Thursday, August 5, 2010

That lovely temple beside that lovely lake

Almost every visitor to Taiwan on a tour package, would find this lake in his/her itinerary. It's what I call a 'staple destination'. Just like how you can't go to Paris without visiting Eiffel Tower, or Spain without visiting Sagrada La Familia, the same goes for the Sun Moon Lake in Nantou County, Taiwan.

The fame and beauty of Sun Moon Lake is the reason why throngs of Mainland Chinese tourists descend upon the lake by the millions. And so, as our boat captain (of the boat we took that toured the lake) quipped, the lake collected its fair share of cameras from the throngs of tourist, enough for every fish in the lake. Lovely. ;)

Situated strategically beside the lake is an equally famous temple, called "Wen Wu" temple. From Francis' explanations of the Taiwanese way of life, we gather that the Taiwanese are firm believers in the concept of 'feng shui'. The concept is hard to explain, however to put it in a simple manner, it is a concept commonly applied to orient or design certain aspects of buildings/structures in an auspicious manner. Hence it's no surprise that major thought was put into designing and orienting the Wen Wu temple.

 A quick glimpse of the lake before entering the temple

The majestic entrance of Wen Wu temple

The magnificent gates of the temple set against the tranquil blue of the lake and the sky

One of the 'fengshui' design elements placed at the doorway of the temple.
Every structure, every  design is there for a reason.

Within the temple, are several alters. There is a Confucian alter that is popular amongst students praying for blessings in their studies. Another alter is famous for being very accurate in its divination of lots that you draw from there. For instance, you may ask the dieties if you will enjoy good health in the year, by shaking a container of divinatory sticks. When a stick is shaken out, a poem/short verses will be assigned to the divinatory stick and a temple assistant will assist you in interpreting the verses and hence 'telling your fortune'.

9 dragons. Numbers are an important element in feng shui. I can't remember why they chose to sculpt 9 dragons instead of 8. Traditionally 8 is an auspicious number to the Chinese. 

Despite the ornate interior decorations and grandeur of the temple, I actually felt a sense of peace in this place. If you have all the time in the world, you could wander the temple grounds feeling very much at ease.

A terracotta soldier street or rather temple mime

Short post, but I think the lake deserves its full attention in another post. Will write about it next.

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