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Courtyard Dream House Adventure (July 28 - 29)

The Wooden Pagoda and Hanging Monastery of Yingxian County


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YingXian County

Welcome to the YingXian Muta or Wooden Pagoda. The pagoda is in the Fogong or Buddha Palace Temple. It was build in 1056 and is considered to be one of the oldest (if not the oldest) standing wooden pagoda in the world.

We took a bus from Taiyuan which took about three and a half hours to the first largest town. We then caught a local bus to the site of the temple. It was obvious that the town had been renovated as a tourist site because the streets were very clean and the buildings either renovated or newly built in the appropriate style.

We first tried to get a room across the street from the temple but the people there were rather rude and let us know we were not welcome. Thus, we decided to wonder around the area since we felt it was a bit late to actually and officially visit the temple complex. I did take a few pictures in the area of the temple but refrained most of the time because we planned to be back the following morning.

Very Clean Streets

Very Clean Streets

Sneaking a picture with a Liberal Donkey

Sneaking a picture with a Liberal Donkey

Wooden Pogada Entrance

Wooden Pogada Entrance

Framed

Framed

Tourist view with Sunee

Tourist view with Sunee

I had to have one for myself as well

I had to have one for myself as well

We found a decent hotel about four blocks away and after finding a light dinner, we checked in and called it a day. At around 0400, the lights in the hotel went out and when we checked out at around 0900, they were still very much out. No one seemed bothered so we figured it was a common occurrence.

Walking back over to the temple, we got a quick bowl of noodles and made our official visit to this tourist site.

Entrance Tickets priced for seniors

Entrance Tickets priced for seniors

Welcome from Guanyin Image

Welcome from Guanyin Image

Another view of Guanyin

Another view of Guanyin

Front view of the complex (Fogong Temple)

Front view of the complex (Fogong Temple)

Door into the temple complex

Door into the temple complex

Tough flowers Growing on Cement

Tough flowers Growing on Cement

Close up of these tough Flowers

Close up of these tough Flowers

View of the pagoda among the flowers

View of the pagoda among the flowers

Sunee was not very willing, but I coaxed her into climbing some really old stairs to the second floor of the pagoda. There can be no doubt that his building is really as old as advertised. When we got to the second floor (all other floors were closed), we met a very nice monk from northern China. Sunee and the monk walked around the area of the second floor visiting for about 15 minutes while I took pictures. Sunee was not as anxious as she was previous to meeting the monk.

Monk who was friendly and calm

Monk who was friendly and calm

Another Front View of the Buddha image

Another Front View of the Buddha image

The always ferocious  Red Door Guard

The always ferocious Red Door Guard

Lion Dogs are a standard feature at all Buddhist temples

Lion Dogs are a standard feature at all Buddhist temples

Very ancient Rock Carving. May be the oldest part of the whole place

Very ancient Rock Carving. May be the oldest part of the whole place

Wooden Pagoda Close view

Wooden Pagoda Close view

The Buddha Palace plaza

The Buddha Palace plaza

A nicely renovated Side Temple

A nicely renovated Side Temple

A framed incense Burner

A framed incense Burner

A really Big Incense Burner

A really Big Incense Burner

A Buddha on the side

A Buddha on the side

My best photo of the pagoda

My best photo of the pagoda

We finished our visit and walked back to the hotel to collect our luggage. Our next stop was the Hanging Monastery or Xuankong Si 悬空寺. The most famous temple in the area, Hanging Monastery is around 5km/3mi from Hunyuan city. The monastery was built near the Pass of the Golden Dragon (Jinlong Kou) on a rock-face 30m/100ft above the valley floor. Some of the smaller halls of this 6th century AD monastery are supported by thin stilts which stand on rock precipices. There are supposed to be a lot of ancient items inside the monastery but the whole parking lot of jammed with visitors. I took several pictures form afar and then we took a taxi to the local Hunyuan city bus station. The local bus from the Wooden Pagoda dropped us off at the river outside the city and we had to take a taxi to the monastery. It was eleven Yuan. The taxi that took us to the bus station was twenty Yuan and, unknown to us, it was within walking distance. Bet the taxi driver was boasting how he had ripped the dumb foreigners off. We were tired and hot so it did not matter.

The famous Hanging Monastery of Hengshan

The famous Hanging Monastery of Hengshan

A closer view of the Monastery

A closer view of the Monastery

Distant View from the parking lot

Distant View from the parking lot

We had a two hour wait for the bus back to Taiyuan. It was nice to relax and eat some of the snacks they served in the bus station. Our trip to Ying Xian was very pleasant and rewarding. The people, even the taxi driver who cheated us, were friendly (except at the first hotel) and we visited with many people along the way. Life in China is not bad and, in fact, appears to be pleasant for most people. Most of the people we met were locals who were living their life like everyone else in the world. They were curious about us foreigners but were not shy. Often we would be asked a question to start a conversation. It was obvious that these people are nice and wonderful. Shanxi appears to be a pretty good place to live, even though it is considered one of the poorest provinces in China. Believe this is due to its location close to the central government who siphons off Shanxi coal for use elsewhere in China.

We have plane tickets for the evening flight to Hefei. Figured we could go visit another famous temple complex in Taiyuan - Jinci Temple.

Posted by inchinahil 06:23 Archived in China Tagged buildings architecture tourist_sites buddhist_temples taiyuan wooden_pagoda shanxi_province

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