Shaolin Temple, Dengfeng, Henan

Shaolin Temple (少林寺) lies at the bottom of Shaoshi Peak (少室峰), another peak in Mountain Song. It's one of the birth places of Chinese Kung fu, and many young martial art students learn their moves at the Kungfu schools nearby Shaolin Temple. Because the hike I did the day before in Taishi Peak in Mountain Song was pretty tight, and I was running out of time getting down, so I decided to do the hike in Shaoshi Peak at an early start, sadly, the weather was still very foggy, but kind of added some mysterious feelings to the mountains, which our Chinese are always thinking it that way.

Legend goes that the monks in Shaolin Temple do their physical training by going up and down the mountains, carrying 2 wooden buckets chock full of water on a bamboo bar, the cone-shaped bottoms of the wooden buckets make them impossible to sit, so the kungfu masters have to carry them all the way without breaks.

What's after a step? Another step!

Half way to the mountain, a stone temple-like house and a yard came up to my sight.

It was a meditation area for the monks in Shaoshi Peak. At first, one of the monks did not let us take pictures, but they said yes after getting to know us more, and we were only allowed to visit under the condition of not making any noise. Communication could be key to solve problems.

Kept going up, saw a temple for worshiping People, Sky, and Land (left to right)

The hiking trails with iron handrails go around the mountain, this was less physical than hiking up to Taishi Peak.

Mysterious look on the Shaoshi Peak.

A suspended bridge between 2 mountains with a valley down below, it would've been ten times scarier if I could see the bottom.

Came across a monk with a weapon who was practicing his Chinese calligraphy on the ground.

There are 2 different major kinds of monks in Shaolin Temple, one is the Kungfu monks whose job is to practice Kungfu everyday, and the others are normal monks who chant scriptures. On the way down, the monk I met was probably one of the Kungfu monks, his weapon was one of the 18 major weapons in Chinese Kungfu, first time to see something like that, so heavy, so hard to handle, I didn't want to mess with him, but he was very kind that he let me try his weapon out, I could barely hold it, let alone swinging it. A side note: to say someone that has high level Kungfu in Chinese be like: Someone masters 18 different kinds of weapons. (十八般兵器,样样精通)

Young Kungfu learners from the school.

Forest of Towers (塔林), these were built in memory of all the greatest monks that passed away. The higher and the bigger the tower is, the more accomplishment that the monk achieved during his life.

Many Kungfu movies took scenes in Forest of Towers.

Shaolin Temple is near the Forest of Towers at the foot of Shaoshi Peak. It's open for tourists at an admission fee. Nice place, a bit touristic though. And there's Kungfu show place near the temple, unfortunately, I missed it, it's only put on once in a day, by the time I finish visiting the temple, the show was over, I'd have to visit again next time.

Kungfu martial art schools near Shaolin Temple, these kids were quick and fast! Sign up for a couple of Kungfu lessons if you are interested.

#MountainHiking #2014CentralChinaBackpacking #HenanProvince #ShaolinTemple #PlacesofInterest #Hiking #Temples

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