Friday, April 9, 2010

Around Lijiang

MonkI'm so sore! I rented a bicycle today and biked around Lijiang. I should have taken it for a test ride first, as the seat was most uncomfortable. I'm having trouble sitting today. Other than that it was a wonderful day.

My first stop was the Fuguo Monastery. It was purely coincidental, as I meant to go to the Baisha Village and got lost. The guidebook described Fuguo as nothing but ruins, destroyed by the earthquake that struck the area in 1996. I figured it would at least have good views. As I biked up a seemingly never-ending hill, I was starting to have second thoughts about seeing it.

When I got there, I noticed there were no ruins; the temple seems to be getting rebuilt. I decided to check out the farm house that was next to it. As I approached it, before I even got off my bike, an old man ran out of the farm house screaming "Nice to meet you!" He grabbed my bike and started walking off with it. I followed curiously. He set it against the wall and waved me inside the house.

Inside the house, he offered me a seat at a table and brought out some tea. Looking around, I noticed that the farm house seemed transformed into a make-shift temple and the old man was a monk. After a couple of cups of tea, he gave me some incense to light and started praying. I knew he would ask me to donate some money and normally I would have stopped him, but I was happy to donate as not only did he give me tea, but I also got some neat photos from the whole thing.

Just next to the Fuguo Monastery, I noticed a little peak with a whole bunch of prayer flags. I locked up my bike and hiked up to it. As I got higher, I noticed the flags were everywhere! It made me wonder if this was done sometime after the earthquake. From the top I had some nice views of the valley and Lijiang.

Afterwards I rode to the Baisha Village and the Jade Peak Monastery (Yufeng Si). The village offered an insight into the daily grind of the Naxi People. Jade Peak Monastery was neat too as it seemed to be more of a Tibetan type, which prayer wheels all over the place. The highlight of the day was definitely my Fuguo Monastery experience.

Lijiang in the morning:

Fuguo Monastery:

Views of the valley:

Jade Peak Monastery