About White Horse Temple, Luoyang
In 64AD Emperor Ming of the Eastern Han sent a delegation to India to study Buddhism. When they returned three years later they were joined by two Indian monks. The monks brought with them a white horse carrying Buddhist scriptures and this charted the birth of Buddhism in China.
Emperor Ming ordered construction of a temple to thank the Indian monks and it became an important centre of Buddhist learning.
The site not only houses the White Horse Temple, but in modern times additional temples from other Buddhist countries have been added, including Thailand, Mayanmar and finally India. White Horse Temple is definitely one of Luoyang’s top attractions and equals the Longmen Grottoes in terms of cultural sites.
Where is White Horse Temple?
White Horse Temple is 10km east of central Luoyang in China’s Henan Province.
What is there to see at White Horse Temple?
White Horse Temple is a very tranquil place to visit and includes many shady courtyards, a small pond and large pagoda. There are many temples and excellent examples of Chinese architecture as well as the temples from other Asian countries.
At the entrance to the temples look out for the two white horse statues on either side of the gateway.
Hall of the Heavenly Kings
This wooden shrine is engraved with 50 dragons exquisitely carved into the woodwork. An excellent example of Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911) architecture.
Hall of the Great Buddha
Inside this temple is a large Buddha flanked by two disciples and reflect the style of the Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644).
Hall of Guidance
The smallest of the temples, this Qing Dynasty (1644 – 1911) hall contains the Amitahba Buddha and two Bodhisattvas.
Hall of Mahavira
The most beautiful of all the halls at White Horse Temple, the roof is carved with lotus flowers and the walls are decorated with thousands of small Buddha carvings.
Cool & Clear Terrace
This brick-terrace is where the Indian monks translated the Buddhist scriptures into Chinese and as such is one of the most important parts of the temple.
Hidden away at the back of the temple is China’s oldest Pagoda. The structure measures 35 metres (115 feet) and dates back to the Jin Dynasty (1115 – 1234AD).
The Thai temples were added in 1997 and the largest hall houses an 8-tonne gold foiled statue of the Buddha.
The westernmost area of the site is home to the Burmese (Myanmar) temple which has some fantastic architecture. Look out for the dragons!
In 2004 a large Indian temple was added. Although not as ornate as the Thai and Burmese temples, there are some excellent carvings.
How much are tickets to White Horse Temple, Luoyang?
Entrance costs ¥35 and ¥50 during public holidays.
Opening Hours: 07:30 to 17:30
How Much Time is Needed for a Visit to White Horse Temple?
It takes around two to three hours to discover the entire site.
How to Get to White Horse Temple, Luoyang
Take bus 56/K56, 58/K58 or 87
From Luoyang Railway Station take bus 56 to Baimasi Stop (40 minutes / ¥1.50)
How to get to Luoyang
Flight: A flight from Beijing to Luoyang takes 2 hours and costs from ¥500 ($78).
Fast Train: Fast train from Beijing to Luoyang takes 4 hours and costs ¥368 ($58) for a second class seat.
Slow Train: Slow train from Beijing to Luoyang takes 11 hours and costs ¥196 ($30) for a hard sleeper and ¥297 ($46) for a soft sleeper.
For full information on the Beijing to Luoyang train check out our guide. Includes 2021 fares and timetable.
Other Luoyang Attractions
About this author: Steve Rohan has lived in China for six years. He has lived in the frozen city of Harbin, ancient capital of Luoyang and tropical paradise that is Sanya.
After teaching English for a number of years, he now blogs full time for this site and adventure travel blog thetripgoeson.com.