Described by the fantastic travel website Taiwanese Secrets as Caotun’s Creepy Taoist Temple, Tzude Temple [慈德宮] rests on a high perch overlooking Caotun Township. Occasionally, I’ll ride up the steep hill to this spot for exercise before work or during lunch break. This particular time, I took my recently acquired Nikon FM2 loaded with ISO100 film and gave the area a closer look.
While walking around the grounds, I had the opportunity to talk to one of the temple’s caretakers. She told me this temple’s design was unique in Taiwan. When I inquired why this special design was chosen, she told me that a god told them to make it this way.
The front of the temple looks like a giant bamboo hat placed on four pillars. The exterior of the temple is bright red and liberally decorated with dragons and phoenixes. Behind the temple is a sacred banyan tree said to be over 300 years old.
From the temple, visitors can see Caotun, Jhongsing Village, and Baguashan. I didn’t take a picture of the view on account of it being a hazy day, but I’ve taken a couple of panoramas before from different locations along the same ridge.
This temple won’t win any records for being the oldest or the most visited, but it is certainly unique stop for anyone who finds themselves with some spare time in Caotun or Nantou City. Want to visit? Check out the map.