Datong- Hanging Temples and Grottoes

Our trip to Datong was only about a day and a half and we spent about a day in transportation time, but it was definitely worth it.  We had two main sights we wanted to visit, the Hanging Temple and Yungang Caves.

 

The Hanging Temple is most unusual, built 50 meters above the ground and halfway inside a cliff.  With narrow stairs and plank walkways we maneuvered our way around.  Held within the temple were shrines to Confucianism, Buddhism, and Taoism.  The reason it was built into the cliff was to protect it from the weather as well as blocking all noises so the monks had time to meditate.

 

Our second attraction was to visit the Yungang Caves, which holds 252 grottoes with more than 51,000 Buddha statues.  Some of the statues were only tiny little 2 centimeters Buddhas, that looked like that really busy outdated wallpaper.  The tallest Buddha was over 17 meters high.  The grottoes were carved in 453 and took 50 years to complete. Some 40,000 people helped in the project.  It felt like we were in the holyland of The Flinstones.  All I kept thinking is how interesting it was that someone had such a unique vision and enough energy to carry it out.  Very cool.

 

At our hotel we saw the doorman lighting off hundreds of firecrackers just outside our building on the side of the street. Nobody seemed to think of this as dangerous except for us.  Bikes and cars just swerved around them.  We learned that firecrackers are lit to announce weddings. In China, brides traditionally dress in head-to-toe red, from the ribbons in their hair down to the stockings and their shoes. Personally, I thought the stockings were a little much.

 

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~ by The Piersas on October 15, 2008.

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