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The Beautiful Xichan Temple Adventure

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

After visiting hundreds of temples over the past six years I have been living, riding and travelling in China I have a list of 'favourites’ that I offer other travellers I meet in hostels over a beer too many. Sadly though most of them are well off the beaten track and will barely ever be seen by foreigners, but yesterday I actually found one that can be found in a major city hub.

Here in Fuzhou city, ‘the city that can be easily skipped en-route to Wuyishan (LP)’ I found and spent the day in a very special temple complex known as the Xi Chan Temples. Just as I had no knowledge of The Three Lanes & Seven Alleys that I stumbled across yesterday, I actually had never heard of the Xi Chan Temples until I saw the name on a street sign the other day and as I was still in Fuzhou today, this morning I decided to grab a cab, show him the photo of the street sign and hope that it wasn’t hundreds of kilometers away in Zhejiang or Guangdong Provinces.

The cab only cost fourteen Yuan and when the driver pointed it out as we drove past it a huge wave of excitement slapped me across the face as I was actually expecting a small temple, not an entire temple complex that was just as ornate and decorative as any of those of my list of favourites.

The Indian style Xi Chan Temple was built during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) and can be found in Yishan Fengwei Village in the west of Fuzhou City. The temple is one of the Five Great Temples of Fuzhou which includes Yong Quan Temple on Drum Mountain, Chongfu Temple on Elephant Peak, Chongsheng Temple on Snow Peak and Linyang Temple on Rui Peak.

Xi Chan Temple is a beautiful Buddhist Temple with extensive grounds and a symmetric layout that covers around seventy hectares that includes thirty six buildings in total. For some the major attraction is the Hall of Five Hundred Arhats, to be honest though I found them rather cheap when compared to the Great Hall of the Buddha and the Hall of Deities. Even so, the Hall of Five Hundred Arhats is well worth a look as the building itself is not only extremely beautiful but being six storey’s high each balcony offers more than worthy views of not only the temple grounds but the surrounding city and mountains.

The Jade Buddha Temple is another ornate experience and both levels house a huge figure of Buddha carved from gigantic pieces of jade shipped all the way from Myanmar a billion years ago (I actually forgot to take a photo of the information plaque) and for reclining Buddha fans such as myself, head directly to the second floor as she’s a real beauty. Along with several other huge Buddha statues within the temple grounds can also be found an eighteen meter high statue of Vairocana that weighs over twenty tons along with the two fifteen meter high companion statues in the Hall of the Three Sages of Huayan.

During my peaceful walk around the grounds I ran into American Mary who like me has been teaching in China for around six years but she has spent the last five in Beijing city. She was actually a guest of the Fuzhou Education Department as was being shown around the city by two lovely City Leaders. After visiting several buildings together they had to race off for a big dinner and I continued on my slow walk until the sun scampered elsewhere warmer for the night.

Today (Friday 28th) I was supposed to head north a few hours up the coast but woke with a hangover from too many Becks Beers for my nieces 18th Birthday. They were out on a Bar Hop so I decided to join them with a few too many beers and text. It was the best party I’ve never actually been too…until this morning, then it became just like all other party ‘morning afters’. When I woke to rise and kind of shine it was raining, cold and windy so what else does one do when they are hung over on such a day?

Go down stairs, pay for another night and sleep the day away. Hope you had the best night Freaky Chic! Beers N Noodles toya…..shane __________________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by the awesome Living Colour.

The album was the Japanese release of ‘Biscuits’ which took me forever to find, but with a million funky extra’s on it, it was well worth the wait. __________________________________________________________________

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Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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