Dai Temple (Dai Miao)
The huge temple complex is located at the foot of Mount Tai, traditionally a pilgrimage stop on the road to the mountain and a resting spot. The temple was also the site of huge sacrifices to the god of Mount Tai.
According to historical records, construction of the temple started as early as the Qin Dynasty (more than 2000 years ago) and was greatly expanded during the Han, Tang and Song dynasties. The temple covers an area of 96,000 square meter, and is enclosed by high walls. The main building is the Hall of Heavenly Blessing (tian-kuang). It is one of the three greatest palatial buildings in China, the other town are the Hall of Supreme Harmony at the Forbidden City of Beijing and the Hall of Great Accomplishment at Confucius Temple of Qufu.
The Hall of Heavenly Blessing is 48.7 meters from east to west, 19.8 meters in width, and 22.3 meters high. Completed in 1009 in the Northern Song Dynasty, the Hall is a double roofed palace like wooden structure with carved beams, painted pillars, and upturned eaves, covered by yellow glazed tiles. Inside the hall, a 62m-long fresco running west to east depicting the god of Mount Tai on his onward and return journeys. More than a thousand figures are in the mural, each with a distinct posture and facial expression.
Inside the compound of the temple and shaded by the branches of ancient evergreen, there is another store of China's cultural treasure – the Forest of Stele. It is a collection of the many steles and stone tablets of various succeeding dynasties, where tourists may indulge in ancient Chinese history and outstanding Chinese calligraphy. These steles encompass over 2,000 years from the Qin Dynasty to the early Qing Dynasty.
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