3 November 2019

Shell Temple of Changhua

Finally, after nearly half year I could meet my Polish friend again. They just left New Taipei and moved back to Changhua. We've been in Changhua few times in the past, but have never visited this unique place. This shell Temple is less known than built in Taipei area - Fufudingshan Shell Temple. The Temple isn't big but definitely worth visiting. My friend once mention this place but she couldn't remember the name. Seems it's not a problem for me because I quickly found it. Usually I'll search Google maps to find interesting places to go. It really takes a lot of time tho, same as searching informations in Chinese. Especially with my very poor (nearly none existing) Chinese, but there are plenty of translators can use.
This Temple is built in a field, not so far from another attraction - Glass Mazu Temple. There is also an underground tunnel where you can see many decorations like dragons, chickens etc made by shells. At the end of the tunnel you can see shop selling shells and decorations, few aquariums and ponds with fishes and turtles, as well as some special birds.
I still wanted to see Lukang Town but it was already getting late and we needed to go back to Tainan. 

Sanqing Sanyuan Palace Shell Temple (三清三元宫贝壳庙) was built by Huang Qichun, who was born in a poor family. He went to school in the country for one year then dropped out of school. At the age of 12 he worked as a long-term worker. When he was 16 years old, he became an apprentice in the ironworks. He learned the skills of making kitchen knives. After he retired he failed to start a business. In the 1970s he bought land for tropical fish ponds near Xiu'an Cemetery in Funan Village. At that time, many friends advised him that this land was not good, but Huang Qichun still opened ponds with his wife Huang Lixiao.


Huang Qichun said that after moving in this place he often dreamed of some spiritual phenomena. He had a dream to come to a fairyland. He often dreamed of a stone-covered temple full of shells and similar decorations. Therefore, he collected many kinds of shells and bought a lot of sandstone from Hengchun Town to build the temple. At first the coral and shell with wire had to be fixed, then slowly grout the cement and then fix the wire before continuing to stack another layer. In addition to the pillars, roofs and walls, the rest of the walls as well as the small temples outside are all hand-made and decorated with shells. Villagers thought Huang Qichun is strange and many people called his temple a "shell temple". When Huang Qichun’s son grew up, he also shared the farming work, so that his father had time to build temple and the temple was gradually completed.

The temple is square shape. The roof is decorated with dragons and phoenixes. The space is mainly divided into the front door, temple, Dragon Palace tunnel, tropical fish farm and art area. On the walls on both sides of the gallery leading to the basement, the shells are made into dragons and phoenixes. Because the land is a farmland, it's impossible to obtain temple registration.
In 1996, the temple built during 21 years was roughly completed. The construction time was completed in late January 1997. In 2001 the temple was said to be famous in the district and many tour buses would carry visitors to this place. Parking lot with the narrow entrance and exit are often a problem for large tour buses to come. 

After that, he still didn't give up his fish farming work so his fishing rod can still be seen beside the temple. In order to show the art of shell creation, there are various shells in the temple to create the model temple of Lugang Tianhou Palace. In the temple, a dragon-shaped decoration with a height of 2 meters and a length of 3 meters called "Millennium Shell Dragon" is used to celebrate the Millennium Year of the Dragon. His son Huang Donghui imported sorghum scallops, sea trees, reefs, etc. from Japan and the Philippines, and made them into small decorative boxes in a similar manner, and sold them in the basement.

506, Changhua County, Fuxing Township, 福南村振興巷10-1號三清三元宮貝殼廟

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