The most striking thing about Xiahai, in my opinion, is the preponderance of gold: buildings, monks' robes and fish. The color is warm and inviting, which is just how I would describe the temple and the grounds.
When we visited in May, the only people on the grounds were employees, monks and local people coming to light incense and pray. When there are no other tourists, one's presence is felt, which is generally positive or neutral. The people are often enchanted by those different from themselves. They like to share their place of worship. On our recent visit, one of the men praying overheard our local guide telling us about the temple and the Buddhist religion. The man stopped her and told her to make sure to tell us about how the mayor of Shanghai saved some of the Xiahai statues from certain destruction during the Cultural Revolution, an act that surely would have been punishable if discovered.
My goal when I travel is to find hidden gems like Xiahai. Join me on an adventure, off the beaten path.