city, which is one of “Three large Temples of Changjiang”. Chenghuang is also called ChenghuangShen or Chenghuangye, is one of the most important gods worshipped in Chinese religious culture, and it is a famous official person or a hero who protect families and harvest of the local people, which is the person guarding the city that Chinese folk and Taoism believe in. Chenghuang Temple in Shanghai was founded by Sun Hao, the King of Wu kindom during three kindoms period. It was reconstructed as Chenghuang Temple in Yongle period of Ming dynasty. The front hall offers sacrifices to Huo Guang, the Lord of Bolu and the general in Han dynasty, called Jinshan God, and the main hall is used to consecrate Qin Yubo, also called Chenghuang god, who was confer honorary titles by imperial mandate. The back hall is the dormitory. There is a memorial archway built in 1535 in front of the gate, and the stage was built in 1865. It is famous all the world, because that it is adjacent to Yu Garden and it is one of the main Taoist schools of Taoism in Shanghai. Since 1995, it has been renovated and then received believers and tourists. The main door has the features of four columns and three doors. There are eight immortals on the decorated cornice archway and a pair of stone lions on both sides of the door. The main hall is decorated with emerald tiles and vermilion eaves. It is magnificent and resplendent, and there is an endless stream of worshippers.

On the front gate of the main hall, there is hanging a plaque named “Chenghuang Temple”. In the main hall, there is a statue of General Huo Guang, the Lord of Jinshan, Marquis of Bolu in Han Dynasty. On the left is Judge Wen, on the right is Judge Wu, and on the second is the day patrol and the night patrol, at the last is yamen runner. The antithetical couplet on the first pair of columns is used to appraise the contribution of Chenghuangshen. On the top there is a plaque named”Muhualimin”, which means managing people. The other antithetical couplet on the second pair of columns is warning generations. The main hall in Chenghuang Temple had existed in Yongle period of Ming dynasty. At that time, Zhang Shouyue, a magistrate of a county in Shanghai, converted the Jinshanxing ancestral temple which was used to worship Jinshan God—Huo Guang, into the main hall of Chenghuang Temple in Shanghai, where the Jinshan God was still worshiped there. But it was burnt out in 1924, rebuilt in 1926, finished in 1927. The main hall is that of Chenghuang Temple rebuilt in 1926, which is an archaize hall for all reinforced concrete structures.

Most of the gods in Chenghuang Temple are really human in history. People who can become Chenghuang gods can be divided into the following categories: the first kind is some local officials with political achievements. After their death, the local people worshiped him as the local god in order to recognize his achievements, and hope that his spirit could protect them. For example, Zhou Zhonghong, the city god of Fengxian County in Shanghai, was the governor of Songjiang in Qing Dynasty. He was clean and honest before his death, and finally died in fighting against local floods. In order to commemorate him, the people of Fengxian County worshiped him as the city god of Fengxian County; the second kind is the official of the country, who saved the country and the people before his death. In order to express their gratitude, people worshiped him as the City God. There were ordinary people and national officials in this kind, such as Xiang Xianyou, the city god of Yiwu County in Zhejiang Province, who helped Zhu Yuanzhang unify the world in his lifetime. In 1367, during the drought in Jiangsu and Zhejiang, Xiang Xianyou scattered his family wealth to help the people and saved countless people. In order to commemorate him, the people of Yiwu offered him as the city god of Yiwu County. The third kind is the upright people before his death, such as honest officials and upright people. People thought that he could maintain his integrity in the underworld, protected the local people, and worshiped him as a City God. For example, Yang Shushan, the city god of Beijing, was a Jinshi in the Jiajing period of Ming Dynasty and a member of the military department, who was famous for his integrity. He was arrested and jailed for impeachment of Yan Song’s ten crimes, and was later killed by Yan Song. The people in Beijing worshiped him as their city god; the fourth kind is that the people who did good became the City God after death. These people usually did a lot of good things for the local people before their lives. In order to commemorate him and hope that he could do good for the people in the underworld, they worshiped him as the City God. For example, the city god of Urumqi was Ji Yongning, a native of Shanxi. It is said that during the earthquake of Jiajing in 31 years, he buried more than 40 dead people and did many good deeds. God dedicated himself to doing good and named him the God of the city god of Urumqi. It can be seen that as the Chenghuang God of city protection, the people wanted to be protected by him. Therefore, the Chenghuang God is held by some loyal and upright people.

The old Chenghuang temple and the Yu Garden behind it are not only tourist attractions, but also a good place for shopping. There are not only small commodities, local specialties and special markets, but also large integrated shopping malls and famous snacks.

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