Tainan / Nankunshen Temple (南鯤鯓代天府 nán kūn shēn dài tiān fǔ )
(3 Michelin Stars Attraction)
Address：No. 976, Kunjiang, Beimen Dist., Tainan City 727, Taiwan
Hours：08:00 ~ 17:00
Tickets: 50 NTD for Grand Kun Garden (大鯤園 dà kūn yuán)
Traffic: No direct bus available. Better by cars or scooters.
At the first sight of Nankunshen Temple, the spectacular Chinese entrance makes you quick understand why it is crown as a Michelin 3 Stars attraction. Grandiose buildings and spacious garden landscaping have numerous subtle ornaments and delicate handcrafting. It definitely a must-see temple in Taiwan.
Nankunshen Temple took almost half a century to build and used 2,200 KG gold (USD$ 15 Millions worthy) for all the golden decorations and sculptures. The most significant golden building here is the 6.6 m high and 2.0 m wide golden monument, which weighs 405 KG of whole pure gold.
It is actually 2 temples together to compose the Nankunshen Temple or called Nankunshen Daitian Temple. Wufu Qiansui (五府千歲 wǔ fǔ qiān suì) and Wanshan Ye (萬善爺 wàn shàn yé ) are said to fight over the land when they both favored this location and both wanted build a temple here. Goddess of Mercy suggested they both build a temple here to help local people and so they did.
Annual ritual festival falls on April 26 and 27 (lunar calendar) when the hundreds of thousands people gathers together. One of the most unique traditions is the “tangi” (Taiwanese, 乩童), it’s sort of like psychic. It is believed with spiritual training, the tangis are capable of allowing the god to posses their body protecting them from physical harm. So demonstrations of the “shielding from harm” often take place live during festivals, where the tangis physically pierce and cut themselves when the god possesses his body.
Grand Kun Garden (大鯤園 dà kūn yuán)
Another attraction here is the Grand Kun Garden of 6 hectares land. It took 20 years to build this garden. The architects were to resemble the royal garden of Ming Dynasty. Taking a walk in this garden is very relaxing. All the architectures and garden landscaping can bring you back 350 years earlier.
Old fashion bungalows on the stone stack create kind of scene of martial art movie. Visitors can also take a sip of tea there in the bungalows and imagine the scene of old time royals and heroes gathering at the same table.