(Pic. of giant puta.)

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HANGZHOU
* West Lake and Ling Yin Jit Temple. *

by
LEE A. WOOD

( Shanghai bus depot.)
SHANGHAI
BUS DEPOT
( inside of bus.)
ALONG THE
FREEWAY

( streets of Hangzhou.)
HANGZHOU
STREETS
( Boats on West Lake.)
WEST LAKE
( Bin in front of a cave.)
THE CAVES
( Puta. )
LING YIN JIT
TEMPLE
( Bus Depot. )
HANGZHOU
BUS DEPOT

There are, in China, four scenic areas that have, as their nuclei, four beautiful ladies of ancient Chinese lore.

One such area is the North East corner of the province of Zhejiang, just South of Shanghai.

One of the major attractions in this area is the city of Hangzhou, often spelled Hang Zhou.

From Shanghai you can reach Hangzhou by bus or train.

The destination board in the bus station, like that in the train depot, can be confusing as the posted ticket prices, and departure times, are in Chinese only.

The BUS DEPOT IN PUDONG

SHANGHAI BUS DEPOT IN THE DISTRICT OF PUDONG

PURCHASING OUR FARE

CHECKING THE DEPARTURE BOARD

BOARDING THE BUS TO HANGZHOU

If you go by bus, the bus depot in Shanghai is in the district of PuDong at Lian Nan Rd. and PuDong Nan Rd. The price of $47, (Chinese Yuan.) plus $3 for insurance, will entitle you to a fairly pleasant, two hour, ride aboard a fairly new Daewoo bus equipped with TV.

(Chinese money is based on the decimal system and at the time of my trip, January 2001, six yuan was the equivalent of $1 Canadian.)

While most of the passengers kept their curtains closed, to sleep or to watch the movie. I kept my curtains open. Though the sky was heavily overcast the visibility was about half a mile.

PICTURES TAKEN FROM THE BUS ON THE TOLLWAY FROM SHANGHAI TO HANGZHOU

THE FREEWAY PASSES OVER MANY CANALS
BARGES CARRY MUCH OF THE FREIGHT IN CHINA

THERE ARE MANY OVERPASSES FOR THE FREEWAY
CANALS CRISS CROSS THE COUNTRY SIDE

WE STOPPED AT TWO TOLL BOOTHS DURING OUT TRIP

THREE NEW OVERHEADS UNDER CONSTRUCTION

NEW OVERPASSES CREATE UPGRADING OF THE INTERSECTING ROADWAY

AS WELL AS CANALS, THE FREEWAY PASSES OVER RAILWAY TRACKS.
THIS LOOKS LIKE THE TRAIN I RODE WHEN I WENT TO ZHUJI

Everywhere I looked I saw new construction: businesses; residential complexes; homes; roads; and freeways.

The trip was pleasant except the driver kept accelerating the bus to its top speed and then slipping the transmission into neutral. he would let the motor idle until the bus lost speed, then put the bus back into gear and push the speed back up again. I found the alternating, roaring, and then quiet, of the motor and transmission was annoying, though it didn't seem to bother the other passengers.

Like any large city, Hangzhou has many tourist attractions. Hangzhou's two most prominent are, `West Lake', and the `Ling Yin Jit' or `Soul's Retreat Temple'.

STREETS IN HANGZHOU, CHINA
MODERN HIGHWAYS ABOUND IN CHINA
These pictures were taken in the year 2001


THE FREEWAY ENTERS HANGZHOU


DOWNTOWN HANGZHOU

DOWNTOWN HANGZHOU

On the West side of the street, across from the bus depot in Hangzhou, you can catch a South bound, number 31, bus for $1. After several direction changes it reaches Yan An Rd. which runs one block East of, and parallel to, West Lake.

WEST LAKE IN HANGZHOU
WEST LAKE HAS MANY SCENIC ATTRACTIONS

SEAWALL

TONNI AND BIN STROLL THE SEAWALL AT WEST LAKE

TOURIST ATTRACTIONS ABOUND AROUND WEST LAKE
HOUSE

SCENIC ATTRACTION ON WEST LAKE
BEAUTIFUL LADY

ONE OF THE FOUR BEAUTIFUL LADIES OF CHINESE LORE
BOATS

TOURIST BOATS WILL GIVE YOU A TOUR OF THE LAKE
OR TRANSPORT YOU TO ONE OF THE ISLANDS

At the time of my visit, West Lake was shrouded in low lying cloud. The droplets of water were visible in front of my eyes. The temperature was mild and there were many visitors, strolling the promenade, and taking boats out to the islands which were barely visible from the seawall.

