Commonly referred to as “Bangka Dizang Temple,” this Class-3 national historic monument, located on Xichang Street, Wanhua District, enshrines Ksitigarbha. It was unveiled in 1760 and remodeled in 1838 (the 25th year of Emperor Qianlong’s and the 18th year of Emperor Daoguang’ reign, respectively) with its property management rights transferred to the neighboring Longshan Temple to avoid confiscation by Japanese colonists.
Sitting on a west-east-facing lot, Dizang Temple was designed in the one-hall style of the mid-Qing period with its simple structure enhanced by unpretentious carvings, a 3-span façade, a “swallowtail” ridgeline, gable ends, a humpbacked rafter-and-purlin entrance corridor and round-based columns. Besides a wooden post-and-lintel framework comprising two crossbeams and three-guatong (melon-shaped short columns) — the crossbeams are connected by rafters from which lanterns are hanging — the main hall features a statue of Ksitigarbha, the chief deity whose birthday (30th of the 7th lunar month) is marked by a large-scale ritual celebration. Sitting at Ksitigarbha’s left hand is Lord North Pole; sitting to his right-hand side are the Taipei Prefectural Chenghuang (city god) and Marshal Tiandu — who were relocated from Taipei’s Prefectural Chenghuang Temple and Zilai Temple on Xiyuan Road, respectively, after Japanese colonists torn down their original places of enshrinement — alongside Generals Fan and Xie. The quaint censer on the offering table was, as its inscription indicates, presented in the autumn of 1899 (the 25th year of Guangxu era), 17 years after the temple plaque was installed above Ksitigarbha’s throne, and 2 years before the old-school incense burner first appeared in front of Generals Fan’s and Xie’s figurines. Not far away from the Dizang Temple is a sanctuary erected in 1760 to commemorate the “Lord of the Hordes,” mostly homeless spirits of single Chinese settlers who died in Taiwan. The sanctuary’s history is, to a great extent, intertwined with that of Dizang Temple.