Guanlin Temple (General Guan’s Tomb) in Luoyang

Why is Guanlin Temple is So Special?

Guanlin Temple (关林庙) is the place where Guan Yu’s head was buried, who was a well-known general of the Kingdom of Shu in Chinese history. Therefore, Guanlin Temple enjoys another name of “General Guan‘Tomb” as well. Guanlin Temple is not a Buddhist temple. Instead it is a temple dedicated to Guanyu (160AD-219AD), a famous general in later Eastern Han Dynasty (25AD- 220AD) and early Three Kingdoms period (220AD-280AD). “Guan” refers to Guanyu himself; “Lin” here means “tomb”. “Guanyu Temple” means Guanyu’s tomb and temple, the only combined place of tomb and temple in China. Guanyu was a great general in Shu State of the Three Kingdoms period. The other two kingdoms were Wei State and Wu State.

Where is Guanlin Temple?

Guanlin Temple is located in No.2 of GuanLinnan Street, Guanlin Town, Luolong District, Luoyang, Henan Province, China. 河南省洛阳市洛龙区关林南街2号 The temple is about 137 km from Zhengzhou City (郑州市), the capital of Henan province (河南省). 

How to Get There?

Travel with China Dragon Tours (top recommended)

If you want to get rid of hustle of transportation and troublesome navigation, you can book a private tour package which covers visiting, dining and transfer from us. Our local tour guide and driver will escort you to Guanlin Temple with speed and convenience, and take care of all the details. You just need to focus on travel.

Independent Travel 

For independent travelers you can: 

It is about 3 km (2 miles) from Luoyang Longmen Railway Station to Guanlin Temple and about 13 km (8 miles) from Luoyang Railway Station, which is about 40 minutes’ drive. It is about 6 km (4 miles) south of the city of Luoyang, from where you can take bus 55 or 58 to Guanlin Temple.

What to See in Guanlin Temple?

General Guanyu (关羽, 160-219) is one of the few people in Chinese history who enjoys great respect by Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism alike. He is also known as Guan Yunchang (关云长), and was a senior general of the Shu Kingdom (today’s Sichuan Province) in the Three Kingdom Period. Legend has it that after Sun Quan (孙权), founder of the Eastern Wu State, killed Guanyu and submitted his head to the warlord Cao Cao (曹操), Cao Cao buried it right in Guanlin. During his lifetime, Guanyu was famous for his loyalty and courage. Throughout the generations, people have regarded him as a legendary and noble hero, worshiping him like a god.

There are more than 150 halls, over 70 ancient stone tablets, 4 stone archways, more than 110 big and small lions, and over 800 ancient cypress trees in the temple. The layout of the temple highly embodies the traditional style of Chinese architecture. It is designed and built symmetrically. The tow stone lions standing by the entrance to the building are from the Ming Dynasty and symbolize the power and mighty. The ancient cypress trees are one of the highlight of the temple. They are thick with leaves and luxuriant. After a rain, they turn bright green and, with smoke-like vapor, looking like a poem or a picture.

The temple’s structure is very organized. On the central axis, from the south to the north, stands the dance hall, main gate, first gate, stone-paved path leading to the main hall, platform, hall for sacrificial ceremonies, main temple, second temple, third temple, stone pai-lou, stone booth, and General Guanyu’s gravestone. On the east-west latitude, there is the symmetrically erect belfry, drum tower, China Table, censer for burning incense, side hall, covered corridor, and more.

Further inside can be found countless incredible inscriptions from the beginnings of the temple’s history. There is one orderly room for displaying inscriptions and inscription on various memorial tablets, and one room for showing the artworks of stone inscriptions. The total number of these craftworks, including inscriptions, inscriptions on memorial tablets, and stone inscriptions amounts to over 2,000.

As for the tomb of Guanyu, the surface is an octagon, its height reaches 10 meters, and it covers 250 square meters. At one point, it was walled off. The stele before his tomb is 4.8 meters long, where underneath can be found a stone tortoise, and a stone dragon above it. An inscription by Chifeng shows prominently on the stele, who was conferred the title of nobility by Emperor Kangxi.

Best Times to Go

If you want to have an authentic cultural experience in Guanlin Temple, late September is the best time for a tour. Visiting during the period of Guanlin International Pilgrimage Ceremony, you can have a different experience than at other times. If you want to enjoy a quiet tour, you can go there in spring or autumn when it is not as crowded.

Useful Travel Tips

  1.  The opening time of Guanlin Temple is 08:00-17:00.
  2. During the weekends or holidays, it will be very crowded. If you prefer to visit at less crowded time, avoid weekends and holidays.

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