Nestled in the scenic Yunnan Province is the intriguing city of Jinghong, the capital city of the Xishuangbanna autonomous prefecture, located within Yunnan. The city features a fascinating array of cultural sites all bearing traces of the region’s indigenous Dai culture, and presents its own unique charm that must be explored first hand. Of special note are the area’s Buddhist temples, which are all splendid testaments to the country’s primary faith. Amongst all of these is the famous Man Ge Temple, famed for being Jinghong’s largest and oldest temple, dating back to the ninth century.

Perched on the scenic banks of the Lancang River, it features a beautiful Dai-inspired worship hall, with an elaborately styled roof supported by 16 pillars constructed from the wood of red Trees of Heaven, and measures around 40cm in diameter and 8m in height each. A unique architectural feature is the fact that no nails or rivets or other tools of connection have been used in the construction of the entire building, including the columns and the crossbeams. Instead, the structure is expertly held together by an ingenious collection of tenons and mortises, like a series of tiny, interconnected cogs holding the huge edifice together.

The eaves of Man Ge Temple each bear 16 delicately carved white elephants, imbuing the site with an elegant grace that is sure to be pleasing to the eye. The temple grounds present a verdant setting that is ideal for some deep meditation or quiet reflection, as a variety of trees dot the landscape, featuring the likes of banyan trees, mango trees, betelnut trees as well as a vibrant range of floral blooms that add a dash of colour to the serene surroundings.

The main worship hall presents a splendid sight for the first-time visitor, as it features an impressive statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha that is four metres tall, standing on a large and elaborately carved throne. The interiors are exquisite to witness, as golden dragons, peacocks and gods decorate the temple’s roof and its walls, with colourful flags hanging from the beams depicting various fairy tales and powerful animal symbols for good fortune. The temple draws huge crowds of devotees each year, especially during the various festivals held annually, such as the Water-Splashing Festival in April, the Open Door Festival in mid-October and the Close Door Festival in mid-July. Man Ge Temple is one of Jinghong City’s most intriguing spiritual locales and should occupy a “must-visit” slot on your cultural itinerary of China.

To truly savour Man Ge Temple, as well as Jinghong’s other spiritual centres during your time here, invest in the fine range of quality hotels in Yunnan whose five-star service and attentive hospitality provide excellent options to host your stay. In particular, consider checking into the Anantara Xishuangbanna Resort & Spa as its central location and world-class amenities make it an ideal hotel in Yunnan to host your next visit to the region.

Chandrishan Williams is a travel writer who writes under the pen name, Caleb Falcon. He specializes in writing content based on the many exciting world adventures that await intrepid travellers. Google+