In this photo is Mayor Zhang on the left facing me, with a village leader and other township officials in the doorway of the main hall. Note the notices posted everywhere and the skerret (a popular local tuber) drying on the terrace. When I first visited the temple, this area was occupied by old men from Dian Tou Village, smoking and playing cards. This East facing main room gets good light most of the day and is the favorite place for local people to hang out. We wanted to keep them coming to the temple for activities but needed to balance this with accommodating outside visitors. Mayor Zhang proposed an old people’s park set aside for them to play cards, while encouraging some to be caretakers.
The next step of government negotiations was talking with the Heritage Bureau for Jianchuan County. As Ci Yin An temple is over 300 years old, and a unique architectural site, the Heritage Bureau needs to see a detailed proposal of how we intend to repair the temple, and what what kinds of changes we intend to make to accommodate more visitors. Everything from plumbing, to wiring to roof tiles must be approved by the Heritage Bureau.