Our next stop in Taichung was the marvelous temple called the Dajia Mazu temple. Also known as the Dajia Jenn Lann temple, it is a place of worship dedicated to the Chinese sea-goddess, Mazu (mother ancestor), arguably Taiwan’s most popular deity. Just like the Longsan Temple in Taipei, this one is very popular with the locals and tourists.
A POPULAR FESTIVAL
I learned that each year during the month of March, the locals celebrate the birthday of Mazu thru a multi-city pilgrimage which lasts for 9 days. It is a very huge festival where up to 5 million people participate annually. This celebration has been practiced for centuries and the Jenn Lann temple is the start & end point of this parade. During this popular festival, nicknamed as the “Mazu March Mania”, some 200,000 pilgrims walk up to 12 hours per day for 9 days, carrying a statue of Mazu in a wooden chair. This religious expedition covers around 300 Kilometers, even passing thru mountains and rugged landscapes.
The temple and it’s entire facade is breath-taking to behold. The intricate ornate details on the towers, pillars, and multiple altars within is nothing short of amazing. I was overwhelmed by feelings of awe and reverence upon entering the temple.
Our tour companion, Shoun, guided us inside and taught us how to give simple invocations within the temple. It was a very unique and moving experience. We lighted prayer sticks and offered them upon the altars within the temple.
After offering our prayers, we proceeded to admire the different parts of the temple. Knowing that I was in a place of worship dedicated to the deity of the sea, and as someone who loves the waters and the adventure it offers, I felt really elated. It’s just amazing how countless generations had revered the powers of nature governing the vast oceans and is still being held in high regard up until today.
Before proceeding to our last stop for the day, the FengJia Night Market, we tried out this local snack which looked like Fishballs, but are actually what seems like deep fried tapioca balls with a chewy texture (and tasted sweet). It was delicious.
If you’re going to go and visit just one temple in Taichung, make it the Dajia Temple. It was still very busy considering that we went there during the night time. The basement part of the temple also offers an art collection and a shop where you can purchase memorabilia. If you get hungry, you can take a nice stroll in the surrounding area of the temple where there is a marketplace and plenty of vendors where you can sample unique Taiwanese street-food.
HOW TO GET TO DAJIA MAZU TEMPLE
By Bus :
1. Take bus from Taipei or Taichung to Dajia direction, get off at Dajia stop
By Railway :
1. Take train to Dajia Railway Station, then take a walk to the Temple(about 200 meters)