I searched all of the tourist kiosks but could not find a brochure for the area. I found a map that shows many of the scenic wonders of the area but could not find one printed in English. I did find an English street map but it was embedded in the plexiglas wall of a bus stop shelter.

Going North along the side of West Lake you can take the K7 bus which curves West across the top end of the lake, to the temple. Every bus stop along the side of the lake is a scenic destination. One could spend an entire day exploring them all.

TROLLEY (Pic. of old trolley bus.)
SIMILAR TO THE TROLLEYS THAT I USED TO DRIVE IN VANCOUVER

The K7 bus terminates at the temple grounds, `The Pure Land in Southeast Asia', which are open to the public. There is however, an entrance fee of $20.

`Ling Yin Jit', or `Yunlin Buddhist', Temple was once the home to three thousand monks. here you will find caves, grottos, walls of rock with many carved putas, stairs to climb, a gondola ride to the top of a mountain, as well as the halls of the monastery itself.

Allow yourself a minimum of two hours for a slow walk through the basic areas. If the sun is shinning you may want to spend the entire day taking in all the sights.

Inside the main entrance, I stopped at a vendor and asked the price of film. When I say asked, I mean, I pointed at the film. The vendor replied by punching the price into a large-screen, hand-held, calculator. He wanted $75.

By waving my hand and shaking my head, I said no. The vendor handed me his calculator so I could put in the price I wanted, I punched in $45. Taking back the calculator he replied $55, I indicated ,`No', and walked away.

I was getting low on film but I knew I could get it elsewhere for less. In China, as in Canada, slide film is more expensive than print film and few small stores carry it. $75 per roll is not much more than the price back home but I had paid less than $50 in Shanghai.

At another vendor's stand, going into the Milky Way Grotto, I pointed at a similar roll of film which had the same price of $75 marked on the package. With a shake of my head and a twist of my lip, I indicated that the price was too high and walked away.

In both cases I had been looking at a roll of Kodak, 100 ASA, 36 exp., slide film.


CAVES AT LING YIN TEMPLE
CAVES, GROTTO, MOUNTAIN SIDE

MOUNTAIN STAIRS

ABOVE THE GAZEBO, THE TRAIL SPLITS.
EITHER WAY WILL TAKE YOU TO THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN.
THE STONE STAIRS WERE BUILT, AND LAID, BY HAND, OVER TWO THOUSAND YEARS AGO
PAGODA

BIN POSES IN FRONT OF AN ANCIENT PAGODA
TEMPLE

THE MAIN PATH THROUGH THE TEMPLE GROUNDS.
IN THE BACKGROUND, `THE HALL OF THE HEAVENLY KING'
GIANT URNS

INCENSE IS BURNED AND PRAYERS ARE SAID BEFORE ENTERING
THE HALL OF `THE BUDDHA OF MEDICINE'
THE BUDDHA OF MEDICINE

INSIDE THE APOTHECARY HALL
TEMPLE STAIRS

AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS, HUGE URNS ARE USED TO BURN INCENSE
BUDDHA

AN ANCIENT BUDDHA.
THE SIGN IN FRONT SAYS, `NO CAMERAS, DO NOT TOUCH'
BUDDHA

AN ANCIENT BUDDHA

Deep inside a cave the second vendor, carrying a roll of film and a calculator, found me and offered me a lower price. I went lower on the price, saying I wanted three rolls. We finally agreed, after some negotiating, on a price of $43 each, if I bought five rolls.

I told her I would purchase them on the way out. I hadn't noticed that the lady who had been with her had disappeared.

The vendor said the trail didn't exit past her stand. I was pretty sure it did, as we were going in the exit, the entrance being closed for renovations, but didn't want to argue with her. At that point the second lady returned, carrying two more rolls of film.

The vendor and I went back to her stand while the second lady ran on ahead. When we reached the kiosk the second lady arrived with two more rolls of film from another stand.

Inside the grotto are several caves with putas carved into the walls. The first cave, which would actually be the last cave, if you were going in the proper direction, is `The Cave of the Dragon' or more popularly known as `The Cave Leading up to Heaven'.

This cave has a hole in the roof which allows a beam of light to penetrate the darkness. The light is called `A Thread of Heaven'.

After viewing the caves I exited past the film stand, without so much as a smile from the lady vendors.

From the grotto we followed a trail that went up and down the cliff side, along the bank of a stream. Nearly five hundred putas, dating back to the Five Dynasties, are carved into the rock wall along the stream.

