A Glittering Gold Recreation in Shanghai
A joke amongst the locals, a tourist trap even in the deadly heat of summer, we wandered in an hour before closing and had the famous landmark to ourselves.
Jing’an Temple lays between four separate malls and is an iconic addition to the Shanghai skyline. It was torn down during the cultural revolution and turned into a plastic factory, but as China learned to embrace it’s past, it was restored in the eighties.
For 100 kuai we entered late in the day, the temperature near 95 degrees, the clouds threatening us, as they were apt to do lately as we are almost 40 days into the worst Rainy Season in 20 years. It is a privilege to be in Shanghai and able to see ancient Buddha’s after shopping. We have studiously avoided Jing’an because of it’s bad reputation in Shanghai, and yet it was beautiful to behold at closing time.
Jing’an Temple was originally built in the Warring States Era, transported to Shanghai, and actually became the first metro stop in all of Shanghai in 1908. They burned it down during the cultural revolution and it turned into a Plastic Factory until it was rebuilt in the 80s. As much as it seems superficial, it’s strange history makes it more attractive.
It was uncrowded and in the doors off to the left you could hear chanting as dinner prayers began, it gave the upper floors an otherworldly atmosphere.
The beauty in Jing’an for most people lies in the juxtaposition of new versus old, this timeless charm of an old temple keeping space amongst the high rise architecture of modern Shanghai, and somehow, in being itself, it has become the icon of an entire district despite remaining unchanged.