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Walking Within The Ancient Walls of Pingyao

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya Not being one to allow a bit of rain to ruin my day I happily pulled the sheet over my head and fell back to sleep until around 11:30am. I met Mr French down stairs spending some quality rain time on the internet and after I had finished my huge breakfast of two omelettes, a coffee and two slices of French toast with jam we decided that we were powerful enough to control the weather and rented a bike each for the day. We pointed out front wheels north west and at a relaxed pace headed five or six kilometers to Shuanglin Temple. I think construction first began 1500 years ago and the last of the buildings were finished around 400 to 600 years ago. They were the dates I got from Mr French&iexcl;&macr;s French guidebook. Who knows mate, maybe I was reading about a completely different temple in a completely different province. Why visit Shuanglin Temple? It houses some rare Song and Yuan Dynasty painted statues and the insides of some of the buildings are rather beautiful. The rest of it, well? I know it is old but I think someone should have taken better care of things over the years. Ha Ha Ha Ha! I had a wonderful ride but I wouldn't go telling the next person I meet to quickly rent a bike and rush to the temple. But then I have visited a lot more temples all over China than most people and can't help unconsciously judging one against the other. It is not often I do this but when I arrive at one that really doesn't make me go WOW then I guess it is hard not to. Thankfully though it is not often that I do such a thing! After riding the five to six kilometers back to the walls both Mr French and decided that someone had totally miss calculated the distance between the walls and the temple. Both of us are huge bike riders and as he has several notches under his belt over me that would make others listen to him long before me (he is a sports teacher in France and played on the French Water Polo National team and even made it to the trials in Perth Australia for the 2000 Olympics) so when I said; That is no way five or six kilometers! And he said something with a very thick French accent that sounded like Yes yes, how right you are! You have both strong legs and good judgment! I felt bloody good! Mr French wanted to ride around the exterior of the walls and as I had already done this by foot several days ago I decided it was time to purchase what is called The City Ticket. What is the City Ticket? It is a one off purchase of 120 Yuan on a ticket that lasts two days (no longer three!). What does it get you? Pretty much the entrance fee into 99% of all the things to see within the city walls. The above includes a theatre performance at the Yun Jin Cheng Performance Center. From what I've been told the performance is actually very good but to see it for free I have also been told that you must see it on the evening of the day you purchased your ticket. Why? I have no freaking idea but I can't say I am too happy about it as I purchased my City Ticket today which is a Monday and this evening I went to book my seat and found out that there are no performances on Monday evenings. HHHHhhhhmmmm! I won&iexcl;&macr;t be too happy tomorrow evening if they ask me to pay money! Where do you purchase the City Ticket? As stated in the LP you can still purchase one at the North Gate but now there is also a small ticket office on the intersection where West, North and East Streets meet. I got mine at the intersection. Who knows, maybe at the north gate the tickets last for three days! So armed with my Two Day City Ticket I decided it was time to put one sandal in front of the other and begin using it. First stop was the City God Temple (also known as Cheng Huang Temple). Probably the most interesting and beautiful temple I visited for the entire day. It was full of colour, history and some rather graphic displays of demons killing humans in various painful and body slicing ways that would probably make even Freddy Krueger cringe! I left feeling happy that I hadn't been completely sliced in two by any angry demons hanging out at the temple and walked across the road and as quick as a flash displayed my City Ticket for another hole punch. What I wasn't ready for was the fact that I hadn't actually entered the city's Confucius Temple, but by mistake had entered the Pingyao Theatre Hall. Hey I now had a City Ticket, the money had been spent and from here on everything felt like it was free so I decided to spend some time walking around the Theatre Grounds. For those that make the same mistake, next time open your eyes and look where you are going. The sign in front of you at the ticket office that it is the Theatre Hall! Also for those that find themselves in the Theatre Hall grounds you can actually enter the Confusions Temple from there. I don't know how to tell you where to go but you actually can. I didn't know this and left the Theatre Hall Grounds and walked back up around the block to the Confusions Temples main south gate. I spent about thirty minutes walking around the Confucius Temples grounds but really didn't find them that beautiful. I guess it just wasn't a temple day for me this day. When I decided to leave I looked on my map and it said that there was a northern gate but when I went to find it all I found were brick walls. I even asked how to find it and I was told that there wasn't a north gate and that I had to leave by the main gate in the south. For those that know me you would know that that is not good enough. If there was once a north gate then there would still be a north gate and I would leave by that gate and no one would stop me. I had my damn City Pass and that made me special! Plus it was raining and the main south gate was way up that way and I was way down this way. It only made sense to leave via the closest gate! After a quick search down the little alley ways on both the left and right of the main buildings I found myself in familiar grounds and was surprised to find myself exiting the Theatre Hall grounds, I then made my way to the Chinese Armed Escort Agency Museum which was the biggest waste of time ever. I visited about twelve rooms and most of them had pretty much nothing in them except for some furniture. The plaque outside each door promised that I would feel just like an Armed Escort did way back then. Strangely there were no weapons or even willing vixens to escort. I left feeling very disappointed! I then decided to ask god why I had failed at being as Escort and wound my down to the Christian Church that can be found somewhere in the little alley ways in the south western part of the city. Once again I was left feeling disappointed. God didn't speak to me and the church was a horrid white tiled construction with no life what so ever both inside and out. At least the Catholic Church was made of brick and had a huge amount of character about it. Sadly though it sat in grounds that looked like at any moment the towns homeless and drunks would arrive back for the night. I take it Catholicism isn't very big in the world of Pingyao! I then decided to flash my City Ticket once more before heading back to the hostel to drop off my day pack and head over to the Performance Center to book my seat. I headed north to the Erlang Temple. This was another temple full of life and colour and all things I didn&iexcl;&macr;t understand. Who the bloody hell was Erlang and why was he made a god? The only details I could find in English was that Erlang was a man, he helped many people and they thought of him and his horse as gods and built a temple in his name. Soon after others did the same and that's about all I know! I then headed to the Performance Center to book my seat for the nights performance to find out there are no performances on a Monday night so I headed back to my room for a rest. I headed downstairs to say Seeya Mate to Mr French and then headed down the road to find a quiet place to have dinner, a beer and to type up the days doings. All went well until I got the bill and found out they charge twenty Yuan for a bottle of beer that should cost between five and eight. I was certainly not paying that for it and gave them the correct change for my dinner and eight Yuan for the beer and told them that the reason no one had entered their restaurant the entire evening was the fact that I was that I was stupid enough not to ask how much a five/eight Yuan bottle of beer was actually going to cost before ordering it and that everyone else already knows the prices on the menu and that is why every time I have walked past there have been only several people in there and sadly due prices everyone would be out of a job very soon. The owner tried to give me another bottle of beer for free! I happily declined with an apology to the staff for their future job loss and left. See what happens when you are in a tourist are and you want a quiet place to eat! Beers N Noodles toya&iexcl;&shy;..shane _________________________________________________________ The soundtrack to this entry was by Melbourne&iexcl;&macr;s own You Am I. The album was 'Hourly Daily' __________________________________________________________ <u>Shuanglin Temple<b></b> or Shuanglin Si:</u>

The Buddhist Shuanglin Temple part of the World Heritage Site of Pingyao, stands in the countryside about 7 kilometers southwest of the ancient city. It was originally founded in the 6th century during the Northern Wei period, although the present buildings date to the Ming and Qing dynasties. It is notable for its collection of over two thousand decorated clay statues dating from the 12th-19th centuries. Located in the Qiaotou Village about six kilometers (four miles) to Pingyao, the Shuanglin Temple is reputed to be the 'ancient painted sculptures museum'. The temple houses more than 2,000 colorful sculptures reflecting the exquisite skills of the artisans of the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. The Shuanglin Temple was included in the World Heritage List by UNESCO as an important cultural site of Ping Yao City in 1997. Originally, the Shuanglin Temple was called the Zhongdu Temple but it was renamed Shuanglin during the Song Dynasty (960-1127). In Chinese, Shuang means two or double, and Lin, forest. The temple got its name from a Buddhist story. According to the Buddhist sutra, Sakyamuni who was the founder of Buddhism, entered nirvana under two trees; Hence, its name Shuanglin. Reconstructed in 571, the Shuanglin Temple has a history of about 1,400 years. The temple consists of ten large and small halls, and the sutra chanting hall and the monks' rooms. The ten halls include the Heavenly Kings' Hall, the Arhats' Hall, the Mahavira Hall (Da Xiong Bao Dian), and the One-Thousand Buddha Hall, the Sakyamuni Hall, the Bodhisattva Hall, the Ti-tsang Bodhisattva Hall, the Guan Yu's Hall and two other halls. Guan Yu was a famous general of Shu during the Period of Three Kingdoms. Later, he would be worshipped as a god. Standing in front of the Heavenly Kings' Hall, tourists will see the sculptures of the four Heavenly Kings below the eaves of the veranda, which look mighty and magnificent. Below the eaves of the hall hangs a plaque with the three characters 'Tian', 'Zhu' and 'Sheng' written on it. In the Heavenly Kings' Hall, the sculpture of Maitreya is worshiped with two Bodhisattvas attending on his left and right. There are also four Heavenly Kings and eight Bodhisattvas. With a height of three meters (ten feet) each of the four holds a Pipa (a Chinese musical instrument), a sword, a snake or an umbrella in hand. All the sculptures in the hall are vivid and lifelike. In the middle of the Arhats' Hall is the sculpture of Kwan-yin with eighteen arhats standing to the left and right. The facial expressions of these arhats differ from each other. With one drunken arhat, another sick, yet another as a dwarf while others fat and thin, they all exemplify the ancient artisans' excellent skills. The mute arhat is the most famous. His face is exaggerated with his eyebrows frowned and lips sealed. It seems that he has seen much unfairness in the world but can not express this to others. In the One-thousand Buddha Hall is enshrined Kwan-yin sitting on the pedestal with her right leg bent and left one stepping on a lotus leaf. The Veda in the hall is reputed to be the best in China and well worth exploring. There are also about 500 sculptures of Bodhisattva in different carriages. The Sakyamuni Hall and the Bodhisattva Hall are also two must-sees of the Shuanglin Temple. In the Sakyamuni Hall is the sculpture of Sakyamuni attended, on left and right, by Manjusri and Samantabhadra. The sculptures on the walls depict some stories related to Sakyamuni. The sculpture of One-thousand Hand Kwan-yin is the most renowned in the Bodhisattva Hall while on the walls of the Hall are embedded about 480 sculptures of Bodhisattvas.

Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


1-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

1-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


2-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

2-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


3-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

3-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


4-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

4-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


5-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

5-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


6-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

6-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


7-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

7-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


8-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

8-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


9-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

9-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


10-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

10-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


11-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

11-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


12-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

12-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


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13-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


14-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

14-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


15-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

15-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


16-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

16-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


17-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

17-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


18-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

18-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


19-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

19-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


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20-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


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21-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


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23-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


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24-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


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26-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


27-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

27-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


28-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

28-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


29-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

29-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


30-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

30-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


31-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

31-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


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32-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


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34-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


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35-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


36-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

36-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


37-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

37-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


38-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

38-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


39-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

39-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


40-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

40-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms


41-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

41-Temples Theatres &#38;amp; Ancient Arms

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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