Kunming is a city with a long-established historical and cultural heritage which has many ancient temples and old buildings. The ancient temple courtyards offer a quiet and serene environment where one can sit and enjoy the autumn scenery and feel true calmness and tranquility.
Xishan Forest Park
Xishan Forest Park is a must-visit scenic area in Kunming. There are many temples and ancient buildings in Xishan Forest Park, since it was an important Buddhist shrine in ancient times.
Huating Temple (华亭寺), Taihua Temple (太华寺) and Sanqingge (三清阁) are the three main religious buildings, and they all have their own unique architectural style. Huating Temple is magnificent, Taihua Temple is quaint, and Sanqingge is antiquated. The carvings and paintings which are seen in the main hall decorate the whole building. In the courtyards lush green plants offer a wonderful view for each season.
In this season, the ancient trees in the temple courtyard turn to golden, with flowers which don't fear the cold swaying in bloom under the trees. The sounds of worship; the bell in the tower rings; visitors can stand in the temple or the courtyard and feel tranquility in every moment.
Golden Temple Park
Golden Temple Park (金殿公园) is at its most charming during autumn. The golden palace, the bell tower, and the temple built against the mountain are hidden by the lush old trees. The sun shines through the leaves onto the golden palace, making the sense of autumn even stronger.
The walls of Taihe Palace (太合宫) are mottled and tell visitors of its long history. The two ancient Lagerstroemia trees in the yard which were planted in the Ming Dynasty are now withered, and the old tree branches paint a picture that belongs to the autumn.
Walking through the ancient palace hall and strolling in the nearby foothills, the maple trees have gradually faded, but the camellia blossoms are in full bloom, forming a beautiful watercolor painting.
Tanhua Temple (昙华寺) was built during the Chongzhen period (崇祯, 1628-1644) of the Ming Dynasty , and was then expanded into a park resembling a classical traditional Chinese style garden.
The park is divided into three area, the front area is based around Tanhua Temple with traditional Chinese style buildings in the courtyard. The middle area can be described as a large garden which is home to many different flowers such as peony, azalea, camellia and begonia sakura. In the back area is the Ruiying Pagoda (瑞应塔), which is 48.8 meters high and has seven floors.
The peony flower exhibition in spring and the chrysanthemum exhibition in autumn are the most famous flower exhibitions in the local area.
Yuantong Temple (圆通寺) is on Yuantong Street in central Kunming. It is one of the oldest Buddhist temple in Kunming with a history of more than 1200 years and also the biggest Buddhist temple in Kunming city. Yuantong Temple was built in the Nanzhao period of the Tang Dynasty, and was originally named Butuoluo Temple (补陀罗寺).
Surrounded by verdant plants and a body of water, Yuantong Temple is renowned as one of the "eight wonders" of Kunming.
Panlong Temple (盘龙寺) is one of the most prosperous temples in Kunming. It is located on Panlong Hill, Jinning District (晋宁), on the east bank of Dianchi Lake, about 40 kilometers from the Kunming urban area.
With Camellia planted in the Yuan Dynasty, Magnolia planted in the Ming Dynasty, Red Plum planted in the Ming Dynasty, and Yingui (银桂) planted in the Qing Dynasty, these ancient trees are the main features of the Panlong Temple. After hundreds of years, they are still blooming year after year, attracting numerous flower enthusiasts.
Caoxi Buddhist Temple
Enjoying a history of more than 800 years, Caoxi Temple (曹溪寺) is located in Wenquan Town of Anning City, 30 km west of Kunming.
As a Buddhist complex built in the Dali Kingdom Period (938-1253) of the Song Dynasty (960-1279), the Temple is among only a few in China whose Majestic Hall is designed as a wooden structure. The Bhodisattva Avalokitesvara, Bhodisattva Samantabhadra and Bhodisattva Manjushri enshrined in the Hall are very rare Buddhist figures in the Song Dynasty style.