Friday, October 05, 2007

Nankunshen Temple, Beimen, Tainan

The massive gate of the temple.

On Wednesday John from The Real Taiwan and his lovely wife and daughter, Fili from Filination, and myself went up to the gigantic Nankunshen Temple in Beimen township on the northernmost edge of Tainan county. (Fili's tale is on his top blog.)(John on the Real Taiwan)

Because we are bloggers, immediately upon arriving at the temple, we spread out and began photographing. Because it's not about the experience, it's about the blog. Here's John getting an angle on the temple.

A ghost money burner, one of many at the temple.

This area is modern and fronts a vast temple complex that extends back probably at least a kilometer. The old temple, which dates from 1662, is sandwiched between newer structures that arose after completion of a road out here a few years back, which the made the pilgrimage from Tainan much easier.

Here's a pan of the first hall visitors see when they enter the temple.

Being a wednesday, it wasn't crowded, but tour buses arrived pretty regularly disgorging their loads of tourists from all over Taiwan.

Fili hides in the hall of pillars.

A worshipper wants a Honda Civic at a low price, and also expresses hopes for his good health. Such practicality is an important feature of the relationship between Chinese folk religionists and their gods.

As you go back around the initial area, you come an older section of the temple. This is the oldest Royal Lords temple on the island, constructed in 1662 on an island but moved in 1817 to its current location. It was renovated during the Japanese period, and with the addition of new revenues with the completion of the road to it in 1996 after a smaller road was built a decade before, has become a large, popular temple.

At the moment the older areas are undergoing renovation.

Up to the 18th century the area could be used as a port, but the harbor finally silted up, and locals shifted to salt production in the numerous salt pans that dot the area.

This is a very ornate temple in the Southern Celestial style, studded with carvings and color.

Here a worshipper gets an answer to his question by throwing these blocks on the floor.

The incense seller's son was stunned by the presence of picture taking foreigners.

Donors named listed on the wall.

Old woodwork and beautiful wooden doors can still be found deep in the interior of the temple, currently undergoing renovation.

Behind the old temple is another huge temple being rebuilt and expanded.

A pair of visitors contemplate an amusement machine. You throw money in and it makes a gong sound if you hit the center.

The gods are feted with offerings of food and drink.

A man, apparently possessed by one of the deities, stands rigid facing the temple.

Performers take a break.

A pan of the parking lot full of performers.

Another pan, same place, different angle.

Let's hope the gods like pork and snacks.

Self portrait.

A large ghost money burner.

More performers.

A view of part of the group of temples.

The god is taken into his temple, accompanied by a fireworks and a retinue of worshippers.

The temple grounds also featured some enjoyable park space.

Another busload of worshippers.

After visiting the temple we drove through Beimen town, where the town has an old salt worker's house.

Vendors selling seafood along a street in Beimen.

John documents bottled oysters.

John and I both wanted to explore this abandoned factory, but it was just too hot.

We drove down to Mashagou Beach, stopping by the President Yacht factory. Taiwan is one of the world's leaders in yacht construction.

...and after you've memorized all these signs, there will be a test on Friday.

Construction workers stop for a chat.

Fili strides across the beach, which is $100 per person. John talked the guard into letting us in for nothing, since we were only staying for a moment. The Force has a strong influence over weak minds....

A fishing boat far out to sea.

A boat drawn up in the yard in front of President Yachts.

While we stood taking pictures, boats strolled in and out of the tiny harbor.

To ensure quality, this blog has implemented a strict No Cute Kittens policy since its early days. Cute toddlers, however, are always welcome.

John took us by the Spoonbill reserve on the way back to Tainan. Here an egret searches for goodies in a mud flat.

The parking lot for the nature reserve.

Pan of the Spoonbill reserve.

...and then back to Tainan.


cfimages said...

Wow, what a great temple and great photos. I'm going to have to get down there and take a look for myself.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I wonder about the sincerity of temple goers. That wish about Honda Civic is a good example. Has divinity, sacredness, and respect for the supernatural been so worn away that all that is left of religion is something you do, culturally, socially, psychologically, but not religiously? Anyway, only God believers would believe that the believers would believe that "the wooden gods" would come to life, or so I believe.

Tsoyinger,Taiwan 台灣國左營人 said...

The paper-money is not always for the ghost but for the god( popular or civilian religion, as you see at Nankunshen)The differences are the sliver-paper-money is for ghost and the golden-paper-money is for the god( or saint). there are many different burning paper-money according to different district.