December 13th, 2008 – by: shirleysim
Today we went to the Wenshu Monastery, one of the oldest remaining original Zen monasteries in China. There are many shops selling souvenirs, teahouses and street stalls selling all kinds of stuffs in this ancient street called Wenshu Fang 文殊坊. We wandered for awhile before going into the temple, for only 10rmb- paid to a monk sat in a booth by the front door. I have read much good comment about the monk’s vegetarian restaurant, and it was ashamed that I did not try it, maybe next time. The building inside Wenshu does not look that old to me, there were numerous temples, prayer rooms and educational facilities, a city within a city, with monk’s quarters forming a private square inside the monastic compound, with a sense of peace and tranquility standing on the grounds. It was built during the Tang dynasty, most of the original buildings have been burnt down or destroyed over the years, but those built in their place are made in the traditional style. The highlight for us was the tea garden where we spent time drinking bottomless cup of tea for 5rmb with the locals.
Jinli is a recreation of an old market street with red lanterns hanging along the street. There are pubs and cafes on Jinli, so is a blend of modernism and tradition. Walking to the end of the streets, turning to the left is a stretch of sidewalk booths selling kinds of Southern cuisine snack food. The Dan Dan Noodles there is nice.