shibao shan: the fabulous baoxiang temple

Monday, February 9:  Our last stop at Shibao Shan is the fabulous Baoxiang Temple, also known as “Suspending Temple.”  It was built at the end of the 13th century, when Yunnan was formally integrated into the Chinese Empire.

We climb a lot of steps through a monkey community to get to the temple.  We’ve heard the monkeys can be quite aggressive and that people have been injured by them, but we’re lucky that they don’t bother us.

monkeys on the steps to Baoxiang Temple

monkeys on the steps to Baoxiang Temple

Monkey meeting

Monkey meeting

We come to a huge rock where Chinese characters have been carved into the face.  I can imagine it says the name of the temple, but since I can’t read Chinese, I don’t know.

Stone rock carving at entrance to Baoxing Temple

Stone rock carving at entrance to Baoxing Temple

Finally, we pass through the main entrance, flanked by two white elephants.

The first hall we encounter

The first hall we encounter

Immediately, we can see the huge cliff looming over us, with its new statues of Guanyin and Maitreya, the smiling Buddha, on the cliff ledges.

Buddha on the cliff ledges

Guanyin and Maitreya on the cliff ledges

On either side of the two figures are two smaller temples built into the cliff face.

incense burner

incense burner

New statues of Guanyin and Maitreya, the smiling Buddha, on the cliff ledges at Baoxiang Temple

New statues of Guanyin and Maitreya, the smiling Buddha, on the cliff ledges at Baoxiang Temple

Baoxiang Temple

Baoxiang Temple

Inside the halls are folk figures playing music in the countryside; they are accompanied by wildly patterned dragons and birds.

Inside one of the halls at Baoxiang Temple

Inside one of the halls at Baoxiang Temple

Colorful temple interior at Baoxiang Temple

Colorful temple interior at Baoxiang Temple

Colorful characters at Baoxiang Temple

Colorful characters at Baoxiang Temple

Cliffs above Baoxiang Temple

Cliffs above Baoxiang Temple

fountain at Baoxiang Temple

fountain at Baoxiang Temple

Baoxiang Temple

Baoxiang Temple

Luckily, it’s easy to climb up to the ledges to explore the temples and Buddha figures more closely.

Cliffs at the temple

Cliffs at the temple

Someone has a carefully tended potted garden in one of the temple courtyards down below.

potted garden

potted garden

Guanyin and Maitreya, the smiling Buddha, on the cliff ledges at Baoxiang Temple

Guanyin and Maitreya, the smiling Buddha, on the cliff ledges at Baoxiang Temple

looking down on the rooftops from the ledges

looking down on the rooftops from the ledges

hall built into the cliff face

hall built into the cliff face

colorful characters in the temple on the rock face

colorful characters in the temple on the rock face

I have always wanted to go to the Datong Hanging Monastery, and since I don’t know if I’ll be able to get there during my time in China, maybe this will serve as the next best thing.

Guanyin and Maitreya, the smiling Buddha, on the cliff ledges at Baoxiang Temple

Guanyin and Maitreya, the smiling Buddha, on the cliff ledges at Baoxiang Temple

Guanyin on the cliff ledges at Baoxiang Temple

Guanyin on the cliff ledges at Baoxiang Temple

Baoxiang Temple

Baoxiang Temple

Alex stands beside Guanyin and Maitreya on the cliff ledges at Baoxiang Temple

Alex stands beside Guanyin and Maitreya on the cliff ledges at Baoxiang Temple

Looking down from the ledge

Looking down from the ledge

We climb the steps to the ledges and wander around for a long time, enjoying the views over Shibao Shan and the interesting interiors and exteriors of the temples.  There is hardly anyone here, except for us, the monkeys, a few Buddhist worshippers and some temple-minders.

