The Taoist Temple of the Eight Immortals in Xi'an
The Temple of the Eight Immortals is an island of serenity amidst the city bustle
The Temple of the Eight Immortals (Ba Xian An) is the only Taoist temple in Xi'an. It is located at the eastern gate of the city’s wall which separates the old and new parts of it. The temple was built on the site of an ancient temple dedicated to God of Thunder. Today, it is re-named as a tribute to the eight Taoists, who according to Chinese mythology periodically appeared there during the reign of the Song Dynasty. According to a legend, these Taoists were capable to bestow life and overcome the evil. As the legend implies, the Immortals lived on an island in the Bohai Bay, so they were often depicted crossing across the sea by boat.
The images of the Immortals can be found in the temple’s main hall. Behind the main hall there is another one, dedicated to Goddess of Twelve Stars - Doumu. Behind the temple on the left there is a hall dedicated to master Qiu. This is a historical place. It was the place, where Empress Dowager Cixi and Emperor Guangxu hid during the Boxer Rebellion of 1900
The main value of the Temple of the Eight Immortals is black plates with carved Taoism basic postulates and symbols. So you can see there the scheme from “Yellow Emperor's Inner Canon”, the principles of Taoist spiritual practice, dedication to the five sacred mountains of Taoism. The ancient manuals on proper breathing and increasing vital energy “chi” necessary to achieve immortality can also be found there.
The Temple of the Eight Immortals is almost always full of visitors. They are not only tourists, but also indigenous Xian people who come there to pray to one of the hundreds of Taoist saints, each of whom is the patron in a particular area of human life. The temple is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm, the admission is 3 CNY. The first and fifteenth days of each month, are the days to host religious festivals there.