Solitary wat in the mountains
Trip Start Jan 29, 2007
50Trip End Feb 28, 2007
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After we got back into the truck we continued up a windy paved road with lots of blind corners. Our driver would honk as we went around each one, warning oncoming traffic we were there. I started worrying about keeping my lunch!
Fortunately, we soon stopped across the street from the steps to a wat. There were 180 steps up the mountain to the temple and on either side of the stone staircase there were these amazing walls. The walls were white stucco and about 3 feet high and at the top were these intricate carvings of a dragon's body. The beginning of the the staircase serves as the head of the dragon with the neck of one dragon being swallowed by another dragon (this is a buddhist symbol and I wish I knew the name or the meaning! They are at lots of temple entrances.) The heads -- one on either side -- stood about 7 feet high and were about 2 feet in diameter and the body of each went all the way up the mountain on either side of the stairs, serving as a fat railing. Nearer the top, the rocks themselves on the sides of the mountains were carved with faces and symbols. It was eery and peaceful at the same time. I got some cool photos so you'll see what I mean eventually.
During the rainy season 3 monks live at this temple, but only one monk is there now and we didn't see him. There was evidence of his caretaking though as all the needles from the coniferous trees (a surprise for us!) were swept carefully off the grounds and the steps. There were very cool views from the top although with the haze from the smoke the photos didn't turn out that well. The wat itself was peaceful and quaint and there weren't any people there except our group and the hike to the top had spread us out, so only a few of us were at the top at a time. There was a cat begging for attention (and food, I'm sure) from Nikki and it had the coolest eyes. It looked like a monk's cat because his eyes would match the golden orange robes the monks wear. I definitely got a photo of the cat. Then down we went. And back in the truck, but this time only for 10 minutes or so until we arrived at the village where we would begin our hike into the jungle.