Xing Tian Temple didn’t have the smell of incense that I like, but I didn’t mind at all because even though it failed in that test it totally won me over with its architecture and the spirituality it evoked within me.
According to a leaflet, Xing Tian Temple or En Chu Kong Temple is “visited by tens of thousands of believers every day.” Tens of thousands every day might sound like an exaggeration but believe it – I was there on a Friday morning and there were people on the courtyard, along the hallways, in the inner rooms, and even at the narrow walkway behind the temple. I completely felt like an intruder.
Still, it was really inspiring to be surrounded by people who exuded sincerity as they bent down to touch their forehead to the ground and whispered their prayers. I was so inspired that I felt like I had to pray too so I found myself a corner and said my prayers there. When I opened my eyes, Lo and Behold! I was standing under a crossbeam with beautiful decorative features in red, yellow, and blue. It was time to be distracted with architecture.
Unlike the rectangular Lungshan Temple, Xing Tian is a square-ish temple with two halls (the Front and the Main) connected by a hallway on both sides. I think Xing Tian Temple has more architectural elements and is the prettier one of the two (or maybe it was just the nice, sunny weather that day), but I still couldn’t take pictures.
Most of the people who visit the temple worship in the courtyard where they do kowtows and say their prayers while facing the Front Hall (for the Lord of Heaven) or the Main Hall (for the Five Saviors). Also on the day I visited, there was a sermon so some seats were taken out to the courtyard (facing one of the two hallways) for those who came to listen. The other hallway, where no one was actually facing, was busy with temple disciples walking around to assist those who needed them.
This meant that every time I tried to take out my phone, I felt like a hundred eyes were on me – not the best way to feel less intrusive. Still, I was lucky to have seen what I saw and to have felt what I felt, which I guess is all that really matters when inside a temple.
ACCESS TO XING TIAN TEMPLE VIA MRT:
Take the metro to Xingtian Temple Station, Zhonghe-Xinlu Line 4 (Yellow Line).
Take Exit 3 and keep going left (about 10-15 minutes depending on your walking speed) until you see Xingtian Temple across the street.