Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hanging (temple) Monastery - China

The most famous attraction in Datong is the 51,000 Buddhist statues at the Yúngāng Grottoes, but by far my favourite is Xuánkōng Sì, the Hanging Monastery.

The temple was built 75m up the side of Mount Heng to avoid floods from the snows on the peaks above and noises from below. The mountain also shades the monastery from excessive sun damage. This all seems to work, as having been built in 491 the precariously situated monastery has survived over 1500 years.

The walkways between areas are slatted, allowing the visitor to see the ground below, and the whole structure sways under the weight of too many people


 Other than its position seventy-five metres up a cliff the temple is notable for being the only temple in China to include elements of three religions – Buddhist, Confucian and Taoist. There are forty halls in the monastery, and one of the main buildings contains statues of Sakyamuni, Confucius and Lao-tzu in the same room.


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