Today we caught a bus from Chengdu to Emei Shan. All easy. The only confusing bit happened when the bus stopped about 20km away from where we thought we would stop and the bus driver started saying something. Luckily a couple of people helped translate that this was the end of the line but if we wanted he would drive us on to the village near the mountain for 10 yuan each!! Bit of a scam but at least we got there.
Emei Shan is one of four sacred Buddhist mountains in China and is meant to be covered in temples. We had arrived a little late to enter the park proper so contented ourselves with a walk around the temples near our village.
We headed off in the general direction and stumbled upon a museum/information centre which gave us an overview of the history of the mountain. The translations were a little confusing occasionally but we think we got the drift that the mountain belongs to the Buddha’s eldest son, Puxian.
The first temple we went to was Baoguo Temple and once again it was really nice to walk around with the smell of incense hanging in the air and every separate temple adorned with large statues of the various Buddhas. It has been interesting to see some of the main obvious differences between the Buddhist temples and the Catholic or Christian churches we have seen before. The main obvious difference is in the layout and nature of the buildings. While churches tend to be beautiful stone buildings seemingly concentrated very much on death. The Buddhist temples are wooden and much more open and airy with lots of plants and trees.
We stopped on the way out at the shop where a very helpful sales assistant ended up helping us out with our understanding of the Buddhist mountain. It turns out that we all have a specific Buddha depending on our birth animal. So my Buddha is actually Puxian whose mountain we are on and Sarah’s was A Mi Tuo Fo. So for luck and to thank her for her help we bought a couple to give us good luck in our travels!!
The second temple we visited, Fuhu Temple, was a bit of a walk up the mountain but for the last few hundred metres we were following a monk through a path in the forest which was pretty cool. The temple, once again, was pretty impressive to walk through and now we had a couple of Buddhas we could pick out and identify!!
The highlight of the visit came in one of the temples where we noticed that the monks were gathering. We were able to sit at the back and watch them perform their ceremony which was really amazing. Full of robes, chanting and banging of drums and bells. Very lucky timing on our behalf.
By the time we had finished wandering around the temple and walked home the day was done and it was time for dinner. The night before in Chengdu we had met a couple, Francois and Teodora, who had travelled overland from Moscow to Beijing so we had arranged to have dinner with them to pick their brains about our upcoming train trip. They allayed any fears we may have had and certainly got us very very excited again!! Once again another great and interesting couple of people to meet who hopefully we will cross paths with again sometime in the future. T
Lunch was a buffet of weird and wonderful veggies. Truth be known we couldn’t readily identify them all.
Puxian at the entrance to the mountain.
At the entrance to the temples there are people lighting candles and incense.
Free range ducks! Ominously just outside a restaurant!
The temples all have this beautiful balance between outside and inside.
The shapes and the designs of the roofs are just amazing.
A shot of one of the statues in the temple with th amazing roof above.
Wandering around the foothills of the mountain and coming across these temples was fantastic.