River Chart Temple (Changsha, Hunan)

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The River Chart Temple ( 河圖觀 Hetu Guan ) is located in Aoyu village, Shuitang township, Changsha county, Changsha city, Hunan province. It was created by Yi Benxin (styled Zhuxin), a Daoist of the 15th generation of The Dragon Gate Sect ( 龍門派 Longmen Pai ) of The Complete Perfection Tradition ( 全真 Quanzhen ) of Mt. Wudang, Hubei, in the second year of the Tongzhi era in the Qing dynasty (1863), extended in the 15th year of the reign of Emperor Guangxu (1890), and rebuilt in the 22nd year of the Republic of China (1933). In 1982 and 1986, the government allocated money twice for its restoration. Today, the temple covers an area of 1,400 square meters, with its floor area being over 800 square meters. The major buildings include the ceremonial gateway, the gate, the great hall, the Hall of the Numinous Patriarch ( 祖 Zu ), the Hall of Patriarch Qiu, the Hall of Patriarch Lu, etc. The colored glaze gateway was reconstructed in 1986. The horizontal board on the gate is inscribed with five big characters, "the River Chart Temple of the Ten Directions", and the antithetical couplet on its both sides says, "Purple air, silver river, dragon gate and Grotto Heaven ( 洞天 Dongtian ); unique scriptures, sublime charts, heavenly library and Blissful Realm ( 福地 Fudi )". In the hall, to the left of the front ridgepole is the Hall of the Numinous Patriarch, to the right is the Hall of Patriarch Qiu, and the center is its main quarter. Behind the great hall is the main hall the Hall of Patriarch Lu, a place for the Daoists of the temple to have religious activities. There is an antithetical couplet in the main hall, which says, "From the empty upper realm comes an immortal, riding on a white crane, to save all the people; may you regard the contention for supremacy in the Central Plain as a Golden Millet dream". It was written by Chen Hezhong (styled Songgu), the second abbot of the temple. Outside the main hall, both the left and right vermilion steps leading up to it are full of flowers and trees, among which a camellia named "a red spot in snow" is the most famous and precious. There's also a rare ancient "sweet tea tree" in the courtyard of the temple. This tea tastes piercingly sweet and luscious. In addition, in the temple there are also big or small relief sculptures, such as "The Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea" and "The Immortals Congratulating on One's Birthday". At present the temple is reserved for female Daoists.