Being in a package has a few advantages but many inconveniences!
I loved the visit of Summer Palace, but the couple of hours that we had were not enough. I'm not the kind of tourist that needs to know in place the detailed history of each piece and figure, or to have a picture of everything in all angles, but, being in place and skipping lots of interesting points is disgusting.
I saw this tower from distance and wished to go there, but... no time. In my trip, it only played the role of a nice image composing the scene. A pity.
Reading about it I found that behind it there was the "Sea of Wisdom" with about 1000 Buddhist sculptures. Damn! Couldn't we have just one more hour?
These are some of the views from the top of the Tower of Buddhist Incense from Longevity Hill. The views looking over the Kunming Lake are spectacular and, on a clear day, you can see the far end of the lake.
Originally built during the reign of Emperor Qianlong and burned down by the Anglo-French Allied Forces in 1860, it was rebuilt in its original style during Emperor Guangxu's reign (1875-1908). The octagonal tower has three storeys with four-layered eaves, giving it a height of 36 metres. It's probably the signature building within the Summer Palace. A statue of the thousand-handed Guanyin Buddha, cast in bronze and gilded gold, stands inside. The statue, five metres high and five tons in weight, was cast in 1574 during the reign of Emperor Wanli.
This was one of my favourite places in the Summer Palace and can be seen throughout the area. It stands on Longevity Hill, is 41 metres tall and is built on a 20 metre high platform. It was first built in 1750 but rebuilt in 1889 after a fire. The Empress used to come here to pray. Inside is a statue of the thousand-handed Kwan-yin. Beware, there are quite a few steps to get to the top of the platform, which was tiring as we had already walked around for a few hours!