Buddha with Swastika.
Shown here, one of the important Buddha statues at Lingyin Si, bearing a bright gold swastika on his chest... Notice carefully that this is the right-handed swastika, the most ancient form of the symbol, which has been used extensively in Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism for millenia. Don't confuse this with the left-handed swastika that was more recently adopted by the Nazis...
The Feilai Feng (Peak That Flew From Afar)
The Feilai Feng or Peak That Flew From Afar in Chinese, was my favourite attraction in the Hangzhou region. This is surprising in that it has nothing really to do with famous West Lake that draws in so many tourists to the city. The Feilai Feng is a collection of cave carving dating to a period of some 600 years ago. They are not quite so famous as the other grottos that I visited in China like the Yungang and the Luoyang caves, but they are very well preserved. There are some 380 Buddhist carvings here and they do not seem to suffer the ravages of treasure hunters that so damaged the other cave carvings in China.
I would come here expecting to find something equal to the Yungang Caves for they are definitely smaller and simplier but they are interesting just the same. The most famous of the carvings is also one of the oldest, that of the Laughing Buddha. It is over a thousand years old and is consider a very fine example of Chinese cave art.
A tip of touring the caves. I visited on my own with good walking shoes. During the time I spent there, I noticed a tour group of Americans about my own age who were attempting to walk around the caves in all kinds of shoes. The ground and rock here is very slippery. Do not wear stilletos like one woman I saw stumbling about. Finally when I tell you what a fool you are for doing this (like I did to the one lady) take it to heart and do not be offended.
Hangzhou Botanical Garden
Covering an area of about 230 hectares (approx. 568 acres), the Hangzhou Botanical Garden can be found at the foot of Jade Spring Hill in the northwest end of West Lake. It was originally built in 1956, and is not only a park in which to feast your eyes on beautiful plants, but also a research base where fields such as the cultivation of plants and protection of environment are studied. Some 3,500 species of plants can be found here in 14 specialised gardens, of which the Bamboo Garden is probably the most unusual.