It is a bright day when we walk through a traditional neighbourhood of Taipei, where all flats have iron-caged balconies. It is a bright, sunny January day, and after crossing a busy street, we walk past the Confucius temple to the Dalongdong Baoan temple. On the south side, there is only a wall, so we walk around it to find the entrance on the east side. It is like stepping into a different world, away from the scores of motorbikes, the people, the shops. Here, we see people sitting on a bench, we hear humming, we see artsy statues of a dragon with a painter over a pond, we see a bigger pond with a bigger water-spraying dragon. Walking around the small park, we see more details, small bridges between man-made mounds, a sculpted tiger, a scene with sculpted people in a circle, a square open building, richly decorated with sculpted elephants on its corners.
We walk on, and find a special burner where people throw papers in to burn; it is part of the temple complex. Across the street, we see the entrance to the actual temple. A big, dark incense burner stands right in front of it, with a constant flow of people coming out of the Baoan temple, large incense sticks in their hands, moving their bodies forward and back while the smoke swirls around their heads. After watching the scene for a while, we enter the temple proper. After the quiet small park in front of the temple, we are now bombarded by sensations. There are the delicately painted wooden beams of the ceiling. The enormous lampions hanging from the ceiling, with big dragons painted on them. Then, there are tables with fruit and other food for offering. Clusters of praying people in a corner.
Behind the entrance of the Dalongdong Baoan temple, we find an open courtyard, with more tables with offerings. The actual temple is across, and we can already hear singing coming out of the building. We find female singers inside, all dressed in purple, and a solitary woman tinging away on her instrument in a corner. On the backside of the temple, we find murals depicting interesting scenes: a woman ferociously fighting fish-headed persons, a man about to throw a stone at what looks like a notable person. There is another wall with altars, and praying people. There is often a scent of incense in the air wherever we are in the complex. People constantly coming in and out of the temple, often buying something at one of the stalls. Just think that, after a temple was built here in the early 19th century, replacing a shrine, it had several ups and downs, and was in a bad shape when it was repaired in the 1980s. Its revival eventually gave it heritage status, and as we could clearly see, the temple now plays an important role in the life of many Taipeians. When we are outside again, we turn to watch the colourful roof again before we walk across to the Confucius temple.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Dalongdong Baoan temple (Taiwan). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Dalongdong Baoan temple. Read more about this site.