On one of the mornings, I borught the girlfriend's Buddhist parents to Taipei's most well-known Chinese temple, 龙山寺.
According to some history I read, 万华 district is one of the earliest settlement area that Taipei developed from, which eventually lead to the concentration of Taiwan's first night market.
With the settlement comes the need of praying by the folks. The temple itself has a rather rich history as well, undergoing multiple renovations over the years, and is now in a pretty well maintained state with its own impressive mini-waterfall near the entrance.
I am always amazed by the amount of details put into the construction of these temples. All the religious figures that are so skillfully carved onto the rooftops, and that dragon and phoenix seem to be racing to the sky eh?
The temple had a good number of visitors despite being a drizzling weekday morning, most bringing their own offerings for the gods. As a free-thinker myself, I am honestly clueless with all the procedures and I wasn't sure if it was appropriate to take photos within, so I checked with the in-charge before snapping away.
One interesting thing I noted was that although there is a main goddess (观音), there are plenty of back chambers hosting other gods, each erm, specialising in a certain field; health, academic etc. And guess which of these gods is a hot favourite?
Walking around for a good half hour, I really liked the mix of bustling and tranquility of this place, the systematic knocks of wooden equipments and soft whispers of prayers, and how everyone came with their own agenda and acknowledged each other with simple nods and smiles. Perhaps a little faith does bring you a long way?
Next up, exploring the oldest night market in Taiwan, 华西街夜市!
Directions: Take the MRT Blue line to 龙山寺 station, make a U-turn from Exit 1 and walk across the small park. It will be right opposite the road from the park. For more information on the temple, do visit their website.