LUOYANG LONGMEN & SHOALIN

There is no sign of history in the downtown area of Luoyang unlike European cities.

Hundreds if not thousands of years of history has been bulldozed to create modern Beijing and you wouldn’t believe any human habitation existed before the building of today’s

Luoyang. It was however a one time capital of China and start of the Silk Route and close by are two World Heritage sites.

At the Longmen Grottoes  there are an estimated 100,000 statues of Buddha carved into the rock and in caves. Some barely an inch tall. It is a very beautiful location along the edge of the Li River with a stunning temple on the other side.

Taxis are very good value in China and we took the taxi for about 4 euro, cheaper than the tour.

The Shaolin Temple is further away and we took the tour organised by the Hotel. We were the only bignoses with four other Chinese. One Chinese lady queried the guide’s credentials as he looked a bit slack. Leaving the city took us past the usual mind boggling amount of construction. The guide turned out to be slack, after about an hour and halfway up a hill we ran out of petrol. Turning us round on the starter motor we freewheeled down the hill to a petrol station. We had to get out and push it the last bit.

The Shaolin temple was first built in 500 AD by a Buddhist monk from India.

The Shaolin martial arts known as Kung Fu was developed and institionalised here, and today we saw many Kung Fu schools with children living here from an early age. They were drilling in the paradeground and practising in the school playgrounds. Martial Arts organisations worldwide fund these schools.

I don’t know if Buddhism has returned, as with the Orthodox Church in Russia,  after its repression during the cultural revolution but many Chinese bought incense and prayed at a number of the shrines.

Took a take-away back to the hotel!

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About mickjennings

Antique mapdealer , Photographer
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