Located on Mingfeng Hill 7 km (4.3 miles) northeast of Kunming, the Golden Temple was first built in 1602 in the Wanli reign of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and is also known as Taihe Palace (the Hall of Supreme Harmony) and Tongwa Temple (the Bronze Tile Temple). Mingfeng Hill, commonly known as Parrot Hill, is lofty and sheer, with tree-sheltered ridges and peaks. The splendid natural scenery in Mingfeng Hill is known as “half-mountain, half-cloud”.
The Tongwa Temple stands regally upon the marmoreal while Taihe Palace and other buildings surround it. Inside the palace, the idols, plaques, girders, screens and decorations are all cast with copper and together weigh in at 200 tons, making it the largest copper palace in China. The magnificent palace, shining and splendid, is a masterpiece of Chinese copper art. A camellia planted in the Ming Dynasty stands behind the palace and over time has grown to its present height of 10 meters (32 ft.). When in full bloom, the flowers are red as if on fire.
Not only is the sight popular with tourists, but the Golden Temple also provides much sought information for research into the metallurgy, foundry, and wooden architecture of Yunnan Province during the Ming and Qing Dynasties.