Hsi Lai Temple – Hacienda Heights, California - Atlas Obscura

Hsi Lai Temple

Hacienda Heights, California

An unexpected and peaceful oasis on a hillside.  

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Driving by this Buddhist temple from a distance, you can see the golden rooftop high up on the hill. Once you pull up to the small parking lot, you are greeted with a grand building. This is the Hsi Lai Temple, one of the largest Chinese Buddhist monasteries in the West. Climb all the steps to enter, and you’ll be ushered into a gorgeous courtyard full of golden Buddha statues, ornate architecture, lush gardens, and a few other temples. A second grand building is home to shrines and smells of incense. It’s very beautiful and calm, and well worth exploring.

Know Before You Go

You can take photos in the courtyard but out of respect may want to hold off photographing inside the buildings without permission. There is a bookstore on campus and the people handing out incense for the shrines will answer any questions you have. No smoking, bikes, or drones. There is a dress code required: No sleeveless shirts, tank tops, shorts, short skirts, or flip-flops.

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