Thursday, August 13, 2009

Changhua's stately Confucius Temple (China Post)

Despite its size - in terms of population it's one of Taiwan's ten largest cities - and economic importance, Changhua isn't a leading tourist destinations. It does, however, have enough attractions to make a day trip from Taichung or further afield thoroughly worthwhile.

The Great Buddha statue that stands atop Mount Bagua is deservedly popular. The views from the top of this hillock are often superb. On a clear day it's possible to see the wind turbines that dot the coast of Changhua County. If you're walking to Mount Bagua from the railway station (a stroll that takes little more than half an hour), you may as well take in some of the downtown's temples. One of the oldest and best known, the Taoist Yuanqing Hall, is currently being renovated after a devastating fire in the spring of 2006. It isn't scheduled to reopen to the public until March 2010, but you can see the main Jade Emperor icon in a temporary building next door.

Fortunately, Changhua's most famous shrine is still open to visitors. The city's Confucius Temple is one of Taiwan's three most important Confucian shrines – the others are those in Tainan and Taipei.

The temple is open from 8 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. every day except national holidays. Visitors should enter through a side gate on Minsheng Road, between Kongmen Road and Chenling Road, as the main gate on Kongmen Road is opened only on September 28, the birthday of the Great Sage.

This article appeared on Monday, but because I've been focused on Typhoon Morakot and its aftermath, I've only just got around to posting.

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