Monday, October 4, 2010

Big Buddha on Baguashan

Shan. It is one of the first Chinese words that I learned. It could be that we live on Dongshan Road or it's just that I have an affiliation with open spaces and was attracted to the word meaning mountain.

After our disappointing adventure in the Taiwan Folk Village, we quickly thumbed the faithful Lonely Planet to see if we could redeem the drive out on this Saturday (see following post). We were in luck - a town close by has reportedly home to a 22-meter tall Buddha statue perched on top of a hill. We managed to find a few signs pointing in the approximate direction and headed in search of this Buddha.

The guide book mentions that Baguashan was once an important military lookout as the top offers views of the city and far out into the ocean. According to the LP, the end of the Sino-Japanese gave ownership of Taiwan to Japan which resulted in some upset Taiwanese. These locals fought a big battle on Baguashan which ended the military posting. I guess a lot of damage occurred, but there are no signs of violence up there today.

The area exudes a peaceful feeling. Maybe we lucked out and avoided the hordes transported by tour bus that are constantly sneaking up, but the hill was virtually empty. White-washed stone sentinels guarded the pathway up to the Buddha.

From Great Buddha Statue on Baguashan

Some of these "guys" looked a bit odd. Check out this one:
From Great Buddha Statue on Baguashan

Not to be outdone by the stone sentries, the next hurdle to pass was the squid ladies. Think tentacles. Lots of them. But these are no ordinary squid. Nope, these have been dried and flattened. The thought of eating one was scarier than the last sentinel.

From Great Buddha Statue on Baguashan

Eventually we came up the hill, rounded the turn and took in this majestic Buddha as he looked out over the town.

From Great Buddha Statue on Baguashan

The area surrounding up the Buddha was stunning. The grounds were simply immaculate. The statues and white painting gleamed, which is quite a feat here in Taiwan. A combination of pollution (and there is lots of it) and the tropical climate is hard on materials. Buildings that are 10 or less years old can look much older due to discoloration. But here, walls gleamed.

From Great Buddha Statue on Baguashan

Another Buddha with its belly polished due to constant rubbing for good luck (yes, Krista gave it the good 'ole rub), koi ponds, stone elephants and lions, and pagodas were also artfully placed on top of Baguashan.

No comments:

Post a Comment