Hidden in the back of the fast developing area of Kaohsiung’s Zuoying – where the Taiwan High Speed Rail reaches Kaohsiung and where the newly opened Kaohsiung underground MRT now runs – is a mysterious world of gorgeous temples and pagodas.
Kaohsiung is preparing for the World Games 2009 and so the Lotus pond-lake is now being renovated. When the renovations are over, the lake and the surrounding temples would be a world class attraction, I would expect.
The tour began with me noticing some old city walls by accident while riding down to the Lotus pond. Turns out those walls were with the east gate of the old city of FengShan with an history going back some 400-500 years back to the conquests of Koxinga.
Then on to the northern part of Lotus lake, with the Tiger and Dragon pagodas – a semi-Disneyland attraction of walking into the animals’ mouth and climbing up the pagoda to meet the Buddha up on top overlooking the Zuoying area.
Very close to it, I came across a really neat Chinese-Taiwanese Gods puppet store, where I finally found something I knew I can take home with me to give as souvenirs from the fascinating Taiwanese temple culture. I bought quite a few…
Just down the road, after a quick Vietnamese lunch, was the impressive Emperor of the Dark Heaven God temple with a gigantic statue of this warrior Chinese emperor.
Inside the God were small temples on different floors. Climbing up the emperor’s body I watched Taiwanese praying the God for luck.
And then, as if to contrast all that, was the huge Confucius temple, bigger than the one in Tainan. Overlooking both Taoist and Confucian temples, as if to make sure all is in order, was Chiang Kai-Shek with his hand up in the sky.
Gorgeous area, which would get much better with the new lake in place. Definitely worth a visit.