Wenwu Temple is an important place of worship near the beautiful Sun Moon Lake. This picturesque lake that resembles the sun on one side and the crescent moon on the other is the perfect backdrop for meditation, prayer and worship. Found in Yuchi Township at the center of Nantou County, Sun Moon Lake is the most important landmark in Nantou; it is the largest and most tourist-friendly lake in all of Taiwan. Wenwu (Wunwu) Temple and Sun Moon Lake share an interesting history.
In 1931 during the Japanese Occupation of Taiwan, the Taipower Corporation transformed the lake into a hydrology generation center. A dam was built, and although the presence of a dam helped the local economy, it harmed the lake’s tourism and aesthetic appeal. With the dam, the surrounding 180-hectare-piece of agriculture land turned into a field of water, affecting two pre-existing temples, the Benefit Temple and the Dragon and Phoenix Temple. Since water overflowed these temples, the temple managers decided to “sell” their places of worship to the dam owners, with the intention of using the money to construct a new temple elsewhere. Temple managers Fo-Yuan Huang, Hai Huang and Gon Huang facilitated the project with consent from the villagers and local residents.
The move gave rise to the construction of Wenwu Temple. With the primary purpose of honoring Confucius and Guan Gong with the new temple, it was decided that Wenwu Temple would be constructed in Yuchi Township, still in close proximity to the lake. Kin-Long Chen, the then Head of Yuchi Township, directed the construction of the temple, with help coming from committee members including 36 representatives from the villages.
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Temple construction began in November and completed on June 8, 1938. In 1964, more funds came in and the committee was able to construct a reception office and concrete road leading to Wenwu. 1967, the local government built a port in front of the temple, allowing tourists to arrive by boat, thereby increasing the temple’s accessibility and popularity. In 1967, the Sun Moon Lake area underwent major developments. As 1968 approached, the temple held a three-day religious ceremony on December 22-24, 1967 to commemorate the temple’s 30th year anniversary. It was a very memorable event as people from all over Taiwan came to take part. In October 1969, plans to reconstruct and beautify Wenwu were initiated and reconstruction works were completed on January 3, 1972. The reconstruction and beautification project officially ended in December 1975. Total costs amounted to NT$21,500,000, all coming from donations.
The tranquil Wenwu Temple, with its back facing the lake, stands elegantly, dressed in majestic raw materials and flanked by a number of unique sculptures. It is truly one of a kind; and with Sun Moon Lake as backdrop, the temple is simply heavenly. It stands as a testament of the spirituality and vibrant history of the area.
Wenwu Temple is located on Jhongshan Road, Yuchi Township in Nantou County, Central Taiwan. To reach the temple from National Highway No. 3, take Caotun going to Provincial Road No. 14; make your way to Puli and take Provincial Road No. 21 until you reach Provincial Road No. 21a.