Sunday, September 13, 2009

China # 16 Yangtze River Episode 4 Ghost City at Fengdu

The visit to the Ghost City at Fengdu was another memorable trip.

The Ghost City is a Confucian, Buddhist, and Taoist temple enclave. Built in different eras, twenty-seven temples march up the steep mountainside. Before Mao decided to rid his people of religious hindrances during The Cultural Revolution, there were seventy-five temples here. Although persecuted (and perhaps because of the persecution), monks preserved the remaining structures as best they could in ornate and colourful splendor. Sadly when the government discovered the tourist potential in 1984, the devotees were summarily kicked out and the state took over the preservation and restoration of the site (which is an ongoing project).

Ghost City got its name when Two officials from the imperial court Yin Changsheng and Wang Fangping decided to come to Ming Mountain to practice Taoist teachings. Through self-cultivation they became immortals. Combining their surnames produces the term "Yinwang" meaning the "king of hell." Later, during the Tang Dynasty, a stupendous temple was erected on Ming Mountain depicting life in hell. It displays demonic images and torture devices and reflects the notion that good people will be treated well in the afterlife and that bad people will be punished by going to hell. The temples and the statues are so beautiful, if somewhat grotesque, that it would have been tragic if they had been destroyed.

On the day of our visit we left the cruise ship and travelled in little electric buses to the base of Ghost City. We walked past market stall, where the whole family helped out, even if it was just looking and learning from a young age!.

A lovely walkway took us into the square.
Here there were more stalls and the entrance to the walk up to the city.
Some of us were rather lazy and took the easy option, well I couldn't let my friend do it alone could I!
On the way up we had some lovely views.
Some of the workers who are helping restore this wonderful site.

These are just some of the beautiful artefacts that we saw in the various temples. There is a story behind all them but I'm just going to let you enjoy the pictures

This guy was so strong, but there is an art to getting the ball on top.

Nothing-To-Be-Done-Bridge:(below) the bridge connects the nether world with the real world and is a testing point for good and evil. According to legend, the Nothing-To-Be-Done-Bridge is composed on three identical stone arches. The middle arch is used for testing people. There are different protocols for crossing the bridge depending on your gender, age and marital status. Below the bridge are square-shaped pools of water. Virtuous people will pass over the bridge without obstacle; villainous people will fall into the pools below. The other two arches are called the golden and silver bridges respectively. When preparing to leave, visitors are encouraged to pass these two bridges because according to local superstition this will bring them good fortune.
Just to be sure we all walked over the tree bridges in turn for our health, wealth and happiness.

The pagoda below is still being repaired and if one could seen the view from the top I'm sure it would have been spectacular.
Having seen Ghost City it's really hard to imagine why anyone would want to destroy such beauty and I'm so glad that some of it was saved and can now be enjoyed by so many visitors.

2008: House with two views
2007: Scattergories

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At 13/9/09 11:42, Blogger wendishness said...

Beautiful photos, I bet you took hundreds of them! How long were you there for in total? I'm really enjoying this armchair ride.

I especially liked the bum spanking statue ;-)

(oddly enough after saying the above, I realised my word verification word is "pokit" hmmm) *giggles*

At 13/9/09 14:46, Blogger ChrisB said...

Wend it was only a 14 days in China then 3 in Dubai.
WV LOL. I'd really like to turn it off but I keep getting Chinese spam!

At 13/9/09 17:48, Blogger wendishness said...

LOL I don't blame you, I'd keep it on too to avoid the spam, just thought it was an interesting one after my comment about the bottom.

Two weeks, that's a decent trip, seems like you saw so much too.

At 14/9/09 18:53, Blogger Beccy said...

Thanks mum, Dillon, Ben and I have just read your blog and have decided that the nothing to be done bridge looked pretty sturdy!

At 15/9/09 03:21, Blogger Pamela said...

yeah... what was that bottoms up -- almost looked naughty!

At 15/9/09 16:45, Blogger ChrisB said...

Pamela, wish I could remember what it depicts, serves me right for not writing it down.


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