Day 1. Tianning Temple. (Isn't the detail at the top of the temple just gorgeous?)
(We flew into Shanghai Sunday night and had the hotel pick us up and drive us the three hours to Traders Fudu in Changzhou. The hotel is the taller building on the right that says 'Traders' way up high.)
Since we had traveled nearly 24 hours to arrive, the first day basically involved dinner and sleeping. But Monday we were up and out the door to Tianning Temple. This was a beautiful Buddhist pagoda. There were gardens and sculptures galore. A myriad of details, too many photos to share everything.
The detail at the bottom of the temple was incredible too, all that carved white rock, it surrounded the whole temple.
Here was a particularly vibrant character inside one of the building on the grounds of the temple. What you cannot see is a pad for kneeling that was in front of each Buddha where you could pray and a box where you could put money. There must have been a hundred of these praying stations throughout the temple area.
The gardens also contained all sorts of praying stations like the area below. There was incense burning, although it is hard to see in the photo.
We think it was also some sort of monestary where monks lived at one time, however there were no guide books available, the signs were all in Chinese, and no one spoke English to talk to us about what we were seeing.
Here is one view of Changzhou from near the top. Changzhou is a city of approximately 4 million people.
We had walked around the grounds for maybe 45 minutes, and then my husband noticed someone inside the pagoda. We had not seen a way in. So we went and looked harder and sure enough, despite some construction we could go in. However, after some hand waving and furious pointing by the security guard we figured out we needed to purchase a second ticket to go inside. Once inside there were Buddhas all over, essentially the rooms, all 15 or 16 floors, were in a ring with quadrants of displays. (There were a few middle floors that were still under construction that we couldn't see.) The security guard's helpful gesturing again helped us understand we were proceed in a clockwise fashion. (Despite 4 million people, one of the amazing parts of the whole trip was the distinctive lack of people anywhere outside. Inside the pagoda there was no one we could just watch to determine proper behavior.)
This was my favorite floor, the room with the crystal Buddhas. The lights in the ceiling changed color so the room changed from red to blue to green to white back to red.
Here are a few more of the neat details that we saw.