The Tian Hou Temple also known as the Goddess temple or Temple of the heavenly mother was initially built 700 years ago in the Yuan Dynasty. During the times of Ming and Qing it was expanded and repaired by the donations from merchants in the local area, they also supplied joss sticks for worshipping.
Years ago the Tian Hou Temple was a magnificent building, unfortunately though over the years it weathered, with parts of it falling into ruin. In 2013 the government of Haikou financed the renovation of the temple. In 2015 the Tian Hou worshiping ceremony was listed in the third batch of National Intangible Cultural Heritages.
The Temple holds grand ceremonies every year on the 23rd day of the 3rd lunar month on the lunar calendar which is Mazu’s Birthday festival and the 9th day of the 9th lunar month which is Mazu’s death.
In the stone tablet room now lie 29 stone tablets from the Ming and Qing dynasty. Among those only 2 of the tablets are unscathed and complete.
The other 27 tablets are in fragments. Carved on the tablets is a record of merchant’s donations for repairing the temple, notifications from local authorities for merchants to pay taxes, regulations for merchants in the area and more.
If you are visiting Qi Lou (old town) then the temple is well worth a visit, a trip to Haikou wouldn’t be complete without visiting an old temple.