Hangzhou Favorites

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    Lingyin Si.

    by Guantanamera Updated Sep 23, 2003

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    Fondest memory: Lingyin Si, sometimes translated as "temple of the soul's retreat", was originally built in the year 326 A.D.... This is a HUGE Buddhist temple complex, probably the biggest I've ever seen, apart from the great Javanese wonder of Borobodur itself...! Pictured here is Lingyin Si's largest Buddha statue, a 20 meter high camphor wood colossus!

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    Lingyin Si architecture.

    by Guantanamera Written Sep 22, 2003

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    Detail of temple architecture

    Favorite thing: Pictured here, one of the architectural features of the temple complex, in the classic Qing Dynasty aesthetic... These temples are simply glorious... It's really awe-inspiring to walk through this complex and explore all of the giant buildings... The Qing Dyansty emperor Kangxi once called it the "cloud forest Buddhist temple"...

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    Flames and smoke.

    by Guantanamera Written Sep 22, 2003

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    Fondest memory: In addition to being one of the most important temples in China, historically, Lingyin Si is also a very active temple up through the present day... When I visited in 2003 the temple was a hive of activity, with monks chanting and playing musical instruments, lots of incense in the air, and many people coming to worship...

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    Buddha with Swastika.

    by Guantanamera Written Sep 22, 2003

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    Fondest memory: 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...

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    Swastika Temple and Lotus.

    by Guantanamera Updated Nov 17, 2004

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    Fondest memory: Inside a gigantic swastika-shaped building at Lingyin Si, there reside many golden sculptures like the one you see here, which shows a man holding a lotus flower... Notice the woodwork of the window also echoes the swastika motif... In Buddhism, the swastika can represent resignation and has connotations of good fortune...

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    Swastika Temple and Dragon.

    by Guantanamera Written Sep 22, 2003

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    Fondest memory: Another golden statue inside the giant swastika-shaped building, this one showing a man with a dragon... The Chinese refer to the swastika as wan zi... The symbol was also used by the ancient Mesopotamians, as well as the ancient Mayans... Aboriginal Brazilian women displayed it on their genital shields and Trojan goddess figurines show the symbol displayed on the vulva...

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    Hsuan Tsang at Lingyin Si.

    by Guantanamera Written Sep 22, 2003

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    Fondest memory: Inside a large cave near the entrance to Lingyin Si, you'll find this statue of the 7th century Tang Dynasty Buddhist pilgrim, Hsuan Tsang, from the great Chinese epic "Journey to the West"... In the story, Hsuan Tsang, joined by the famous Monkey King, and other characters, sets forth on a journey to the wild, barbaric lands of Western China and India, in search of sutras... The real life Hsuan Tsang was originally from Hangzhou...

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    Laughing Buddha at Lingyin Si.

    by Guantanamera Written Sep 22, 2003

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    Fondest memory: Along the way to the Lingyin Si temple complex, you will pass many stone sculptures carved right into the rocky side of the nearby hills such as the jubilant Buddha that you see in the photo here... There are dozens of these types of sculptures, and a series of elaborate pathways connects them together...

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    Xi Hu.

    by Guantanamera Written Sep 22, 2003

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    Favorite thing: Xi Hu, called "West Lake" in English, is probably the most famous lake in China and the centerpiece of Hangzhou... It is a huge lake, which includes islands and causeways, approximately 3 km by 3 km in dimensions... In this photo, Becky (VT member coral0317), stands next to one of the stone bridges that cross West Lake, at night...

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    Guantanamera at Xi Hu.

    by Guantanamera Written Sep 22, 2003

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    Favorite thing: Becky took this photo of me standing alongside West Lake at night... If you click on this photo and look very carefully, you might be able to spot one or two bats swooping around above my head...! Haha! Bats live around the area of West Lake and can sometimes be seen flying about the area... But they were no trouble, and actually rather amusing...!

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    Xi Hu bat!

    by Guantanamera Written Sep 22, 2003

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    Fondest memory: Couldn't make out the bats in the previous photo of me at West Lake...? Here is a close-up version, zeroing in on one of the bats...! These notorious winged mammals are nocturnal and come out at night to hunt for various insects that make up their diet... Did you know that bats are the only mammals that can fly...? And of course, everyone knows that bats use sonar and echolocation in order to fly at night... In China, bats are considered lucky...

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    Revolving Restaurant Dinner.

    by Guantanamera Written Sep 22, 2003

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    Fondest memory: Becky and I had a delicious dinner at the revolving restaurant at the top of the Friendship Hotel in downtown Hangzhou... This restaurant has a combination of Asian and Western cuisines available on the menu, and most surprising of all, they served us a big pitcher of tangy, very tasty SANGRIA!!

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    Hangzhou Hua Gang Park (Flower Harbor Park)

    by imstress Updated Mar 29, 2005

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    Hua Gang Park

    Favorite thing: The Hua Gang Park (Flower Harbor Park) was a small private garden built and owned by Lu Yunsheng.

    Flower Harbor became a recreation resort for viewing goldfishes.

    In the park there are four sections, the Peony Yard, the Red Fish Pool, the Thick Forest Zone and the New Flower Harbor.

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    Becky.

    by Guantanamera Written Sep 22, 2003

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    Fondest memory: The best part of my trip to Hangzhou was meeting Becky (VT member coral0317)... She lives in Hangzhou and offered to show me around the city during my travels there... Becky is an absolutely adorable girl, very pleasant company, and a great guide...! Meeting her added a touch of local flavor and hospitality that made my stay extra special...

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    "Bonsai" or "Pengsai"

    by SLLiew Written Oct 15, 2006

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    Favorite thing: Miniaturized trees in pots is a Chinese tradition made famous by the Japanese bonsai.

    Pines, maples and all kinds of trees are slowly transfered into smaller and small pots. It is incredible to see flowering or changing foliage of these giant trees growing in small shallow basins.

    Often rocks are added to symbolize mountains to these pengsai or small clay made pagodas or old men playing chess of fishing in creating a world of its own.

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