It is said that Changshou Temple was built by Shen Zhenglong, one of the senior officials during the Ming Dynasty in the 34th year of Wanli's reign in (1606). The temple was rebuilt during the 3rd year of the reign of Kangxi (1696), by a monk named Dashan.
Dashan had visited many well-known gardens. He used his knowledge of landscape gardening to redesign and rebuild Changshou Temple to incorporate both religion and gardening culture. Loccated near Changshou road, this temple was the largest in area among the temples of Guangzhou.
The layout of the temple was very special. To the west of the temple, was a lake with a waterway leading to the Pearl River, bringing the tide in and out twice daily. At the south of the lake, there was a little hill heaped with stones, and on top of the hill, a gorgeous red house. This old house had an attic from which the Pearl River could be seen. There were 6 halls on the ground floor and to the north of the lake, a summerhouse with complicated verandas.
Beside the summerhouse, there were numerous flowers along the lakes bank and to the southwest. Lichi and longant. There was one other beautiful old house; gardens, a summerhouse and a veranda also located on the banks of the lake. All these man-made sights and natural views combined with each other perfectly. Unfortunately however, the temple was destroyed in the 31st year of reign of Guangxu (1905).
(By Luna Yang and Alan Devey)