Situated on Song Shan mountain in the Henan province, the Shaolin Temple is said to be the “Number One Temple under Heaven”. The temple symbolizes the beginning of the Chinese Zen Buddhism and the Shaolin Martial Arts. Surrounded by mountains and lush vegetation, the temple is in a picturesque spot.
The Shaolin Temple offers a range of cultural sites, such as the Hall of Heavenly Kings (Tianwangdian), the Pagoda Forest, the Dharma Cave and the Mahavira Hall (Daxiongbaodian) and the Shaolin Temple Martial Art Training Centre.
Legend has it that some 60 years after the founding of the Shaolin temple, a visiting Indian monk named Bodhidharma, or “Damo” – who later founded Zen Buddhism – taught the Shaolin monks various martial exercise regimes such as the famous “18 hand movements of Lohan” for improved health and concentration during meditations. The monks later combined these moves with the existing martial arts to form Shaolin chuan.
Like most things over a period of time, Shaolin chuan evolved over the years, especially during the Ming Dynasty (1300s – 1600s), and spread throughout China and east Asia. Wing Chun chuan, taekwondo and Japanese karate all have their roots in Shaolin chuan.
At the rear of the temple complex you'll find the famous depressions in the floor of Pilu Pavilion. These depressions are the result of generations of monks practising their stance work.
About 100km northwest of Lijiang in Yunnan province is where the Yangtze River’s upper reaches, the Jingsha Jiang, channel with ...