This week I visited the Shanghai Confucius Temple (Shanghai Wen Miao 上海文庙) for the first time. It’s in the Old City, but for me was always a little too far to walk from Yu Gardens what with all the roadworks and detours, and it’s taken me a long time to get there.
It’s worth the trip – you might not be that fussed about temples, seen one, seen ’em all, as I’ve heard many people say. But every temple has something a little different from the others, and all of them offer at least one of three priceless Shanghai commodities – peace, stillness, and silence.
Buy your ticket through the little window in the stone outer wall on Wen Miao Lu, then walk through the heavy red wooden doors with the lion’s head handles to the inner courtyard. Here the incense greets you, and the trees close to the temple entrance are hung with red-ribboned wishes for prosperity, longevity and happiness.
The main courtyard leads to a series of smaller courtyards housing what was once a Confucian school.
There is a lovely goldfish-filled pond too, and an old library. Savour the stillness, add it to your reserves. You will need them when you walk back outside into the mayhem.