As I’ve mentioned before, I managed to snag really cheap fares to and from Beijing way back in 2008. Apart from exploring the sights of Beijing itself, I made a side trip to Datong because I wanted to see the Hanging Temple. I saw it being featured in one of those travel channels and desperately wanted to see what it really is like. Thankfully, Datong is much closer to Beijing than X’ian (where the Terra Cotta warriors are), so I did more research and found a travel agent who booked me on a “soft-sleeper” train to this province.
After a (surprisingly comfortable 8-hour) train ride, I got into Datong. My tour guide and driver – I can honestly say MY tour guide because I was her only tourist – drove me to various tourist attractions (9-Dragon Wall, Buddhist Temple) and fed me soo much food I thought I was going to pop! Then of course, they brought me to the Hanging Temple.
Seeing the Hanging Temple up close was just a surreal experience. I cannot, for the life of me, fathom why anyone would go to all the trouble to build a temple on the side of a cliff! Although Mei-Li (i think that’s her name, it’s been so long I’ve forgotten) said the monks did this so that they didn’t hear the noises the dogs, cats and other wildlife would make and have more peace while meditating. I think she mentioned another theory about food being out of reach from predators, but I honestly can’t remember anymore.
Anyway, photos of Datong’s Hanging Temple, below:
She said that about 10 years ago (from 2008), when she first visited the temple, the only way to get to it was via a hanging bridge! Out of curiosity, I asked her how the temple was built. She said that there used to be a river flowing underneath (as evidenced by the presence of the dam, as per pictures above) and in order to build the temple … refer to my photo essay below: 🙂
Next time, I might write about the buddhas I saw at Yungang Grottoes.