Images shot with the vintage Super-Takumar 28mm f3.5
Nanchan temple in Wuxi was a place I had to visit.
Whenever I go somewhere new, I like to take in at least one temple. Not doing so is like leaving an itch unscratched.
I don’t pray and I don’t light incense. I just like going to them. I like the buildings, I like the statues and iconography, and I like the atmosphere. I like how I always feel better having visited.
So when I looked at all the things to do in Wuxi, Nanchan temple went straight onto my list. To scratch that itch.
What and where is Nanchan temple, Wuxi?
Nanchan temple was built during the time of the Southern Dynasties, which lasted from 420 – 589 AD.
It was first known as Huguo temple, although this name changed to Lingshan temple some time in the Tang Dynasty of 618 – 907.
Finally, during the 960 – 1279 Song Dynasty, it got its current name of Nanchan temple.
The area around Nanchan temple is today dominated by Nanchang Street, Wuxi’s lovely canal-side pedestrianised area.
Nanchang Street itself would make any list of what to do in Wuxi (pronounced woo-she), being a great place to spend a chilled day walking, eating, drinking, and people watching.
But what of the temple?
Inside Nanchan temple, Wuxi
Unlike some temples in China, and indeed other Wuxi attractions, Nanchan temple is free to enter and explore.
There is a small charge (10 RMB) to climb the pagoda, but it’s worth it – especially as some temples don’t open their pagodas up to the public.
Inside you’ll find graffiti-covered walls and steep, rickety stairs with low doorways and ceilings.
You’ll certainly have earned the view by the time you reach the top but, if you do the climb in the midday heat of an August day like I did, you might have to wipe the sweat from your eyes once you get there.
Still, it’s worth it. For the views of the temple below and out over the surrounding city, it’s worth it.
Urban landscape photography from Nanchan temple
I never used to do much landscape photography until I got the Super-Takumar 28mm f3.5.
That was probably because my other lenses, at 38mm and 55mm, weren’t really wide enough. I was always looking at smaller details through those and neglecting the vistas.
Since getting the 28mm though, and pushing myself to use it more, I’ve been enjoying figuring out the landscape thing.
An eBook I picked up gave me a lot of pointers on landscape composition, with the main and simplest takeaway being to have something of interest in the foreground as well as a nice background.
So that’s what I went for with these shots from the top of the Nanchan temple pagoda.
The eBook, by the way, was called Transcending Travel. You can read my full review of it or go check it out for yourself on Digital Photography School.
Wrapping up Nanchan temple, Wuxi
After visiting the city a few times, I can say that Nanchan temple is one of my very favourite Wuxi attractions.
There are other Wuxi temples of course, including Meicun Taibo temple out to the east of the city and Xiangfu temple at the Lingshan Grand Buddha Scenic Area.
However, if you’re looking for places to visit in Wuxi city centre, Nanchan temple is your one.
With it being next to the lovely Nanchang Street and canal side, you could spend a whole day exploring without actually moving too far.
Be sure to pay the money and climb the pagoda. It’s a great spot for trying out some urban landscape photography of your own, if that’s your thing.
Just remember to include something of interest in the foreground as well as the background. 🙂
If you’ve been to Nanchan temple or even Wuxi yourself, or plan to, let me know in the comments below or on Twitter.
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