Get thee to a nunnery

Last Friday, when I finally shook off the remnants of my recent allergy attack, and the sun made a rare cameo appearance, I took off with my camera in search of adventure. First stop: Starbucks for a caffeine fix. Then I visited a couple of my favorite places in Chengdu, the Jinsha and Aidao Nunneries. They’re virtually next-door neighbors, just a cross a busy thoroughfare from each other, yet while Aidao is grand anD imposing, Jinsha is almost hidden. Its entrance is in the midst of a row of ancient shop-fronts, a single story high, and it doesn’t get many tourists. It’s a small, quiet oasis in the midst of the bustling city (at least that’s what the explanatory sign says, but it happens to be true), and I love to come here sometimes to just enjoy the peace and quiet.

On this visit to Jinsha, I took some interior shots, which I wasn’t sure would amount to anything, since my camera’s light meter is broken. To add to my frustration, I really, REALLY don’t like the scans of the photo negatives made by the commercial lab. Oh, how I wish I had a professional-quality negative/slide scanner – the things I could do. I perched on a wooden bench and watched volunteers making the interior spotless – one man was inside the glass case housing one of the buddhas or various bodhisattvas, cleaning the glass; others had just washed the covers of the kneeling cushions for the prayer hall and were replacing them. No one paid me any attention, which was fine with me. From the courtyard I could see and hear the new concrete towers rising nearby; it’s nice that a few places like this will survive.

Aidao is slightly more commercial, situated right next to the touristy shopping area surrounding Wenshu Monastery. Still, it has an atmosphere that I enjoy, and it’s nice to touch base once in a while.

Jinsha Nunnery – Street view
Jinsha Nunnery – Exterior detail
Jinsha Nunnery – Guardian statue beside the entrance
Jinsha Nunnery – A view through the roof of the interior courtyard
Jinsha Nunnery – Bell and door, main hall
guardian statue, bicycle

Aidao Nunnery – Main facade
Aidao Nunnery – Entrance seen from the courtyard

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