Changhua Great Buddha Statue

Trip Start Jan 18, 2013
Trip End Jan 27, 2013

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday was my first full day in Taiwan and I had two trips planned to Changhua and Lugang. The first of these Changhua, is famous for a giant buddha statue and adjacent temple. 

The tourist office had told me which train line to take. The ticket was only $26 TWD (.85 cents) and the journey was only 20 mins. However, I had to wait about half an hour for the train to arrive as I had arrived too early. 

Again it was confusing figuring out which platform to goto as the board and ticket were in chinese characters but the attendant told me which platform to goto. There were other colourful local trains arriving

The sights in Changhua are easy to reach within walking distance from the station. The first location I went to was Yuanqing Temple. It was nice being back in Taiwanese temples after my first visit last year. I like how they paint the outside doors which open inwards when the temple is open. 


Similar to other Taiwanese temples it was beautifully and colourfully decorated inside with detailed beam artwork and ornate temple shrines. 


The next location I went to was the Confucius Temple. This seemed an older building and less colourful. Absent were temple gods replaced with inscription tablets instead.


I was now trying to navigate my way to the giant Buddha statue. I passed by a large gate stretching across the street and didnt realize that was the way for traffic. Instead I went to the park and had to climb up a long winding staircase to get to the peak. 

After reaching the top I was rewarded with the sight of the giant brown buddha statue. 


As I went to the side I noticed an entrance to go inside. This is unusual and not something I've seen in statues like this in Japan, Korea, or elsewhere. I thought it was for maintenance or storage but figured I'd take a look. 


Surprisingly inside there were three levels showing dioramas of the history and origins of buddhism starting in India. It seemed like quite a large interior and surprising they could fit three floors of exhibits inside. 



To the rear of the statue behind a lawn was another giant temple complex


Inside this temple was again a three level building with very detailed decorations on the pillars, ceiling and walls, as well as different shrines on each floor. The archway and circular ceiling patterns were almost Islamic if viewed from a certain angle and perhaps different cultures were in contact and sharing artistic talents and ideas.


There were also many detailed artworks and paintings on the side walls and ceiling borders. Some were mural type, others were scenes from the lives of different characters living in India. 


Once out from the large temple structure I needed something to eat. I had left the hotel from about 8am and had discovered custard buns in the Family Mart stores. Taiching didnt seem to have fresh bakeries in every station as did Taipei, however you could buy packaged baked goods in convenience stores for as low as $22 TWD (.70 cents). 


I found a vendor making grilled squid so I asked for one as there wasnt much else food around and didnt want to keep eating packaged food from convenience stores. He took my $50 coin ($1.75) so not sure if he just didnt give change back  

Towards the side of the Buddha park was a pathway leading to a side entrance from the street. I didnt realize this was the actual way to come in rather than climbing all the stairs. I could hear arabian music playing and they were doing some belly dance show across the road


Heading towards the train station I noticed another local temple with a giant lady figure on the roof. Back at the train station I asked the tourist info office how to go next to Lugang.

The lady who spoke english was nice enough to leave her desk and walk outside the train station to point towards the bus station across the road. I found that quite friendly and an extra step people at info desks in other countries wouldnt go as far as doing. 


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