Located on Dihua Street, the delightful Xiahai Chenghuang Temple is home to statues of the Taipei City God Chenghuang and his wife, as well as a legendary Chinese matchmaking deity and 600 other gods. No surprise therefore that it is said to have the highest statue density of any temple in Taiwan (though I am not sure who measures such things).
Built in 1859 on a fengshui-friendly “hen’s cave” location that is said to ensure prosperity for the surrounding areas and people who worship at it, the temple is very small in size but this only serves to heighten the atmosphere as you step inside to view the mysterious incense shrouded statues of the various deities standing in front of the main shrine.
The temple is particularly popular with young singles who come here to pray to a statue of the “Old Man Under The Moon” (月下老人), a famous matchmaking deity from a Tang Dynasty legend, to arrange for them to find the right marriage partner.
Step-by-step instructions on how to follow the appropriate rituals are provided by the priests and signs in the temple, and in an extension of the conjugal theme a pair of “Wife of the City God’s Shoes” is also on offer to any visitors wanting to ensure a happy family life.
All in all, the temple is a fun place to poke around in – and a great place to experience the traditional culture of Taipei.