We were greeted by a building of ancient architectural design as well as the Longhua Pagoda (龙华塔):
The Longhua Pagoda was beautifully lit and beckoned us:
A stone’s throw from the pagoda was a stage that was surrounded by throngs of visitors:
A heavily-guarded perimeter had been set-up around the temple:
Possibly because of the great multitudes of people who may visit?
It’s interesting how Picasa made this gif:
IF only it was snowing, it’ll be absolutely beautiful! 😉
The ticketing booth was also swamped with people!
It would cost RMB 200 (SGD 41.80) to enter the temple and another RMB 318 (SGD 66.55) to sound the bell (only 108 people get to sound the bell though).
Even before we got to the ticketing booth, we were approached repeatedly by peddlers who were trying to sell us tickets; we were puzzled at first but now understood why – the peddlers were selling entrance tickets at half the price!
We were skeptical about purchasing the tickets from them as we had seen signages warning against such purchases; also, we had witnessed a couple of people rejected entry at the entrance as their tickets were invalid for entry and then discovering they would not recognized the peddler.
Not wanting to pay so much to enter the temple (we can always return another day!), we decided to walk around and explore the premises around the temple.
We passed by the stage and saw that not only had the multitude of crowd grown but also that there was a dragon/lion dance performance going on:
Feels more like Lunar New Year! 😛
A photo with the beautifully-lit Longhua Pagoda:
Of course the pagoda wasn’t exactly lit like above:
Buildings of ancient China?
That long red wall is for visitors to pen their wishes for the new year:
There was also a street bazaar:
There was also some sort of parade/procession going on:
People were following those mascots and also trying to touch them!
Perhaps for good luck?
It was only when the group made a detour did we notice a snake and horse mascot:
We believe they were meant to signify the ending of the Year of the Snake and the arrival of the Year of the Horse; shouldn’t that be for the Lunar New Year??
We then made our way back to the temple, which was starting to get crowded:
En route, we couldn’t help but be charmed by the pagoda again…
We decided to check out the other perimeter of the temple and realized we could get a better view of the temple! 😉
Even before midnight, the striking of the bell started:
It’s going to take awhile for 108 people to sound it, so of course it’s best to start it early?
We overheard someone mention that the first person paid RMB 1000 (SGD 209.20) to be first… Hmmm…
Our last photo for 2013:
At the strike of midnight, many worshippers could be seen praying even though they weren’t in the temple:
Our first photo for 2014!
It’s not the usual New Year’s Eve Countdown – a bit disappointed we didn’t get to see any burst (at all) of fireworks nor firecrackers, but it was a new experience for us!
Especially because it’s not often that we get to be out of Singapore for New Year’s Eve, all the more not often that we get to welcome the new year Chinese Style…
Despite the lack of firecrackers or fireworks, we’re glad we went to Longhua Temple (龙华寺) / Longhua Pagoda (龙华塔)! 😉