Hanshan Temple was built during the Liang Dynasty (502-557), originally called Miaolita Yuan it was renamed during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) as Hanshan Temple, after a monk who was the Temple's care taker.
The temple covers an area of 45 hectares, including the bell tower. The bell tower is an important component of the temple and was mentioned in a famous poem by Zhang Ji. Visitors may strike the bell for 5RMB.
Ruiguang means "auspicious light". It is said that this ancient pagoda was built by Sun Quan, the ruler of the Wu Kingdom. He had built this pagoda as a tribute to his mother, and to symbolize his filial piety to her.
Suzhou - the Venice in the East
Suzhou vs. Hangzhou
Photos and more details will be added on. [Wed, 2002-Mar-07]
Suzhou's famous classical Chinese gardens are on UNESCO World Heritage list see website for details:http://whc.unesco.org/sites/813bis.htm
In ancient times, Suzhou, together with Hangzhou, were called the 'Heaven on Earth'. One can imagine the quality of life and atmosphere/landscape in these two towns, comparing with other places in China, especially Shanghai was nowhere yet then!
Suzhou is a mid-size city east of Shanghai. The historic area of Suzhou (now its municipality spreads to the nearby countryside) was rather compact. It is famous for its small and fine traditional classical Chinese private GARDENs, yet with different styles from those royal gardens in the Forbidden City or other royal residence in Beijing. Suzhou is sometimes also referred as 'Venice in the East' for its WATERTOWN scene and life (title photo) laced with little rivers and bridges of all shapes and styles, more than 1,000 of them!
Hangzhou and Suzhou are similar in but DIFFERENT. Hangzhou is much larger than Suzhou, built along the Xi1 Hu2 (Lake West), a very pleasant place to live. The best time to visit there is from Spring to Fall. However, the most beautiful time is when the hundreds of (if not thousands of) acres of lotus flowers blooming in the summer. The fragrance is heavenly.
Both Hangzhou and Suzhou are famous of their SILK products. One can also visit the Suzhou Silk Institute if interested.
The FOOD in that area, Shanghai/Hangzhou/Suzhou, are generally speaking not as spicy as Sichuan or Hunan food. Suzhou cuisine tends to be sweeter than others. If you like the snacks in that area (who said Chinese do not have great-tasty yet healthy!-fast food?), you can simply indulge yourself with those delicious snacks as you wander around.
Just how different between Hangzhou and Suzhou? This might not be the best analogy but to some people: Hangzhou is a da4 jia1 gui1 xiu4 (elegant), Suzhou, xiao3 jia1 bi4 yu4 (cute).
Did I mention that both Hangzhou and Suzhou were traditionally considered the very place 'producing' more classical Chinese beauties than anywhere else? And these beauties are definitely NOT the type as those you usually see from western movies – those are NOT considered beauties in Chinese eyes!