Tianning Temple Changzhou – Ticket, Opening Hours, Location, and Highlights

changzhou tianning temple

Tianning Temple (天宁寺), located in Changzhou, Jiangsu, has a rich history that dates back to the Tang Dynasty, particularly during the Zhenguan era. It is not only a significant center of Buddhist spirituality but also one of the birthplaces of Buddhist music and chants known as “Fangbei” in China. Today, it stands as the largest temple in Changzhou, boasting grandeur and magnificence with its massive halls, towering pagoda, and cultural significance. With its imposing structures and cultural treasures, Tianning Temple has earned its place among the most renowned Buddhist sites in China, often referred to as one of the “Four Great Zen Monasteries” alongside Jinshan Temple in Zhenjiang, Gaomin Temple in Yangzhou, and Tiantong Temple in Ningbo.

The temple’s architecture is a testament to its grandeur. The main buildings are aligned along a north-south axis, with the main entrance situated at the southern end. From south to north, you’ll encounter the Shanmen (mountain gate), the Tianwang Hall (Hall of the Heavenly Kings), the Daxiong Baodian (Great Buddha Hall), the Yufodian (Jade Buddha Hall), and the Sanbaodian (Hall of the Three Treasures). The Tianwang Hall is flanked by Wenshu Hall and Puxian Hall, while the Daxiong Baodian is accompanied by Guanyin Hall and Dizang Hall.

Table of Contents

Basic Information

Estimated Length of Tour2 – 3 hours
Ticket PriceTianning Temple: 20 RMB
Tianning Pagoda: 70 RMB
Opening Hours8.30 – 16.30
Telephone Number0086-0519-88178011

Location and Transportation

The location of Tianning Temple is at 636 Yanling Middle Road, Tianning District, Changzhou, Jiangsu Province, China. Situated in the heart of Changzhou, it enjoys a convenient and picturesque setting. To the north lies the expansive Hongmei Park, Changzhou’s largest public park, providing a lush and serene backdrop for the temple. To the south, the temple overlooks the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal, adding to its tranquil ambiance. To get there, you can choose one of the following ways:

Bus: Take bus 8, 11, 23, 53, 62, 78, 220, 903, B12, or B2 and get off at Tianningsi Stop (天宁寺站)

Metro: The closest metro station to Tianning Temple is Wenhuagong (文化宫) on line 1 and line 2. After getting out of the station from Exit 7, walk about 350 meters to the east to reach the temple.

Highlights of Tianning Temple

Tianwang Hall and Great Buddha Hall

great buddha hall in tianning temple

These two halls are celebrated for their sheer size and grandeur. Tianwang Hall stands at over 23 meters in height and houses 7.8-meter-tall statues of the Four Heavenly Kings, which are among the tallest in the country. Daxiong Baodian, the Great Buddha Hall, reaches a staggering height of 33 meters. In front of the hall, you’ll find two sundials, while inside, the central altar is dedicated to Sakyamuni, flanked by the Guanyin Bodhisattva and twenty Deva kings. A massive 4-ton bell occupies the right front corner of the hall, while a 2-meter-wide drum stands in the left corner.

Tianning Pagoda

tianning pagoda in tianning temple changzhou

The Tianning Pagoda, constructed in 2007, is a prominent Changzhou landmark. In front of the pagoda, you’ll encounter a pair of white nine-dragon pillars and two colossal incense burners symbolizing prosperity, longevity, and happiness. The pagoda’s base is adorned with bronze sculptures of the Four Heavenly Kings and eight elephants. The pagoda features an underground palace and thirteen above-ground levels, culminating in a glittering golden diamond-shaped finial at its peak. Throughout the pagoda, you can explore a wealth of Buddhist treasures, exquisitely carved wooden elements, and displays of intricate Buddhist statues, carvings, and artifacts, making it akin to a Buddhist museum.

displays in tianning temple

The Tianning Pagoda is equipped with an elevator that can take you up to the 12th floor. It’s recommended to take the elevator to the 12th floor and then descend through each level for a comprehensive visit. The 5th floor houses the Fajie Yuanliu Hall, featuring sculptures crafted from several tons of precious agarwood. The 12th floor hosts the Ancient Buddha Hall, dedicated to venerable ancient wooden Buddha statues, while the 13th floor is home to the Circular Harmony Hall, housing the priceless “Guardian of the Pagoda,” a natural crystal Buddha. Don’t miss the opportunity to ring the massive 15-ton, 118-meter-high bell located at the pagoda’s peak, though it comes at a relatively high cost. The Tianning Pagoda also offers a fantastic vantage point to admire the panoramic view of Changzhou City, Tianning Temple, and Hongmei Park.

Culinary Traditions

culinary traditions in tianning temple

Tianning Temple has a long-standing tradition of offering vegetarian meals to visitors. Pilgrims and tourists come to pay their respects, and many choose to partake in meals at the temple. This tradition serves both practical and spiritual purposes. Sharing a meal during a temple visit allows people to come together with family and friends, enjoying the flavors of Buddhist cuisine while expressing their joy and togetherness. It’s also an opportunity to wish for good fortune and blessings. In 1988, Tianning Temple reintroduced the “Ruyi Vegetarian Restaurant,” located on the eastern side of the mountain gate. This restaurant marries the solemnity of temple architecture with modern interior design, providing a range of delicious vegetarian dishes, with the plain dish being especially popular among visitors.

Vlog about Tianning Temple

Useful Tips Summarized from Reviews

Historical Preservation Story: During the Cultural Revolution when many murals and treasures were at risk of destruction, the temple’s old monk devised a method to protect them. Lime was applied to the murals on both sides of the Daxiong Hall, helping to preserve them.

Spiritual Efficacy: Tianning Temple is reputed to be effective for those seeking success in their careers and studies. Many visitors come to the temple to seek blessings, and it is considered spiritually powerful in fulfilling such aspirations.

Parking Considerations: The surrounding streets may not be ideal for parking, especially during school hours.

Impressive Luo Han Halls: Besides the Tianning Pagoda, the Luo Han Halls on both sides are described as spectacular, featuring over 500 lifelike clay sculptures of Arhats.

Light Show on Saturday Evenings: On Saturday evenings at 20:30, there is a light show, providing an additional attraction for visitors.

Photography Spots Outside the Temple: The rooftop of the Drip Drop coffee shop opposite Tianning Temple and the Wenbi Tower in Hongmei Park offer beautiful angles for capturing Tianning Temple. These locations provide stunning perspectives.

Security Check: Before entering the Tianning Pagoda, there is a security check. It’s advisable not to bring lighters as they may not be allowed inside.

Attractions near Tianning Temple

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