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Tiny Temples – Taipei, Taiwan

Tiny Temples
Taipei, Taiwan

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One of the easier to find temples
One of the easier to find temples
ust outside Taipei there are several “mini-mountains”. Hidden in these hills are several ancient and not-so-old temples. Some are huge, new, colorful monstrosities, but some of the old ones hidden away in the hills are slowly being reclaimed by the forest.

We went in search of an old temple we had heard about. After hiking for a while we ask directions of a 30-year-old guy, he directs us to the “only temple” on the mountain – the big huge one you can see from the street below the mountain. After that we asked an old grandfather who put us on a tiny little trail headed directly up the mountain. After climbing up the mountain – literally up, climbing ropes would have been nice – we meet the old temple/trail monk caretaker. We barely made it up the trail, how does a little tiny old monk do it? We continue around the mountain, every few turns there are huge, life-sized statues, some are really spooky, one looks like he is looking right at you as you descend a tiny decrepit stone stair ledge, where if you fell, you could impale yourself on his sword. This trail breaks off into even smaller, little trails. Slowly we start finding some of the old temples that are hidden in the brush.

View from a ledge on the way up
View from a ledge on the way up
You feel like Indiana Jones as you enter cobweb-covered doorways and lizards scurry away out of view. Some of the bigger temples even have rooms that you can explore. The amazing thing is that many were build directly into the mountain, if you head to the back of a temple eventually you come to a room that is actually a cave, or you realize that there is no ceiling, just the inside of the mountain. But from the front of some of the temples you can see the huge 101 tower, the tallest building in Taipei, and the shopping mall area directly below it. All this just outside of central Taipei, with fantastic views of the city.

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