Location: Hanging Monastery, Buddhist Caves
The anticipation leading up to this day was nothing short of immense. Our day trip scheduled to Daotong was one that evoked excitement from everyone in the group. Luckily for us, the day most definitely lived up to our high expectations. Our first stop, the Hanging Monastery, was without a doubt one of the more unconventional tourist attractions we’ve visited, but a beautiful one nonetheless. Adorned with intricate sculptures and supported by wooden poles, the Hanging Monastery was a beautiful sight buried deep in the heart of a rocky canyon. As we wandered through the tight-quartered wooden structure, people could be seen worshiping the shrines to the Buddhas hidden in small, ornate rooms throughout the monastery. The entire attraction evoked a feeling of not only mystery and wonder but one of appreciation for the monks who used to carry out their lives in the monastery. Every step we took felt sacred, and with every new discovery, there was another added degree of appreciation for how remarkable the place truly was. Following visiting the Hanging Monastery, our next stop was to the Buddhist Caves. Strolling through the complex that surrounded the caves, we soaked in the reconstructed wonders and gasped at the larger than life statues that inhabited the different temples. When we finally reached the main attraction, we were delightfully surprised by the interesting mix of influence from Europe incorporated into the caves. Personally, I found the Greek and Roman influence to be most obscure, yet intriguing, aspect of the caves. After our touring had concluded for the day, it was off to dinner and eventually the train station. Another tiresome journey was ahead, but we couldn’t help but be at least a little excited for the overnight train ride that we’ve all grown to love. It was a peaceful ending to a day of discovery.