While I was planning to Luoyang, I was in the dilemma whether to visit Shaolin because I was not a big fan to Shaolin Kung Fu or Chinese Martial Art. I thought I was going to visit Temple after Temples and see a lot of monks. In fact, my experience with Shaolin is beyond my imagination.
When I arrived, I felt so peaceful and exciting as the main entrance has beautiful gates, Shaolin monk's statue with serious facial expression, cool! Like any other UNESCO site in China, it comes with an entrance gate like Disneyland with expensive charges (Y100). The entire park is surrounded by hills and mountains. It was fall, so the weather was fantastic.
I follow the path road to visit the attractions, including :
1) Kung Fu Training Center (武术馆，wu shu guan)
2) Shaolin Temple (少林寺，shao lin si)
3) Pagoda Forest (塔林, ta lin)
4) Sanhuangzhai Scenic Area (三皇寨景区， San huang zhai jing qu)
5) Buddhist Hostel or Five-Hundred Buddhas Statue Hall ( 十方禅院，shi fang chan yuan)
Admission: Y100 per person (excluding cable way to Mt Song)
Note: Don't miss this attraction if you come to Henan, go there in the early morning to enjoy the beautiful Mt Song or Sanhuangzhai Scenic Area.
Zhou Zhou Road the the main street at Luoyang City. It connects between east and west. During my visit, the road is still under massive constructions, but I managed to see many places walking along this street during morning or evening.
- Shopping mall- Xunduhai Outdoor shopping Mall, Wangfujing Department store, IT Mall
- Luoyang Center hospital -- Beautiful Red Noel Light At Night
- Wangcheng Park -Greenery Park in the City Center
- Banks, Hotels, and etc
- A under construction! New Tang Dynasty Tomb Museum coming soon .
- Tall tower building with Lotus Flower on Top!
In Chinese: 中州路 , zhong zhou lu
Earliest Cave or Guyang Cave is the earliest cave in Longmen Grottoes. It is a small cave with a statue of Sakyamuni , 7.82 meters height, surrounded by three tiers of niches on the northern and southern wall.
In 493 AD, Northern Wei moved from Pingcheng (today Datong) to Luoyang. A new capital was formed by a non-Chinese Emperor Xiaowen (471-499). Under this emperor, he implemented a more aggressive cultural reform, named Taihe Reform, to sinicise the state with Northern Wei 's style Sculpture, inscriptions, and calligraphy of the cave.
In Chinese: 古阳洞，gu yang dong
Shaolin sounds like an ancient temple to us as most of us learnt it through watching the Kung Fu movie. in fact, the original Shaolin Temple was destroyed by fire in 1928. The only things that remains are the decorative arches and stone lions. Anyway, most of the temples has been rebuilt around the 80's.
1) Temple Gate ( 山门， shan man): It was first built in the 13th year of Emperor Yongzheng reign (1735), of the Qian Dynasty. In 1974 it was rebuilt according to the old model. Above the lintel, there is a horizontal board inscribed with three Chinese Characters meaning "Shaolin Temple". Written by emperor KangXi himself outside the temple gate there are two stone memorial gateways built in 1544 and 1555 respectively, in the Ming Dynasty.
2) Dever Hall ( 天王殿, tian wang dian ) : The hall was burnt in the war of 1928 and rebuilt in 1981 according to its original structure. On the both sides before it's gate stand two rajas who are usually called " General Heng" and " General Ha" by people. Behind the gate there are four Devarajas (heavenly guardians). In the order from east to west they are Devaraja Huguo in charge of the east. Devaraja Zhengzhang in charge of the south. Devaraja Guangma in charge of the west and Devaraja Duowen is charge of the north. They protect the four parts in four directions under the heaven and bring good weather and good harvest to the people there.
To be continued... part II
" The best scenery around the suburbs of Luoyang is found in Longmen Grottoes. Among the ten temples, Xiangshan Temple ranks first for the sightseeing.
Xianshan Temple is located in the Fragrant Hill area of Luoyang, which was famous for the abundance of xiangge (a kind of fagrant plant). Empress Wu Zetian had an eternal anecdote recited on her gandily dress on Fragrant Hill.
Qianlong, the sixth emperor of the Qing dynasty once made an inspection tour here (1750 AD) , and off the cuff recited a poem which was engraved on the stele.
Jiang Jieshi, the president of Guomindang , with his wife, Song Meiling, once chose the Temple as summer resort.
Now Xiangshan Temple has been renovated, it comprises the Campanile, the Drum Tower, the Hall of Great Buddha, the Hall of Arhat, the Hall of Heavenly Kings, the Stone Tower, Jiang-song Villa, the Qianglong stele pavilion, the Legacy Tower, the Lotus Pond, the Pond of Freeing Captive Animals, etc. This Buddhist Temple is very elegant and delicate and it will bring people relaxation and happiness. "
Note From The Signboard
In Chinese: 香山寺, xiang shan si
Longmen Grottoes is of of the examples of cave temple, a Buddhist temple which is built on the cliffs of river mountains. It is replication of a normal temple on the ground, thus being a temple itself where monks and laymen worship, consecrate, live and mediate.
