Guanyin Dong, Wutaishan, Shanxi
(August 25, 2012)

(1) See that building about halfway up the right side of the hillside? That's my ultimate destination (about 400 steps up...), the Guanyin Cave.

Coming back from the previous temple, I asked my driver to drop me at an intersection so I could walk to my next destination (this one), he offered to take me for a mere 20rmb more (with no waiting). Not knowing how far I'd need to walk, I leapt at it!

(2) The front gate of the compound below the Cave is the first hint that this place is in the Tibetan tradition.

(3) Frankly, though, I think it's a retrofit. This Main Hall is decidedly Chinese, with Tibetan accents added.

(4) Another view, with flowers.

(5) But the interior is all Tibet all the time...

(6) ...and Tibetan characters have been carved into the timbers on this Chinese hall.

(7) On the staircase in back of the main hall. On the way up, I stopped at this hall, right behind the main hall. Can you spot the mirror in the background (on the red waste basket)? A monk in a hut there watches the gate to this small compound in that mirror. Clever.

(8) Inside the small hall there is this Tibet-ish figure (with another behind him). But see the curtains on the left?

(9) Behind the curtains were six (I think) gorgeous Chinese figures. More evidence of a retrofit.

(10) I stopped in this pavilion to breathe on the way up, and to eat my lunch on the way down.

(11) Looking back down on the compound below, you can see roadwork going on. There's also one new hall being built on the hillside, and a ton of big, new buildings are being built down the road.

(12) At last: The compound where the cave is located. This is the single hall (behind which the cave is located).

(13) Inside, more Tibetan imagery.

(14) The two monks who tended this hall lived in this room. What a location! On my way down, I saw another monk carrying up their lunch. I teased one of the monks (a big, young guy) when he told me he couldn't speak Tibetan. He then went on to tell me how much he loved America, even though he'd never been.

(15) Behind that one hall is this view, the "cave" at the back of the shot.

(16) This is it, the end of all my climbing. There's something funny here: the word for "cave" can also mean "hole," and I've seen this site translated on some maps as "Guanyin's Hole." That doesn't sound so nice! Yet, in fact, it is a hole. I doubt that one person could fit inside it, hardly a "cave" at all!

(17) Ah, religion.
Monk: I'll dump freezing water on your head, and you give me money.
Devotee: OK!

(18) Back at the pavilion, I noticed this pagoda across the valley. See it?

(19) How about now? (Love my new telephoto!) Anyway, I'm sure there's lots of this sort of thing in these mountains.

(20) There were several small carvings along the trail, some in the native rock, and others on plaques like this.

(21) Does anyone know anything about this folk tradition of placing sticks under rocks in this fashion? I've seen it all over China.

(22) From below, looking back on the cave's compound.

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Last Updated August 21, 2019

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