No.178, Zhongshan Rd., Beigang Township, Yunlin County 651, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Yunlin’s Beigang Heavenly Temple was built in 1694 and has more than three hundred years of history. The temple is dedicated to the goddess Mazu, featuring many statues in her honor. Among these statues, the two most impressive are the biggest - Zhendian Mazu in the middle of the temple - and the smallest, Meizhou Mazu. Inside the temple there is a considerable number of artifacts, such as stone monuments, dragon columns, and two horizontal inscribed boards of the previous Taiwan governor Chiang Ching-kuo. The wooden Bagua caisson ceiling at the entrance to the temple is exquisite, and a wonderful example of classic Taiwanese temple architecture. The aroma of incense here is overwhelming; whether on weekdays or holidays, there are always many people who come here to pray. But no more so than during the annual Lunar New Year, which is the pilgrimage season for the temple. During this period you can see a variety of traditional folk activities held here. Before and after the annual Lunar New Year on the 23rd day of the third month, the grandness of Mazu’s birthday parade celebrations will leave you unable to sleep all night.
On one side of the temple is situated an abandoned western-style building constructed in 1912, making it the first example of western architecture in Beigang. The location of this building was originally planned to house a Mazu Temple which had been damaged by an earthquake. But due to the Japanese colonial government’s “Japanization” project, the re-consturction of local buildings was not encouraged. Therefore, there was a compromise made that the building would be western in design but would feature the same roof as a temple.
Nearby you can also find many delicious temple cuisine, such as Huihuang beef soup (輝煌牛肉湯), Shenxian plum juice (神仙酸梅湯) and Fuan Duck (福安鴨肉). There are also many shops selling pastries and dry goods In the streets surrounding the temple. Come here to enjoy the religious monuments at Beigang’s Heavenly Temple on your pilgrimage, but do not forget some food-sampling on your way!