a morning stroll around shaxi

Monday, February 9:  After having a good Western breakfast of homemade bread and bacon and eggs, we take a walk around the old town of Shaxi.  As we walk down the street, we see this pretty little nook, but we don’t know what the business is.  It never seems to be open.

A cute little nook on the street in Shaxi

A cute little nook on the street in Shaxi

In the Market Square, the two most significant buildings face off against each other across the square, the Theater and Xingjiao Temple.  First, we stop at Xingjiao Temple. We pay the entrance fee and go inside.

Entrance to Xingjiao Temple

Entrance to Xingjiao Temple

Inside and to the left of a courtyard is Tian Wang Dian, translated as the Heavenly Wings Hall, also known as the Second Hall.  It is a column-and-beam structure.

Tian Wang Dian, or the Heavenly Wings Hall

Tian Wang Dian, or the Heavenly Wings Hall

The courtyard is leafy and shady.

courtyard at Xingjiao Temple

courtyard at Xingjiao Temple

Da Xiong Bao Dian, or the Main Hall, is the last building on the axis at the end of the courtyard.  It is made of timber frame, creating the skeleton of the hall.  The bracket construction keeps the structure together and is flexible, making it earthquake resistant.

Looking at Daxiong Bao Dian, or the Main Hall

Looking at Daxiong Bao Dian, or the Main Hall

In May of 2010, the Main Hall was renovated and the five Buddhas were remodeled.  It is said the five statues from north to south are Ratnasambhava Buddha, Ayshobhya Buddha, Vairocana Buddha, Amitabha Buddha, and Amoghasiddhi Buddha.  This is one of the major Buddha combinations in Tantric Buddhism.

Three of the five Buddhas in Da Xiong Bao Dian

Three of the five Buddhas in Da Xiong Bao Dian

The inside and outside walls of the hall are decorated with paintings from the Ming Dynasty (1417 A.D.).  The paintings are representative of Tantric Buddhism and are an embodiment of the ancient Bai style of painting, containing both local and national characteristics.

Painting from the Ming Dynasty in Da Xiong Bao Dian

Painting from the Ming Dynasty in Da Xiong Bao Dian

The restoration is not only of historical significance but, as many villages are still Buddhist, the restoration has also brought enormous cultural and religious significance.

Da Xiong Bao Dian

Da Xiong Bao Dian

We return to the square after leaving the temple, and we come across a lively wedding party. Some of the stragglers are setting off firecrackers.

A wedding party on the streets of Shaxi

A wedding party on the streets of Shaxi

the stragglers at the wedding party

the stragglers at the wedding party

We continue walking to the east, in hopes of finding the Bai Temple. The town’s streets are delightfully clean with moss-edged streams running through them.

Shaxi street

Shaxi street

Shaxi street

Shaxi street

Finally, we reach the Bai Temple on the northeast corner of town.

Bai Temple

Bai Temple

Entrance to the Bai Temple

Entrance to the Bai Temple

Chinese ladies at the Bai Temple

Chinese ladies at the Bai Temple

Inside the Main Hall are some very colorful characters.

Characters in the Bai Temple

Characters in the Bai Temple

Inside the Bai Temple

Inside the Bai Temple

Inside the Bai Temple

Inside the Bai Temple

In the Bai Temple

In the Bai Temple

Important Bai personage

Important Bai personage

And outside, we find incense burning and old ladies preparing offerings for the gods inside.

incense

incense

Inside the Bai Temple

Inside the Bai Temple

As we leave the Bai Temple, we come across a boisterous group riding by in a truck.  The driver makes a drinking motion and waves for us to follow them.  We can’t join them, sadly, because we have a driver picking us up soon, and we just have time to grab some lunch before we meet him.  The driver will take us this afternoon up to Shibao Shan, or Stone Treasure Mountain.

Some folks going to the wedding

Some folks going to the wedding

We come across a pretty little bridge and stream on the east edge of town.

a little bridge on the outskirts of the town

a little bridge on the outskirts of the town

on the edge of town

on the edge of town

Alex on the bridge

Alex on the bridge

Shaxi street

Shaxi street

horsemen in the square

horsemen in the square

We stop for lunch at the Mint Cafe.  I order a tuna sandwich, which surprisingly comes with corn in it.  Alex has beef and mushrooms on rice.  When we return to the hotel, I have a bout of diarrhea; I promptly take an Imodium.  I end up with stomach cramps for the rest of the day.

delivery man

delivery man

Another view of the Xingjiao Temple

Another view of the Xingjiao Temple

Soon after lunch, we head up to Shibao Shan, a nature reserve and religious site that was one of the first to be officially protected by China in 1982.

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Categories: Asia, Bai Temple, China, Da Xiong Bao Dian, Heavenly Wings Hall, Main Hall, Mint Cafe, Shaxi, Tantric Buddhism, Tian Wang Dian, Travel, Xingjiao Temple, Yunnan Province | Tags: , , , | 24 Comments

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24 thoughts on “a morning stroll around shaxi

  1. You certainly can’t accuse the villages in China of being dreary!

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  2. I am intrigued by the wedding party. is the bride really wearing red socks with her white dress? The rest of the party don’t seem to dress up for the event, unlike us in the western world. Have you been to a Chinese wedding yet Cathy?

