It was built during the Eastern Han dynasty who had established their capital city in Luoyang. In fact, it is the first Buddhist temple ever to have been built on Chinese soil in 68 A.D., which has become a magical figure from that day on for the Chinese Buddhists. However, it has been destroyed several times over history and, in fact, the halls which are visited nowadays are actually much more modern reconstructions, from the Ming and Qing dynasties, or even from the last decade.
It is located at about eleven kilometers from Luoyang, and its name, according to the legend, comes from when a civil servant sent by emperor Mingdi to find out what was that religion from India that everyone was starting to talk about in China, came back to Luoyang with two Hindi monks and two white horses which were carrying Buddhist scriptures and some statues. At the entrance of the Temple there are two white stone horses. And in the indoor courtyard, Kanyapamatanga and Zhufalan are buried, two monks from India who made a great effort in spreading Buddhism.
The Temple follows the traditional structure of Chinese religious constructions. Due to the political changes which have taken place over recent years, some of its side halls, reconstructed recently, are more interesting than the main halls. Among them there is an outstanding lying jade Buddha which is located towards the right of the main halls.
At about 500 meters away from the temple and once you have gone past a nuns monastery built in the 90s, you will find the Qigongta Pagoda, and even though it is a simple construction it is very ancient, as it was built during the Tang dynasty.