Monday, 5 January 2009

Temple in Town

This temple overlooks the city of Shaoxing - it is on Jiefang Lu, near the markets and not far from Lu Xun Walk.

I go past it in the bus almost daily and wonder what it is like up there, so last week I went.

It is a steep walk up the stone steps, and a turn left half way up (directed by a kindly old gardener) and I came to the ticket office. It looked closed, but I think the Chinese sign said something like "We are open but trying to keep warm inside" - but I was a bit confused so walked through the entrance.

A Chinese man gestured and shouted at me in a friendly way - I think he was trying to tell me that I must purchase a ticket, which he did for me. He gave me the ticket. A gift. This was another wonderful act of generosity by a chinese person. They really do want to welcome foreigners! I thanked him - and decided that I wouldn't possible explain that I had a free ticket anyway. It was only 2 RMB.

The grounds of the temple are a little sparse - no doubt the low fee means there is little funding for elaborate upkeep, but it was neat and tidy. The temple itself sat in the middle of the area, with covered walkways and seating surrounding it.

There was a lovely garden with Mondo grass - which looked quite impressive and if it had rained it would have glistened.

Around the walkway were framed photos of various aspects of life in Shaoxing. Quite impressive really.

I went into the temple to discover very steep steps which took one right to the top of the temple with a fantastic view over Shaoxing.

I went up two levels but the stairs were gettng steeper and there were no hand rails, so I chose to escape before it got too hard, and came down some of it on my bum. It was so scary going down and I didn't want to fall. It would have been a right royal pile up at the bottom of the stairs. Definitely a place only for young people to climb I would say - or the very adventurous. I did take some photos when I reached one part of it.

I will do some research and find out the name of the temple. It is well worth a visit and sometimes at night it is all lit up, so is a great sight.

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