Alex and the temple

Alex and the temple

Maitreya, the smiling Buddha, on the cliff ledges at Baoxiang Temple

Maitreya, the smiling Buddha, on the cliff ledges at Baoxiang Temple

Guanyin and Maitreya, the smiling Buddha, on the cliff ledges at Baoxiang Temple

Guanyin and Maitreya, the smiling Buddha, on the cliff ledges at Baoxiang Temple

colorful eaves

colorful eaves

inside another rock-face temple

inside another rock-face temple

colorful painting and character

colorful painting and character

a wise looking man

a wise looking man

Maitreya, the smiling Buddha

Maitreya, the smiling Buddha

on the ledges at Baoxiang Temple

on the ledges at Baoxiang Temple

Another temple built into the ledges

Another temple built into the ledges

colorful temple in the complex

colorful temple in the complex

another pavilion

another pavilion

It’s getting late in the day, so we meet our driver at the bottom of the steps.  He drives us back to Shaxi as the sun is setting.  We walk into the town, go to our hotel for a bit of a rest, and then go out for dinner at Mint Cafe, where we ate lunch earlier today.  I have some egg and vegetable soup because I feel like soup will settle my stomach.  But I add French fries to the order, which probably isn’t helpful.

Tomorrow morning, we’ll leave Shaxi, taking the bus back to Jianchuan (which Alex dreads because of the motion sickness he got on the way here), and then on to Dali. 🙂

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Categories: Asia, Baoxiang Temple, China, Mint Cafe, Shaxi, Shibao Shan, Theater, Travel, Xingjiao Temple, Yunnan Province | Tags: , , , , , | 16 Comments

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16 thoughts on “shibao shan: the fabulous baoxiang temple

  1. Again, feats of construction that just amaze me, given the rudimentary tools available back in the day. Monkeys always look so cuddly to me, but I have heard that isn’t necessarily the case. Glad they didn’t bother you.

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    • I know, Carol, I’m always amazed by people who build things on the top of impossibly high cliffs, like the monasteries at Meteora, or on cliff-sides. I don’t know about monkeys; to me they seem to mischievous to be cuddly. 🙂

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  2. Too many steps for me, so I am very grateful to you doing all the hard work. I still find these statues quite horrible, as if they are from a fairground, but I like the actual temples. Those pots in the courtyard look as though they are Bonsai trees.

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    • There were a lot of steps, and as always I have to stop many times to catch my breath. I liked the statues; if you don’t like these, wait till you see all the ultra-kitschy ones I found in Myanmar!! 🙂 You’re probably right; those just might be bonsai trees. You’re the gardening expert, so I’ll trust you on this, Jude. 🙂

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  3. You must be so good at making notes – and making time to make notes!

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    • I’m really not good at making notes, Gilly. I do a lot of research once I return home. I take some sketchy notes, but I should be much better, especially if I’m going to be a blogger! 🙂

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  4. This place looks fantastic, Cathy! The cliff face setting is superb and I think you’ve captured it really well. 🙂

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  5. Such an interesting place to visit, Cathy! Your photo gallery is superb. The smiling Buddha looks so much like the brass one that my Grandma brought back from China in the late 1930’s, but it’s much smaller of course. I’m sure Alex really enjoyed his trip.

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    • Thanks so much, Sylvia. I loved this place. It was really my favorite temple I saw in Yunnan, although I saw a lot of great ones. It’s a good thing your grandmother’s Buddha was a lot smaller; I can’t imagine her hauling one that big back from China!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s a very dramatic setting for a temple, and also amazing to think how it was built into the cliffs.

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  7. I’m glad you showed Alex in the one picture next to the statues. I had no idea how big they were until I saw them compared to his size and he’s pretty tall!

    And as for your comment up above, you’re doing a great job of providing background and information. You’re doing just fine blogging this.

    Nancy

    Like

    • Yes, Nancy, Alex is almost 6 feet tall, so you can see those statues are huge. Thanks for your compliment. I’m so far behind in blogging now, and my notes are so sparse, that I’m finding already that things are getting hazy!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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