||Legend has it that West Lake
was originally a jewel fallen from heaven. Actually it is a lagoon
formed as a result of natural changes and human efforts. Ten thousand
years ago, the lake was much larger than its present surface of
5.6 square kilometers. Later, as silt accumulated and weeds overgrew,
the lake shrank in size. The present West Lake consists of 5 sections,
||Outer Lake, North
Inner Lake, Yuehu Lake, West Inner Lake and Lesser South Lake.
Lying on the west edge of Hangzhou city, West Lake is the symbol
of Hangzhou as well as one of the most beautiful sights in China.
Early in the Song dynasty, the famous poet Su Shi compared the
lake to Xizi, a Chinese Cleopatra: "Ripping water shimmering on
sunny day; Misty
||mountains wonder in the rain;
Plain or gaily decked out like Xizi; the West Lake is always alluring".
So the Lake is also known as Xizi Lake. With an area of 6 sqkm
and a circumference of 15km (9 miles), West Lake, surround in
three sides by rolling wooded hills, has captivated countless
visitors for centuries
||The beauty of the
West Lake lies in a lingering charm that survives the change of
seasons in a year, of hours in a day, and of different weathers.
In order to display the best beautiful aspect of West Lake, 10
sights were named by people as the most beautiful, which include
Melting Snow at Broken Bridge, Spring Dawn at Sudi Causeway, Sunset
Glow over Leifeng Hill, Lotus in the Breeze at Crooked Courtyard,
Autumn Moon on Calm Lake, Listening to Orioles Singing in the
Willows, Viewing Fish at Flowers Harbour, Evening Bell at Nanping
Three Pools Mirroring the Moon, Twin Peaks Piercing the Clouds.
Among these sights, Spring Dawn at Sudi Causeway tops the list.
Built with silt in 1089 when Su Dongpo supervised the dredging
of the lake, Su Causeway extends 2.8 kilometers with grass and
peach and willow trees planted along its entire length. The bell
rings at dawn as the moon is sinking in the west, weeping willows
along the embankment sway in the morning haze, the lake blends
in perfect harmony with the surrounding landscape like a roll
of ink-and-water painting.
Viewing Fish at Flowers Harbour is to the west of the 5th and
6th bridges on the Su Causeway. Buildings erected in Song times
surround a pond in which golden carp are raised. Here visitors
can watch fish swimming in the water and flowers in blossom on
Possessing such a fairyland in this city, no wonder Hangzhou enjoys
the fame "There is a paradise in heaven and Suzhou and Hangzhou
Situated at the food of Lingyin Mountain, aside from the West
Lake, Lingyin Temple(Temple of Inspired Seclusion) is one of the
ten most famous ancient Buddhist temples in China.
First built by an Indian monk Huili in 326AD during the Eastern
Jin dynasty (317 - 420 AD), the temple was named Lingyin Temple
(Temple of Inspired Seclusion) for its environment is very beautiful
and serene and suitable for "gods rest in seclusion". In its prime,
containing over 1300 rooms and 3000 monks, used to be a large
monastery with a scale you just imagine. Due to war and calamity,
the temple has experienced about 1700 years of repeated circles
of prosperity and decline until its last restoration in the Qing
dynasty (1644 - 1911).
On the compound's central axle stand Hall of Heavenly Kings, Daxiongbaodian
Hall (Precious Hall of the Great Hero), Pharmaceutical Master
Hall and Great Mercy Hall.
Hall of Heavenly Kings
It is the first hall after entering the temple. A tablet inscribed
with "cloud forest Buddhist temple", penned by Emperor Kangxi,
who was inspired on one occasion by the sight of the temple in
the mist and trees, was hung above the door, producing a sacred
atmosphere here. More noticeable is a couplet hung on the door
reading: Let us wait sitting on the threshold of the temple, for
another peak may fly from afar. Smiles appear welcoming, for the
brook is gradually warming up to the springtime. When tourists
admire the couplet, they can't help but grin.
Inside the hall is a statue of laughing Buddha who can "endure
everything unendurable in the world and laugh at every laughable
person in the world." Four heavenly kings stand on both sides
of the Buddha and Weituo behind.
Daxiongbaodian Hall is the main hall of Lingyin Temple. It is
7 rooms wide and 5 rooms deep, with one story, double layer eaves
and pinnacle roof 33.6 meters in height, famed as one of China's
tallest one-story buildings. A statue of Sakyamuni, carved out
of 24 pieces of camphor wood, stands 24.8 meters high in the hall.
On the both sides of Sakyamuni stand 20 saints protecting justice
and on the back wall sit his 12 disciples serving as guards. In
front of the hall are two stone pagodas built during the Northern
Song dynasties (960 - 1279) with 9 stories and 8 surfaces and
sculptured Buddhist stories on four walls.
Scattered outside and inside the temple are numerous relics left
from ancient times, in which Pavilion of Cool Brook erected in
the mid Tang dynasty, stone pagoda and stone storage for Buddhist
scriptures built in the Five dynasties, Pavilion of Greens first
built in the Southern Song dynasty, the pagoda of Huili erected
in the Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644) are especially worthy of viewing.
The temple also houses various Buddhist literature and treasures
including the scriptures written on pattra leaves, the Diamond
Sutra copied by Dong Qichang in the Ming dynasty, a wood cut edition
published in the Qing dynasty.
Harmonies Pagoda, highly erected by the Qiantang River and to
the south of the West Lake, is a perfect symbol of brick-and-wood
structure built in the ancient China. It is first built in 970
AD in the Northern Song dynasty (960-1127), in a way to press
down the evil of the river tidal bore in Qiantang River. The name
"six harmonies" comes from the six Buddhist ordinances, meaning
"harmonies of the heaven, earth, east, west, south and north".
has fallen into ruins and gone through reconstruction many times.
The original pagoda is nine storyed with a light on the tip, serving
as a navigation tower in the river. The present tower was the restoration
in 1156. Seen from outside, the tower, with a height of 59.89 meters,
have 13 stories while in fact only seven stories inside. The core
of the present pagoda was built with the bricks left over from the
Southern Song dynasty. The upturned wooden multi-eaves and wrapping
structure were first built in the ending years of the Qing dynasty
and have been refurbished many times.
Commanding a spectacular view of the surging Qiantang River, the pagoda
presents a quiet image of age-old majesty. Looking out from the top
of the pagoda, sightseers can see as far as the misty horizon, enjoying
an unforgettable, breathtaking experience.
The Six Harmonies Pagoda has been under the state protection since
1961 as a state-level cultural site.