The statues and architectural styles from various period:
-The Northern Wei Dynasty (386-535 AD)
-Southern and Northern Dynasty (420-589 AD)
-Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD)
The more common statues:
-Amitabha (Buddha of Infinite Light)
-Maitreya (Buddha of the Future)
-Bhaisajyaguru (Buddha of Medicine and Healing)
-Guan Yin (Bodhisattva of Mercy)
Longmen Grottoes has more than 100,000 statues, is mainly divided into two areas, West cave and East cave. They are located between hill sides on Yi River.
- Qianxi Temple (潜溪寺，qian xi si) -In my review
- Three Binyang Cave (宾阳三洞， bin yang san dong) -In my review
- Moya Three-Buddha Niche (摩崖三佛龛， mo ya san fo kan) -In my review
- Ten Thousand Buddha Cave (万佛洞，wan fo dong) -In my review
- Lotus Flower Cave (莲花洞，lian hua dong) -In my review
- Fengxian Temple (奉先寺，feng xian si) -In my review
- Medical Prescription Cave (药方洞，yao fang dong)
- Earliest Cave (古阳洞，gu yang dong)-In my review
- Thousand-Hand-And-Eye Guanyin (千手千眼观音，qian shou qian yan guan yin)-In my review
- Lord Geoping Cave (高平郡王洞， gao ping jun wang dong)-In my review
- Reading Sutras Cave (看经寺洞，kan jing si dong) -In my review
- Buddha-Worshipping Platform (礼佛台，li fo tai)
XIANGSHAN TEMPLE (香山寺):
- Chiang Song Villa (蒋宋别墅，jiang song bie shu) -In my review
- Qianlong Stele Pavilion (乾隆街碑亭，qian long jie bei ting) -In my review
- The Hall of Arhat (罗汉殿，luo han dian)- In my review
- The Hall of Heavenly King (天王殿，tian wang dian)- In my review
- The Bell & Drum Tower- In my review
BAI JUYI'S TOMB / BAI GARDEN (白园)- In my review
Admission: Y120 per adult
1 Feb- 31 Mar (8:00-17:00)
1 April- 10 May (7:30-21:00)
11 May-31 Oct (7:30-17:00)
1 Nov-31 Jan (8:00-16:30)
In Chinese: 龙门石窟， Long Men Shi Ku.
Despite the beautiful mountains and trees around the park with the excitement to see kids learning Kung Fu on the field, don't forget to catch the real Kung Fu show at the Kung Fu Training Center. It is an auditorium for the local monks to demonstrate the Shaolin Kung Fu to the tourists . Admission is already included in your Shaolin ticket. The 30-minutes show is only available at the following times:
Morning: 9:30 -- 10:00
Afternoon: 14:00 --14:30
17:00 --17:30 (only available during summer)
It is an inspiring performances with their flexibility and unique techniques to surprise audiences. During the show, few audiences were voluntary participating to learn the Shaolin Ku Fung on stage, and made the show even more successful as it is more entertaining to the audiences.
Outside the training center, you can take pictures with statues of Kung Fu masters.
In Chinese: 武术馆，wu shu guan
Wangcheng Park is the biggest parks in downtown Luoyang. It is located on ZhongZhouZhong Road, just right after those shopping district. Wangcheng means Imperial City in Chinese. In other words, its name originated from the site as the site was the Eastern Zhou Dynasty Imperial Palace.
Today, this park becomes the central park of the people in Luoyang. Locals and tourists can enjoy varieties of activities in this parks, including:
- Peony Garden
- Ancient Culture and Art Pavilions - eg. Shao Yue Tai
- Children Zoo
- Amusement Park
- Art & Exhibition Gallery
Admission: Y10 /person
In Chinese: 王城公园， wang cheng gong yuan
Luoyang has a new museum, pyramid-like modern structure. It is huge, looking from the outside and quite impressive structure consider it is located in the middle of China. I think the Chinese Government wants to build all new museum for all states and important cities, for example like this one and Shanxi Musuem that I visited in Taiyuan.
This Museum has two stories of exhibitions, they include:
- Exhibition of Heluo Civilazation
- Exhibition of Ancient Stone Carving Art
- Exhibition of Calligraphy and Painting.
- Exhibition of Ancient Treasure of Luoyang.
- Exhibition of Pottery Figurines of Han and Tang Dynasties.
- Exhibition of Tri-Colored Earthen wares of Tang Dynasties. (Famous)
- Exhibition of Qing Imperial Cultural Relics. (Famous)
- Exhibition of Ancient Fresco Art.
Admission: Free (Need to get the ticket from gate)
In Chinese: 洛阳博物馆， luo yang bo wu guan
This is huge botanic garden near the Luoyang Museum. I could not find any history related to this garden, but it named " Sui & Tang Dynasties Relic Garden" . It could be the ruin site for the Emperor Palace during Sui & Tang Dynasties, as I could see some of the ancient garden drainage system here. Basically, this Botanic Garden is still under construction, and large part of it is flatland.
