The Hualin temple was constructed during the Southern Dynasties. Legend has it that the temple was built soon a after the arrival of Dharma the Indian monk, hence the original name Xilai (literally "visitor from the west") Temple.
In the year 1654 the temple was expanded and renamed Hualin Temple. It was then one of the five largest Buddhist temples in Guangzhou, with a large team of monks. The Five-Hundred-Arhat Hall was built in the last year of Emperor Daoguang (1821-1861). The statues of the Arhats are lifelike, in different postures and moods. There is also a statue of Marco Polo, the Italian explorer who came to China in the thirteenth century. The King Asoka Pagoda sits in the middle of the hall.