Templing at Shibao Mountain – Shaxi

Buddha Shibao MountainThe day after our cycling expedition we went in search of some mountain temples to the north of Sideng village in Shaxi. As with most of our outings in China, we didn’t know much about it before we started; most tourist destinations are not geared up to provide helpful information to FIT’s (Free Independent Travelers) like us. It was only after we’d visited places that we had much idea of what was where.

Cato’s Inn organised transport, a little van just for us. The driver would drop us off at the entrance to something and we’d wander off to see what it was. There might be information boards with diagrams which we’d photograph to use as a guide as we went. Any maps were somewhat stylised and cryptic. But when we got back we could usually see what they were trying to tell us.

Transport to Shiboa Mountain

Cute van transport to Shiboa Mountain Shaxi

Also fun were lots of the signs. Many lost quite a lot in the translation. We appreciated the effort and it was a good game trying to work out what some of them meant.

Temple Shiboa Mountain

Information board at temple Shiboa Mountain

The first temple was a nice temple. There’s a lot to like about Chinese temples.

Temple Shiboa Mountain

Temple Shiboa Mountain

I liked the wall panels.

Temple Shiboa Mountain

Temple decoration Shiboa Mountain

The second place we stopped had a gang on monkeys sitting in the middle of the road. And another bunch hanging out on a giant waterwheel.

Monkeys at Shibao Mountain

Monkeys at Shibao Mountain

The second temple was more of a complex. We had a climb up a zillion steps to come out on the scene below. Much of it was built into the cliff. Maybe it was a defensive position. Like no bad people could sneek up behind them.

Temple Shiboa Mountain

Temple Shiboa Mountain

The statue things there would double as works of art. In an extraordinary outdoor gallery.

Temple Shiboa Mountain

Temple Shiboa Mountain

Who wouldn’t like this guy?

Temple Shiboa Mountain

Temple Shiboa Mountain

Or this one?

Temple Shiboa Mountain

Temple Shiboa Mountain

It was all a crazy path sort of place, all hacked out of or stuck onto the cliff. Wonderful!

Temple Shiboa Mountain

Temple Shiboa Mountain

Temple Shibao Mountain

Door panels at temple Shibao Mountain

The door panels above and below helped to fuel my fascination with door decorations. They make our doors look very plain.

Temple Shibao Mountain

Temple door panel Shibao Mountain

Temple Shibao Mountain

Carved wooden door panels – Temple Shibao Mountain

And then there were the long-term temple inhabitants.

Temple Shibao Mountain

Temple Shibao Mountain

Temple Shibao Mountain

Temple Shibao Mountain

I wondered if the guys above were the Four Wise Men? And with the collection below, I just wondered.

Temple Shibao Mountain

Temple Shibao Mountain

We drove on to another temple group, high on a ridge. There was some very old relics in some of the temples, with strict rules about no photographs.

Ridge temple complex Shibao Mountain

Ridge temple complex Shibao Mountain

From there we descended into a valley and climbed the other side. Up some very steep steps and climbs which would give OSH people nightmares.

Steep steps Shibao Mountain

Steep steps Shibao Mountain

We found our way back to where we started and it had a great view back down the valley to Sideng village. And that was it for our day. Our nice driver drove us back without any drama on uncrowded roads to our our lovely laid-back village. Perhaps the biggest worry was the huge carpark under construction at the entrance to the temple area. There is obviously a big increase in vehicles expected. And we thought probably not little mini buses. More like bigger tour ones. And so it begins …

Shaxi fro Shibao Mountain

Shaxi from Shibao Mountain. Sideng village is the group farthest down the valley to the right.

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