Friday, May 20, 2005

Yeren Miao [Wild Man Temple], near Jiulong in Sichuan

Yeren Miao [Wild Man Temple, 野人庙] near Jiulong in Sichuan
About an hour's drive and a 40 minute walk up a bumpy farm track southeast of town, this small temple is built in a cave, half way up a cliff. Local legend has it that the local people knew of the cave and its spring of "holy water" many hundreds of years ago, and visited it to pray for a good harvest. Then one day some primitive statues and simple structures appeared overnight. No one knew who did it, and it was attributed to the "Wild Man" or Yeren - the Chinese term for yeti. Another version I've heard is that the term wild man" was used to describe an unkempt hermit who lived in the cave, meditating for many years and whose personal hygiene and apparel - and perhaps his attitude - were somewhat, well, wild. You can now see the yeti's big footprints and hand [paw?] prints, enshrined in the small temple, reached by a short but steep walk up the cliff path. There is a fancy new temple being built at the foot of the cliff - go past it and look for the track branching off to the left, over a stone bridge.

If you want to make your own way to the temple, take the left fork from the main street just after the public toilets. You can't miss the smell!

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