At one point, this part is not necessary but I need the exercise, we climbed a set of stairs that went up, and up, and up. We climbed and climbed, almost to the top of the mountain. The stairs did go further but we were too winded.

After following a path along the crest of the mountain we reached another set of stairs that went down the hill and eventually came back to our starting point. All the paths and stairs are made from blocks of stone that were carved, and laid, by hand, nearly two thousand years ago.

SIGNS (Pic. of directional signs.) SO YOU DON'T GET LOST

On the other side of the creek, from the mountainous stairs, on the floor of the valley, stands the temple itself.


PICTURES OF THE LING YIN JIT TEMPLE
WITHIN THE TEMPLE ARE THREE HALLS WITH ENORMOUS BUDDHAS
SOLDIERS

SOLDIERS CLIMB THE MOUNTAIN SIDE
TO POSE FOR THEIR FRIEND'S CAMERAS
GROTTO ENTRANCE

PUTAS CARVED INTO THE WALL OF THE GROTTO
MOUNTAIN WALL

BIN POSES BELOW PUTAS CARVED INTO THE ROCK WALL
ABOVE THE ENTRANCE TO THE GROTTO
PUTAS

PUTAS ABOVE THE EXIT TO `THE CAVE OF THE DRAGON'
PAGODA

PAGODA CLOSE TO THE GROTTO
PUTAS

PUTAS OUTSIDE THE GROTTO
CAVE LEADING TO HEAVEN

THE HOLE IN THE ROOF ALLOWS
THE ENTRANCE OF THE `THREAD OF HEAVEN'
STAIRS

STAIRS CARVED INTO THE ROCK INSIDE THE CAVE
CAVE

REN RU XIN & HUANG BIN POSE INSIDE A CAVE
PAGODA

TONNI (Ren Ru Xin) POSES IN FRONT OF A PAGODA

There are several buildings in the temple area and there is an additional charge of $15 to enter. Even if you have seen other temples the three main halls are worth the visit.

The lowest hall is `The Hall of the heavenly King'. Inside is a large Buddha surrounded by large warriors. When I say large I am talking ten to fifteen feet tall.

Climbing a few stairs in the temple grounds will take you to `the Hall of the Great Hero'. The central figure in this hall is a giant lady Buddha.

A few more stairs will take you to `the Hall of the Buddha of Medicine, `The Apothecary Hall'. This hall has a large forecourt with a massive urn where visitors burn incense before entering the hall. The enormous puta inside is flanked by large golden figures.

Using a flash camera inside is a waste of time unless you have an elaborate flash system. The flash of an ordinary camera will not carry far enough to light the large figures but will alert the monks to the fact that you are taking pictures. You are not allowed to take pictures inside the halls.

Around the Buddhas are large pillars which one can lean against to steady your camera while taking pictures with a slow shutter speed. The size of the columns will also conceal you and your camera, from observation by the monks.

Ling Yin Jit temple or `Monastery of the Soul's Retreat' has been enthralling visitors since its inception some sixteen hundred years before the Eastern Jin Dynasty, which was about the year 300.

Near the entrance of the grounds, across from the grotto, is a bridge that takes you into a market area. Here you can buy a souvenir or something to eat or drink.

EGG (Pic. of big egg.) FOR A SMALL CHARGE THE VENDOR WILL USE YOUR CAMERA
TO TAKE A PICTURE OF YOU STANDING BESIDE THE EGG

Behind the souvenir stands is a path that follows the creek downstream and leads to another little commercial section with Taoguang Temple.

As we had arrived in Hangzhou late in the morning, then stopped for lunch, we only had an afternoon to explore. It was dark by the time the K7 bus brought us back to West Lake where we made our connection, by walking across the street, back to the bus depot. The reason you only cross the street, rather than walk one block East, is because the K7, when it returns, is one block east of the lake.

BUS DEPOT IN HANGZHOU
HANGZHOU BUS DEPOT


LOOKING DOWN FROM THE FREEWAY

TAXIS

TAXIS AWAIT ARRIVING PASSENGERS IN FRONT OF THE HANGZOU BUS DEPOT
BUS DEPOT

HANGZHOU BUS DEPOT
BUS

HANGZHOU BUS DEPOT
BUS DEPOT

HANGZHOU BUS DEPOT
NOTE THE LUGGAGE AND FREIGHT ATOP THE BUS

Though we had enjoyed our visit it was obvious that to thoroughly visit both West Lake and the Ling Yin Jit Temple would require a full day, if not a day for each.

END

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