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  • West Lake


    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, namely the
       
    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 Hill, 
    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 land.

    Possessing such a fairyland in this city, no wonder Hangzhou enjoys the fame "There is a paradise in heaven and Suzhou and Hangzhou on earth."
       

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  • Lingyin Temple    

    The 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, this
       
    temple, 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 

    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.
       
       




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  •  Six Harmonies Pagoda

    Six 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".
       

    The pagoda 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. 





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