Daoist Temple of the Venerable Sovereign's Cave
The temple stands on the top of Mt. Laojun in the Nanan district of Chongqing city. It was built in the Tang dynasty, originally as a Buddhist temple, which was called the Temple of Universal Salvation ( 廣化寺 Guanghua Si ) by its old name. In the 9th Wanli year of the Ming dynasty, it was turned into a Daoist temple and renamed the Temple of the Supreme Ultimate ( 太極宮 Taiji Gong ). It was subsequently renovated during the reigns of Emperors Daoguan, Tongzhi and Guangxu in the Qing dynasty, when the temple's nine hall divisions came into shape, namely, the Hall of Three Pristine Ones ( 三清殿 Sanqing Dian ), the Civil and Martial Hall ( 文武殿 Wenwu Dian ), the Hall of Compassionate Salvation ( 慈航殿 Cihang Dian ), the Hall of Patriarch Lü( 呂祖殿 Lüzu Dian ), the Hall of The Perfect Warrior ( 真武殿 Zhenwu Dian ), the Hall of Sanfeng ( 三丰殿 Sanfeng Dian ), the Hall of Patriarch Qiu ( 邱祖殿 Qiuzu Dian ), The Big Dipper Hall ( 斗姆殿 Doumu Dian ) and The Jade Emperor Hall ( 玉皇殿 Yuhuang Dian ). The total structure of the halls was based on the geographic characters of the mountain, creating an incomparable sense of subtlety.
On the precipitous stone walls of the temple were engraved relief sculptures of figures from Daoist or Buddhist stories. Among them, the artistic value of sculptures at Jiulongbei and bananyan are widely recognized. On the top of the mountain stretched historic sites such as the Venerable Sovereign's Cave ( 老君洞 Laojun Dong ), Safeng Cave, Chunyang Cave, the Cave of Stone Monkey ( 石猴洞 Shihou Dong ), the Cave of the Three Sages ( 三聖洞 Sansheng Dong ) and Randen Cave, etc.
Originally, the temple was a cultivation place of Daoists from The Orthodox Oneness Tradition. During the Qianlong years of the Qing dynasty, however, Zhu Yiping, a Dragon Gate Daoist from White Cloud Temple in Beijing, took over the temple, putting it under control of The Complete Perfection Tradition ( 全真道 Quanzhen Dao ).
Historically, the temple and the relics inside it underwent severe damages. In recent years, a series of renovations have been undertaken in a bid to preserve this historic site. In 1988, the temple was reopened to the public. Since then, it is attracting an increasing number of pilgrims and tourists from home and abroad year after year.