Thursday, May 15, 2014

Sun Moon Lake Xuanguang Temple [日月潭玄光寺]

Some of my loyal readers would be pleased to know that i didn't cover many temples in my recent trip to Taiwan, unlike my visit to Ipoh with my parents. I did schedule a few in my itinerary but eventually only manage to achieve one. 

Xuan Guang Si 
[玄光寺]

Even though this might sound a bit disrespectful for the religion, i was actually looking forward to trying out the Ah Ma tea leaves eggs rather than praying at the temple! To find it still not open for business meant it's the right timing to check out the religious abode instead! 

This place is definitely not wheelchair friendly with quite a number of steps before reaching the temple. Well, it wasn't as torturous as there was the breathtaking scenery of Sun Moon Lake and sights of the followers for Falun Gong (法輪功) which is classified as a cult and banned in mainland China. 

From far, the branches did seem like they were bandaged. Only when we were nearer that i realised the purpose was to reduce the impact the low lying branches has on our heads!

Almost reaching! 
Notice the position of the lady in black?

That is the place where you can get the first view of the scenic lake! During peak hours, it would be hard to stop and take this photograph! Fret not; there is another vantage point outside the temple that provides an equally good view! 

The only problem is that many people would be taking pictures beside this rock with the characters "日月潭". You know how some tourists behave; one picture is never enough, there must be ample poses before they can satisfy their narcissistic personality. So, it's a matter of patience and patience usually runs low when your time is limited. 

Oh yes, how could i ever forget about the temple?!

This small temple pays homage to the holy monk of the Tang Dynasty (the same man who was featured as Tang Sanzang in Journey to the West; one of four greatest classical novels in Chinese literature). Key question: History put his origin in China and India, rather than Taiwan. So why the focus on him?

Because of a relic of the holy monk was honoured originally in the temple. This relic was brought in from Japan and was said to be a goodwill gesture by the Japanese government in exchange for Taiwanese support after the devastating World War 2. Note: the relic is now housed in the nearby Xuanzang Temple, which is much much much bigger than Xuanguang temple.

See the above building? That's the only one for Xuanguang temple! Bloody tiny right? And there wasn't anything really architecturally interesting for me to linger longer.

Frankly, visitors were more interested in the beautiful surroundings and the stone! 

More and more visitors started streaming in at this point. Not sure if anyone of you could remember my picture posted in Day 2 of my Taiwan trip; the queue to check out the temple can stretch all the way down the stairs i climbed up! 

Walked to a quieter area next to the jetty.

It was free of visitors and i could quietly take some pictures, including one of a kingfisher (i think). As we were still waiting for Ah Ma to pull up its shutter, we walked back to the bus stop on the upper level where i remember seeing another rock with the "日月潭" characters. Must keep some photos as memory mah!

Again, tourists were hogging the rock. Alex was literally hopping mad as they could not grasp the "queue" system and so long a split second exists, they would barge in and take over the spot, often taking picture after picture after picture! I am usually quite accommodating but it was really very frustrating!

I didn't manage to my picture taken with the rock, which was okay with me. However, the actions of this group of tourists from China left a really bad taste in my mouth! 

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Location
Drop at Xuanguang Si pier.

Admission Fees
None but be prepared to pay for the boat / bus ride to the temple. 


For an overview of my 9 Days, 8 Nights Taiwan Trip [Cingjing (清境) - Sun Moon Lake (日月潭) - Taichung (臺中) - Taipei (臺 北)], click HERE.

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