Jade! Burma! Buddha!
01 July 2012
The Yufo temple (about 15 minutes walk from M50) was built in 1882 to house two enormous jade Buddhas brought from Burma. This is the head of the Reclining Buddha, about to reach nirvana. The whole statue is well over 2m long, and was carved from one piece of milky white jade. It is decorated with precious stones and has its own building.
Yufo is a lovely temple complex, with some half a dozen buildings. In amongst the multiple gilded Buddhas there are lots of representations of martial bodhiattvas, fighting monks and other warlike types. As Pip dryly observed: achieve enlightenment so you can kill people more efficiently. (The complex also houses several shops, but they're unobtrusive.)
Several worshippers mingle with the curious trippers, including a surprising proportion of young Chinese. Buddhism is obviously thriving in brash, brand-driven Shanghai! Note that (contrary to the guidebooks) it is RMB20 to get in, plus another RMB to see the giant Sitting Buddha (where photographs are not allowed.) Also we couldn't find the café.
It was a bit of a route march to our intended destination on Nanjing Xi Lu along mostly residential streets with a few small shops in places. (Next time we would get a cab.) Once there, we had a pleasant meal in Fresh Elements at the Shanghai Centre. Plaza 66, which we looked around, was definitely too rich for us: caviar is not an essential part of our Shanghai experience. Noodles and a sandwich were less adventurous but welcome. The Fresh Elements chain is everywhere in central Shanghai and reasonably priced for a good food.
A final walk brought us back across the People's Park to our hotel, where we rested our weary feet and had an evening in!