18 Kings Temple (The Dog Temple) / 十八王公廟 (Shíbā Wáng Gōngmiào)
No. 1-1 Gānhuá Lǐ, Alǐ Bàng, Shímén District, Xīnběi
Dànshuǐ Station 淡水站
This temple was built in the late 19th century. Legend has it that around 1875, a ship carrying 17 businessmen and a dog capsized, and everybody drowned, except the dog. They were carried by the currents to this area, and were found by the local fishermen. Surprisingly, after being saved, the dog threw itself into the sea and drowned, an act believed by the fishermen to be "loyalty to its master". The fishermen buried the 18 bodies together, and were said to have been able to make good catches every time they put to sea since then. Later, they built a temple to worship the "18 Kings" to show their gratitude for the blessings. This temple has long been one of the most frequently-visited temples by believers in northern Taiwan because of the legends of manifestations of the 18 deities protecting the fishermen. Many people come to this temple mainly to worship the loyal dog.
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Apart from the dog, another singular practice is associated with the temple. The legend goes that the 17 merchants were fond of smoking, so many worshippers offer cigarettes at the shrine, lighting them and placing them in stands, just as they do with incense. Or it just could be a result of the temple's popularity with gangsters and prostitutes.
18 Kings Temple is a popular place of worship and is especially busy at night, when large crowds visit to make offerings of incense and food.