The hike at Yajishan is fun by itself, with a long stair climb up to the temples followed by a scenic walk through the hills behind the temple.
The annual temple fair makes it even more lively, as people from the surrounding countryside squeeze in to check out the action.
We did the hiking part of the day first, walking through the stalls in the middle of the town and then climbing up to the temples on the peak of Yaji Mountain.
Behind the temples is a trail that passes through forest and across the sides of the mountains. We hiked around that way, and then walked back to the town for lunch, completing a loop around the temples.
After lunch, we took a walk through the town streets to check out the temple fair action.
The beginning of the stairs.
An ornamental arch at the top of a steep set of stairs.
In the other direction, the temples on top of the mountain.
Burning incense and offering prayers.
The big incense burner.
At this hall in the temple you could get a free breakfast – a steamed bun and a bowl of cornmeal porridge.
Another incense burner.
The flames got a bit out of control and were doused.
In another of the halls was a diorama depicting the various punishments handed out to bad Taoists. Slicing.
Crucifixion and hammering.
Thrown on to spikes.
All overseen by Torture Cow.
We escaped the punishments and continued the climb to the top.
Some of the attractions on the way up.
Looking back down.
A stele below the temples at the top.
We’d made it all the way to the top, nearly!
The temple is built right on the peak.
Views down to the village where we began the hike.
The other side of the temple has a wooden pagoda.
There was a long line here to go inside and pray to the Goddess of the Green Ray.
We headed back down.
Another of the stelae.
We started out on the hike around the back.
A different angle on the temples.
The stairs come all the way up the slope in front of the temple.
We followed this path towards Yellow Flower Ridge.
All nice and green.
The path continued.
The temples come into view again.
Great views from Yellow Flower Ridge.
Our local guide Mr Yuan led the way.
We all followed.
We hiked out through chestnut orchards.
Below the chestnut orchards was the path that would take us around the mountain and back to the village.
Yet another angle on the temples.
The stalls were set up for the fair.
When we came back it was lunch time and not quite as busy.
Here’s our lunch.
After lunch we went out for a look at the fair.
Another spot to burn incense.