As mentioned in my previous post (Chinese New Year: Fireworks, Food and Baijiu), during Chinese New Year we took a short trip to our friend’s hometown, Shehong (射洪). Despite being only a 2.5 hour drive from Chengdu (when there’s not the Spring Festival rush “hour”), I’d never actually heard of this city before and I’d definitely not heard of Jinhua Mountain that lies in it!
On our way there we drove past farms and endless countryside. I find the Chinese countryside pretty mesmerising. Living in Chengdu, or in any city for that matter, often makes you forget that just outside the city is a completely different lifestyle – one I associated with China before arriving here. Even though the weather was pretty chilly, families were all gathered outside playing mahjong, children were running around having fun and farmers were checking on the goodies growing in their gardens.
After arriving in Shehong, we took a short drive to Jinhua Mountain (金华山). Like a lot of mountains and temples in China, it’s a pretty popular place for people nearby to visit during Spring festival. This mountain (actually, I would say it was more like a really big hill…) definitely isn’t one of the biggest in China, but the Taoist temples on it were beautiful nonetheless, and it’s always quite interesting to experience a different culture and watch people light their incense and candles to pray.
I’m guilty of accusing many temples and monasteries I’ve seen in China as being very similar, but I enjoy taking the time to see them anyway. They remind me that China isn’t just one big concrete jungle and there are in fact a lot of things to see and do here in this massive country! We also got to see Jinhua along with the company of two dogs which made it all the more exciting for me! I just wish our cats, Lunar and Bella, could’ve tagged along…
We spent the afternoon walking around it, looking at the different temples and statues. There was even a “mini museum” there, with little figures showing all of the different punishments in hell – including skin being peeled off of a live person and eyes being gauged out… pretty standard. They were extreme to say the least! Definitely not something I was expecting to see there.
Of course, as it was still Spring Festival when we visited, people were still letting off firecrackers at any opportunity. Never mind getting your eyes gauged out in hell, if one of those hit you in the eye you’d know about it! I rarely get to watch them actually… I’m usually stood shielding my face in the opposite direction!
I probably wouldn’t recommend going out of your way to find this place. But, if you happen to be wondering around Sichuan looking for somewhere different to visit, then by all means stop by. It made for a very enjoyable afternoon. Watch this video below to check it out: