Fengdu, the Ghost City.

It is day four of our Yangtze River cruise and we had left the three Gorges behind. The main event for today is a visit to Fengdu. It is a large complex of shrines and temples situated on the Ming Mountain on the north bank of the Yangtze. It is dedicated to the afterlife hence the term Ghost City.

039 Entrance gate

                            The entrance gate                                                      The Ghost City

Fengdu got its name Ghost City in the Eastern Han Dynasty when two officials from the Imperial Court came to the Ming Mountain to practice Taoist teachings. They were called Yin Changsheng and Wang Fangping and they became immortals. Combining their surnames produces the term “Yinwang” which means “ King of Hell”. During the Tang Dynasty a temple was built on the Ming mountain depicting life in hell and displays images of demons and torture devices. It reflects the belief that good people will be treated well in the afterlife and bad people will be punished and sent to hell.

057 Ceremonial Lion

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According to Chinese beliefs, the dead must pass three tests before passing to the next life. First they must pass the ‘Bridge of Helplessness’. This bridge is a test for Good and Evil and was built during the Ming Dynasty.The middle of the three arches is used for testing people. The good are allowed to pass whilst the evil will be pushed into the waters below. Some of our group looked decidedly worried when crossing this bridge.

The dead must then present themselves for judgement before Yama, King of hell. There are large sculptures of the judges.

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                                               The Judges  of Hell.

The third test is done at the entrance to the Tianzi Palace where the dead must stand on one leg perched on a stone for three minutes. A virtuous, or maybe sober person will be able to do it whilst an evil person will fail.

Throughout the site there are marvellous statues of gods and demons.

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One section of the temple depicts life in hell and shows various torture devices such as the one below where a woman is being thrown into a boiling cauldron.

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Outside there are statues of the ghosts.

088085083 Wreath eating ghost

The figure on the right is the “wreath eating ghost” According to legend this ghost was a girl who adorned herself with flower leaves stolen from statues of the Buddha. As punishment, after she died she was not allowed to feast on food offerings from the living but could only eat flower wreaths.

093112 Home viewing pavilion094

One of the more recent additions is the Home Viewing Pavilion, also known as the Last Glance to Home Tower where the dead could pause and have one last look towards their home and families.

It was a fascinating visit with some marvellous statues and architecture. It is very symbolic and there is no escaping the message that “Good will be rewarded with good, and evil will be punished.

 

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Since my visit the Dam Project has been completed and the water levels of the river have risen considerably. The “Ghost City” on Ming Mountain remains intact but the city of Fengdu had been rebuilt on the opposite bank of the river.

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About crosbyman66

My aim is to create a photo diary of my walks and my travels. I have two main hobbies, walking and photography and these complement each other. I am a senior citizen, what used to be called an old age pensioner, but I don't feel old. Since retirement I have had more time to pursue my hobbies and the opportunity to travel more. My philosophy now is - Do what you can, while you can. My other interests are fine wines and keeping fit. These may not complement each other but keep me happy.
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