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One of the Four Heavenly Kings inside the monastery. (CC)  <img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click for full image
Travel Guide > Asia > Taiwan > Sights & Attractions

Chung Tai Chan Monastery

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Chung Tai Chan Monastery (中台禪寺) is the headquarters of Chung Tai Shan (中台山), a Buddhist monastic order with branches throughout Asia, North America and Australia. The order disseminates Chan Buddhism, a form of Mahayana Buddhism better known in the West as Zen. The monastery is more than a striking religious building: It is one of Taiwan's finest works of architecture, and possibly the greatest achievement yet of C.Y. Lee, the man behind Taipei 101.

The complex includes schools, parks and restaurants, but you'll be most impressed by the Hall of the Four Heavenly Kings (四大天王, known as deva in Sanskrit), just below the main Great Majesty Hall. Each of the these Buddhist protective deities is represented by a 12m-high statue made of black granite imported from China. You can visit much of the monastery without an appointment so long as you dress modestly and behave respectfully, but making arrangements in advance for a guided tour is recommended.

The permanent exhibition at the on-site Chung Tai Museum (closed on the second and fourth Mondays each month) includes almost 200 ancient Buddhist artifacts. These stone, wood and bronze relics range in age from almost two millennia to a few centuries, and some originated from India.


From any west coast city, take Freeway 3 and then Freeway 6 toward Puli. Take the second of the three Puli exits and follow the signs to the monastery.

Type: Monument/Building
Costs: free
Location: Taiwan
Street address: 2, Zhongtai Road, Puli, Nantou County
Nearest public transport: Puli Bus Station
Opening hours: Daily 8am-5:30pm
Telephone: +886492930215
Email: ctworld@mail.ctcm.org.tw

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