Thursday, January 12, 2017

Xiamen, China: Visiting the Nanputuo Temple (South Putuo Temple)

The city is known for its resident Buddhist temple – the South Putuo Temple (Nanputuo) located just beside Xiamen University, at the foot of the Wulaofeng, the Five Old Men chain of hills.

Nanputuo Temple

I arrived here with the cab. I was still trying to get my bearings in the city so I thought taking a cab would be the best decision and easiest thing to do. Cabs in Xiamen are quite affordable. You pay a fare between 10-20 CNY (€1.30 - €2.80) for within city trips which is a bargain. However, I have learned that the buses go at a flat rate of 1 CNY (€0.13) anywhere in the city! That is just dirt cheap! Going back to my hotel from the temple that night I took the bus. I had to try =)

Nobody speaks English in Xiamen though. If there is, then it’s your lucky day, haha. In my experience, many of the locals would go out of their way to help you even if they are lost in translation. After visiting the Nanputuo Temple and Xiamen University, I asked a student how to get to Zongshan Lu, which is a good landmark for me as it is near my hotel. He does not speak English of course but when I said Zongshan Lu and pointing to the map and then the bus, he understood me. He told me which buses pass by Zongshan Lu and even urged me to hurry up because the first bus on the queue was about to leave, haha. It is a good thing that the buses are numbered because numbers are universal. Life saver.

Survival Tip: Make sure you know how to pronounce the important Chinese landmarks so locals can understand you. For example: Xiamen Gaoqi (this is the international airport) is pronounced as sha-men gao-chi.

In Nanputuo I was able to visit the temples on the ground and even lighted an incense stick. The incense sticks are free and they usually use it to pray for something. I am a forever curious cat so I tend to just follow and go with the flow =)

The Buddhist temple is also a huge park. At the back of it is a rocky hillside called the Wulaofeng aka the Five Old Men chain of hills which is rich in greenery. There is an abundance of grottoes, Buddhist landmarks, as well as nooks and crannies for people to sit down and relax, have a chat, perhaps have a little picnic or simply just meditate and enjoy the surroundings. It’s clearly being one with nature here, although you can surely see that the park is man-made.

It was a busy day when I visited. There were so many tourists, albeit local tourists from nearby and faraway places in China. I tell you – China does not need foreign tourists, they have enough local ones! This was totally an eye-opener for me. This country is huge and self-sustaining, tourism-wise.

Entrance is free of charge. To learn more about this temple that was founded during the Tang dynasty, please go here: Nanputuo Temple

I suggest at least half a day visit to this temple, especially if you wish to climb the hillside and maybe have some tea at Tushita (highly recommended!) or lunch at its vegetarian restaurant.

Hope you enjoy the pictures!


Outside of the temple entrance you can find the incense burners where many pray and do their customary rituals.

Hall of the Heavenly Kings

This is the Hall of the Heavenly Kings.

Nanputuo Temple

Beautiful (dragon) details on top of the roofs of the temple.

Nanputuo inner courtyard

Inner courtyard of the temple after entering the Hall of the Heavenly Kings. To the right you will see the Eighteen Arhats.

Nanputuo
Mahavira hall

The Mahavira Hall. These are massive buddhas.

Mahakaruna Hall

The Mahakaruna Hall.

Nanputuo
Sutra pavilion dharma hall

The Sutra Pavilion and Dharma Hall.

Five old men hills

Going up the Five Old Men hills touching the cloud.


Turtle mirroring =)

Five Old Men Hills

You need to be fit to climb the Five Old Men hills.

Five Old Men Hills

This is not yet the top =)


I did not bother to go all the way up. Far ahead in the distance you can see the buildings of Xiamen University.

Nanputuo

I need to deep dive my learning about Buddhism and Chinese folk religion.

Nanputuo

The park in front of the temple.

Travel Period: December 2016
Destination: Xiamen (Fujian), China

Keep in touch and follow me on Facebook: Travel & Lifestyle Diaries by Dutched Pinay Travels
Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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