By TraNews Reporter Luo, Hui-Wen
YUNLIN, TAIWAN (TraNews) – The famous Chaotian Temple in Beigang, Yunlin County is dedicated to Matsu, the goddess of sea. Constructed in 1694, it is regarded as one of the most prestigious Matsu temples in Taiwan and heavily visited by more than a million pilgrims each year. The temple has enjoyed great popularity even since it was built over 300 years ago during the Qing Dynasty and remained as one of the prominent religious centres in the central Taiwan.
It used to be called as Tienhou Temple (Temple of Heavenly Queen). In order to commemorate Chaotian Pavilion in Meizhou, China, it was later renamed as Chaotian Temple. Because of its widespread reputation, the temple has been heavily visited by pilgrims from across the island to worship Matsu.
For over 300 years, the temple has enjoyed great popularity under the blessing of Matsu even it has undergone through a series of devastating events, including the Beigang River flooding, conflagration on Beigang Street in 1894 and Chiayi Earthquake in 1904.
After several reconstructions and maintenance works, the temple still looks imposingly beautiful and grand. The poles, beams and stone sculptures are exquisitely decorated with refined carvings. The excellent craftsmanship is shown everywhere, from the facial expression of figures on the windows to the magnificent dragon poles. The temple itself is a work of art.
Coming here, travelers and pilgrims pray to the deity with a respectful heart. In addition to the worship of Matsu, the temple is also dedicated to Guanyin, the goddess of mercy and Emperor Wenchang, the god of scholars. It is fairly important that travelers should be more respectful wear the appropriate dress code while sightseeing inside the temple.