Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Eternal Spring Shrine, Taroko National Park, Taiwan

It was a very rainy day when Pipkin and Domo visited the Eternal Spring Shrine at Taroko National Park. A rainy day isn't the best day to visit, since getting to the shrine involves walking through tunnels cut in the mountain, and much of the way is steep, slippery, and dark. Even without the rain, there is always the danger of rockfalls.

Given the steep terrain and the constant threat of rockfalls, one wonders who in their right mind would build a temple here. Sure, it's beautiful, but it doesn't seem all that safe. In fact, this place has had to be rebuilt twice because of damage caused by landslides. Third time's the charm? Oh, and speaking of things that come in three, let's run down a few of the dangers of building here, from the top down. First, the aforementioned rockslides from above.

Second, the rock at Eternal Spring Shrine is made up of green schist, thin marble and quartz schist strata. It is fragile enough to begin with, and all the more unstable because a fault line runs through it.

Finally, the Liwu River at the base of the shrine is continually eroding the slope. Eternal Spring Shrine, you say? Mmm hmmmm...

So who's ready to walk to the shrine?

There's ample warning along the way. If you don't happen to read Chinese or English, hopefully the drawing isn't too abstract to understand.

As you walk through tunnels blasted into the fault lined fragile rock, you come across this memorial which commemorates the 212 construction workers who died while building the Central Cross Island Highway near the shrine.

Eventually you emerge from the darkness and you can walk through the temples. Domo took a photo of Pipkin at the falls. Who knows how long this will be here?

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