They have the following Gardens:
1) The Splendid Garden
2) The Gymnosperm Garden
3) Rock Plant Garden
4) The Wild Water Garden
Some locals spends family time in this park. And great place to see beautiful birds...
In Chinese: 隋唐城遗址， sui tang cheng yi zhi
I did not plan to visit this garden, accidentally passing by this Garden after crossing the Mudan Bridge, on south of Jiefang Road. It has beautiful west gate door, garden with pavilions, lakes, flowers, and trees. All the flower garden comes with own theme, and variety of display of China National Flower. From the garden. You can get a good view of the TV Tower. Some locals choose this location for their wedding photograph.
This is not a must-visit location in Luoyang, but if you have spare time why not!!
In Chinese: 中国国花园，zhong guo guo hua yuan
Shaolin has given me an impression of " Kung Fu", ancient Chinese martial art. The Chinese still keeps one of their valuable art and cultures which is the techniques of Kung Fu untill today. You can see from the pictures, many Chinese kids were sent here to practice the Kung Fu. They practices flexibility, Kung Fu techniques, the body and great moral power and firmness.
No doubt they will accept foreign students as well by charging more fees.
It is also called Buddhist Hostel. The yard used to be a hostel for the monks who visited here or other Buddhist people, only the ruined stone pillars were left , all the st-one tablets of Qing and Ming dynasties have been moved to Shaolin Mo-nastery yard in 1993. There are five hundred Buddha statues were made here.
In Chinese: 十方禅院，shi fang chan yuan.
After visiting Pagoda Forest, I walked further south and saw people selling ticket to ride the Cable Car. I did not bother to ask cause I worried there were scam. In China, I always buy ticket on the a designated counter for an attraction.
At the cable car ticket counter, I learnt that this is " Sanhuangzhai Scenic Area" according to the signboard:
" The Sanhuangzhai Scenic Area is in the Yuzhai Peak, west of the Dengfeng City. This area, was an area of 23KM 2 , is to the south of Shaolin Temple Scenic Area.
The highest crest is the Liantian Peak, with an elevation of 1512.6m . This peak is majestic, lofty and precipitious.
The Archaean granite greenstone series (36-25 Ga ago) and Proterozoic neriti c rock (25-18Ga ago) are well preserved in this area. The powerful T-P effect of the Zhongyue Orogeny (18Ga ago) made the Yuzhai Peak an inverted synclinorium, and tourist route is on the west inverted wing of the fold. The lower ranges and valleys at the two sides of this synclinorium are composed of Archaean strata, and the lofty and steep crests are composed of Paleoproterozoic rock. The huge homoclinal folds and angular folds are widely spread. The unconformity of zhongyue Orogeny is clear. The deep and precipotious vallys formed by structural denudation are so impressive and the steep and vertical peak clusters are so marvelous. You will be moved by the nature power.
Along the tourist route, you can see the numerous peculiar peaks, steep cliffs, cliff inscriptions, odd stones, deep valleys, stone gates, vertical caves, clear springs, flying waterfalls, green ponds, dense forest, ancient temples and other miracles. You will feel that it is a real fairyland"
I do agree with the signboard as I really felt like I was in a real fairyland with cliffs stones, hills, monks walking along those pathway of the cliff.
There are two sides of cable ways to go up Sanhuangzhai Scenic Area or Mount Song. I believe you will experience different scenes of both sides. That is why I recommend you to go Shaolin in a very early morning... at least you have more time to see both side. I managed to see one side only, and only spent around few hours there. I really hope to come back.. amazing place ...
Cable Car charges: Y60 return/ person.
In Chinese: 三皇寨景区， San huang zhai jing qu
I walked on the pathway along those cliffs. They really have beautiful scenery along the ways. Also learn some of the rock formation through their signboard:
Quartzite: Quartzite is a kind of metamorphic rocks, composed mainly by S102, the content of which is above 95% wt of the whole rock. The quartzite here was formed by metamorphic process from quartzose sandstone deposited in a shore environment, and then after alteration and erosion of multiple orogenic movements the special geomorphologic landscape was created which is the main part of Songshan (Mt Song).
Fault: A fault is a planar rock fracture where one side slides laterally past to the other, when the rock strata and rock body fracture after the effect of internal stress of the earth. The fault zone is about 5m wide. the disorderly fault breccias with different sizes formed as a result of the grinding action of two fault blocks as they slid past each other.
In the long geological history in Precambrian, Mount Song region underwent three large-scale orogenic and land-forming movement; they are Songyang movement (2.5Ga) , Zhongyue Movement (1.8 Ga) and Shaolin Movement (600 Ma). The enriched and typical geosite forming in those movements are the idea places to trace back the early-stage evolutionary history of the earth.
In Chinese: 三皇寨景区， San huang zhai jing qu