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Thursday, July 30, 2009

There's temples in them thar hills

Sometimes the most familiar of places can throw up unexpected surprises. While walking in the area above where Tak'eng trails 6, 7 and 8 meet, I decided to make a brief detour to see where a stretch of paved road led. Though I've walked in this area a number of occasions, it was the first time for me to use this road, and after just a few meters, I came across a footpath going off into the forest. Expecting a trail overgrown with brush that would lead to some orchards, I was surprised instead to find a well-maintained path that soon ended at a small road festooned with purple flags. Taking a left and following the flags, it wasn't long before I came across the temple pictured above. What made this temple stand out from the (literally) thousands you see in Taiwan was the attractive landscaping. This temple was clearly a relative newcomer to the scene, and encompassed several elements in its design and layout - a Taoist 道教-looking building, a large floral Buddhist swastika 卍, a statue of Kuan Yin (Kannon Bosatsu) 観音菩薩 and, on the roof, a Yin-Yang symbol 太極図. The next time I'm in the area, I hope to take a closer look with the video camera (provided no one else is around - I'm shy).

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