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    • Good observations! I didn’t notice the socks or the rest of the wedding party. The bride sure was dressed up fancy though.

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      • To be honest, I didn’t notice the red socks either, though I did notice the rest of the wedding party. You’re right, that bride was pretty fancy! 🙂

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    • Maybe this is how weddings are done in small villages, Jude. But I really don’t know as I’ve never been invited to a Chinese wedding. Maybe if I knew some marriageable Chinese, I’d get invited, but I think most of my students are too young to be considering marriage. And the Chinese adults I know are already married. 🙂 Oh well……

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  3. I am getting to know China so much better between your pictures and writings. Sorry to hear you were sick – I’m actually surprised it hasn’t happened more often. I can’t quite pick out a favorite (although the bride is up there as first pick), but I’m so glad you’re doing a mix of the temples, people and landscaping. And Alex, of course.

    Nancy

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    • Thanks so much, Nancy. I’m glad you’re enjoying my mix of travels in China. Yunnan is an especially nice province, but Guangxi, where I live, is not nearly as nice. As far as getting sick, I don’t know when it will hit. It’s something I eat from time to time, and I have a feeling it’s the recycled oil that’s doing me in. I have been sick a lot in China; one of a number of reasons why I look forward to leaving. I am, however, trying to make the most of it while I’m here.

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  4. Sorry about your belly, never eat fish in a place where there are no fast-moving streams or major bodies of water. Especially if electricity can lead to freezing and thawing and refreezing. Two years in Africa living rough and living in the Congo and not a single belly ache, not even once. Your vegetarian diet is really helping you with that in China – you cannot go wrong with beer, eggs, potatoes, rice, and vegetables cooked over high heat. And tomatoes. 😀

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    • I’m pretty sure it was canned tuna, Mona Lisa, but I don’t know for sure. It was probably more likely the mayonnaise or the corn that made me sick. I never really know though. I’m actually not sure it’s the vegetarian diet that helps me; actually I’ve gotten sickest after eating vegetables when they’re drenched in oil. I really do believe it’s the recycled oil that always ends up making me sick. 🙂

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  5. Another fascinating little place. Sorry that something you ate didn’t agree with you. 😦

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    • We both loved Shaxi, Elaine. As for getting sick, it seems to happen to me quite often here in China. I never know how to protect myself from it because I’m not certain of the cause. 🙂

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  6. Another pretty bridge! 🙂 I was just about to say ‘no ill effects from the tumble?’ when you get stomache cramps again 😦 Don’t suppose you’ll have that problem in Hong Kong, Cathy. Have a fab time! 🙂

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    • I like those bridges too, Jo. Surprisingly, I did get sick in Hong Kong. I don’t know what to do about these stomach problems, Jo. As I never know for sure what causes them, I don’t know how to avoid the culprit. When I’m home in Nanning I cook a lot myself, or eat at restaurants I know are good, but when I’m traveling, I never know what places to trust. 🙂

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      • Hiya Cathy! Just completing a Thursday’s Special when I spotted you on here. Good trip then? Do you have any of these problems with your stomache in the US?

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      • Thanks for dropping by, Jo! The trip was good but too short. I did get sick that last day which made me miss a day of things I wanted to do. However, the first two days were great. I really enjoyed it. I think you could stay at least a week in Hong Kong with plenty to do. By the way, I generally don’t have stomach problems in the US. 🙂

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      • Did you make it up Victorai Heights? That’s the bit I always want to do. And a boat trip or 2 of course 🙂 🙂 Hugs, darlin. Hope you feel better soon.

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      • Yes, Jo, I had to wait in a long line (a story I’ll tell later) to get up the Peak by the tram, but I finally made it up there. It was fantastic. Then, because the line was equally long to come down, I walked back down. It was a long walk, but I’m glad I did it. I took the Star Ferry several times, plus the Outlying Islands Ferry to Lantau. It was all very time-consuming because of the long lines. That’s what I get for traveling on a Chinese holiday! 🙂 Thanks for your hugs, but don’t worry, I already feel better. Imodium and time are the healers of these types of stomach problems. 🙂

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      • That’s good to hear. 🙂 I shall live vicariously through you when it comes to print. It sounds like just my kind of trip (but without the lines 🙂 )

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      • You would love Hong Kong, Jo, I think, because it’s so vibrant and has so much to see. I’m considering going back one more time before I leave China. Three days simply wasn’t enough time, especially as I got sick the last day. 🙂

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  7. Such colors! (I have only had to use my Immodium once this week, amazingly enough. I had shrimp in a Shanghai restaurant tonight so fingers crossed! But they actually had bins of fresh fish, in water, delivered while I was there which I believe was a good sign.) China is such a vibrant country.

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    • That’s good you’ve only had to use Imodium once, Vivian. I hope the shrimp sat well with you too; I imagine it did since it was fresh. I’m glad you’re enjoying the vibrancy of China. That is a perfect description. 🙂

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  8. I love these Buddhist temples with their incredibly ornate interiors and their simple, quiet courtyards. As a traveler, they’re always a wonderful place for a quiet sit-down to catch your breath. ~James

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    • I agree, James. I always love Buddhist temples anywhere I’ve been, just for the sheer variety. Some are quite and contemplative, while others are bustling with activity. Each of them has a distinct character, I’ve found. 🙂

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