Kaiji Lingyou Temple
Kaiji Lingyou Temple (Kāijī Língyòu Gōng 開基靈祐宮)
Although this temple is right down an alley from Chikan Lou, it is seldom visited by tourists. The caretaker jumped out of his seat to give me a tour of the place when he saw that I was photographing it. For a small and lesser known temple, though, it has a lot of charm and detail to go along with its long history.
The temple is dedicated to the Emperor of Mysterious Heaven, known as Xuán Wǔ (玄武) or Xuán Tiān Shàng Dì
(玄天上帝). He is one of the highest ranking deities in the Taoist faith, particularly revered by martial artists. Xuan Wu is able to control the elements and is worshiped by those wanting to avoid harm from fire. He is also a patron saint of the speakers of the Mǐnnán language, known locally as Taiwanese.
The temple was built around 1670 as a counterpart to Beiji Temple built in 1665. Beiji Temple is also a temple dedicated to Xuan Wu and is known as Dà (big) Shàng Dì while Kaiji Lingyou is known as Xiǎo (small) Shàng Dì. Kaiji Lingyou has been renovated several times with the last one coming in 1985. The whole temple used to sit several meters from its current location, but it was moved in order to build the school that now sits across from it.
This is a lesser temple, but it has some great details. Most notably, the paintings on either side of the hall are quite famous. They each depict 18 officials riding mythical animals. Some of the woodwork and paintings are original, and some of them date from the early Qing period.
To get there from Chikan Lou, head east towards downtown and go past the parking lot. Skip the smaller lane along the parking lot and then turn left on the lane that has yellow lanterns and several beer gardens. Follow this road about 50 meters and the temple is on the right. A related temple is just across from it, housing some nice deity statues, but the structure looks like a sheet metal shed.
Location: No.31, Lane 208, Sec. 2, Minzu Road (民族路), West Central District, Tainan City