Jinci temple

On July 25, 2012, in Must-sees, Parks & Gardens, Shanxi, Temples, by Jack Li

If you travel to China and you want to see a place that has a lot of history but is not typical for foreigners why don’t you take a train to Taiyuan and go to one of the most astonishing temples of the Shanxi region, and the whole country that has more than 3000 years […]

If you travel to China and you want to see a place that has a lot of history but is not typical for foreigners why don’t you take a train to Taiyuan and go to one of the most astonishing temples of the Shanxi region, and the whole country that has more than 3000 years of history and is one of the most beautiful places you can find in your China Travel?

What is called “The Jinci Temple” is a combination of buildings from different ages and a natural landscape that frames the buildings in a perfect environment and has a relaxing atmosphere ideal for those who seek the tranquility of an ancient place.

It’s better to visit it in the early morning, it opens at seven o’clock, and it’s bigger than it seems so it’s better if you have lots of time to wander in the multiple attractions that  the Jinci temple has to offer.

There are lots of buildings and statues and shrines and temples to see there but these are the must-sees and the things you cannot miss for you will not find them anywhere;

–          The Saint Mother’s hall; the oldest building in the complex, it’s one of the most important places of the ancient China, so make sure not to miss it.

–          The Flying Bridge across the Fish Pond: it was the first bridge built in that fashion in China and now is the only one that remains intact, its peculiarity is that it’s literally flying over the water; it has no columns in the middle.

–          The Figures of Maidservants: in the Mother Hall there are some very ancient clay statues that are worth seeing.



–          The Ancient Cypresses; these are three cypresses that represent a family, the “parents” are two trees of more than 3000 years old and the “son” is more than 1700 years old.-          The tablets of The Writing of the Emperors; hundreds of stones tables that hold the words and laws of some of the Chinese Emperors.-          The museums of paintings and Calligraphy that have taken some of the ancient residential buildings.-          The Four Bronze statues that represent warriors famous in their time.

These are just some of the things you can see in the Jinci Temple, the attractions that are unique, but there are also other important things like the Boat Shaped Hall with the statue of a monk that is supposed to bring you luck in your studies, the well that has always bubbling water thanks to the underground currents, the pagoda shaped building and the temple of the Dragons, on a rock that you can go through trough a cave.

The Jinci Temple is one of the most important temples of ancient China so if you have the opportunity to make a detour in your China travel and you can spare a day in the Shanxi region make sure that you include the Jinci Temple, it’ll be a decision that you will not regret!

 

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Phoenix Hill

On May 2, 2012, in Cultural Experience, Monasteries, Nature Scenery, Temples, by Jack Li

When you come to a big city for the first time it’s great to visit the most well-known places for a first overview of the place. Beijing Tours certainly offer a great and comfortable way to include the must sees in China’s capital on a single day trip. But to see some other spots it’s […]

When you come to a big city for the first time it’s great to visit the most well-known places for a first overview of the place. Beijing Tours certainly offer a great and comfortable way to include the must sees in China’s capital on a single day trip. But to see some other spots it’s also great to go to places that are not too popular with tourists. Very often the atmosphere is totally different and locals seem to be a lot more interested and open if they are not used to crowds of foreign tourists coming every day. So if you travel to Beijing and you’re planning to see more than the main attractions you might consider spending a day away from the center.

Phoenix Hill Park (Fenghuangling) for example is a nature park about 20 kilometers northwest of Beijing and a great place to go hiking in the mountains and enjoy natural scenery. Apart from the green hills and mountains and the great view on clear days there are numerous historic spots and cultural sites of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. To explore this area there are different touring routes passing by caves, temples, pagodas and stone carvings on the way.

 

Located at the foot of Phoenix Range is Longquan Monastery which has a very long history. It was originally built in 951 A.D. but was nearly completely destroyed. Only the Golden Dragon Bridge, a single-arch stone bridge, and two one-thousand-year-old trees are remainders of this time. The buildings have been rebuilt after the original with the help of many volunteer workers. The monastery was officially reopened in 2005 and is since then not only an interesting place for visitors but first of all a center for Buddhist education and temple experience. For this reason there is still construction going on to add more space for classrooms.

On holidays you can participate in tea ceremonies and you even get the chance to try an original Buddhist lunch. It is separated by gender and talking is not allowed during the meals. The food is rather simple and strictly vegetarian. Although the free lunch is thought to be for Buddhists visiting the monastery even tourists who come to the area for a hike won’t be excluded from the meals.

To get a closer insight into Buddhism the monastery organizes different multilingual activities, sometimes lasting several days. These assemblies and sessions offer an opportunity to experience Buddhist life including chanting sutras, meditation training, life in the monastery, worshipping Buddha on a mountain road and others. These gatherings bring people together and lead to a spiritual journey.

If you want to go there by public transportation you can take bus no. 346 from Summer Palace with destination to Phoenix Hill (Fenghuangling) which takes about an hour. If you stay at a Beijing Hotel you can certainly ask the staff at the reception desk for directions. They might even be so nice as to write you a note in Chinese as a little help. But in general Chinese people are very helpful and even if they don’t speak English they will try their best to help you find your way.

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A Confucian Education

On April 16, 2012, in China Attractions, Historical Relics, Temples, by Jack Li

When you travel to Beijing, you may be familiar with The Lama Temple due to its sounds and smells of incense. However, not to be overlooked and perfectly situated opposite the Lama Temple, you can find the country’s historic centres of educational excellence. Specifically, these are called The Temple of Confucius (The Temple) and the […]

When you travel to Beijing, you may be familiar with The Lama Temple due to its sounds and smells of incense. However, not to be overlooked and perfectly situated opposite the Lama Temple, you can find the country’s historic centres of educational excellence. Specifically, these are called The Temple of Confucius (The Temple) and the Imperial Academy (The Academy). The Temple was built in 1302 and is the second largest Confucian Temple only to the one in Confucius’s home of Qufu. On the other hand, the Academy was the equivalent to a state-run university and was the highest institute of education in China. The Temple is down Guozijian Street which is fairly easy to spot as the street is fronted by a large gate. Furthermore, Guozijian Street can be reached via Yonghegong Lama Temple subway station. Along the street there also are plenty of shops to buy Confucius-related goods after visiting the Temple. In general, Beijing flights are a useful source of information for anyone who wants to get their experience of the ancient city started.

Both The Temple and The Academy are famous for their respect towards academia. From a personal perspective, anyone interested in political
thought will certainly appreciate the exhibitions shown at The Temple. That said, the English text at the exhibitions is written in a straightforward manner for visitors to understand the basic principles of Confucianism. Out of the two, The Temple is the one which exclusively showcases the spiritual element Confucianism. The Temple, for instance, comprises of the Dacheng Hall (Hall of Great Accomplishment) and Chongshengci (Worship Hall). Dacheng Hall is a particularly interesting building to visit as this where offerings such as
musical instruments are placed in homage to Confucius.

The tranquillity of the grounds around the Temple and the Academy make it a very pleasant place to stroll. The grounds are adjacent to
each other so buying a ticket to visit both would be worthwhile. The courtyards around the Temple and the Academy certainly allow you to picture what it may have been like either a learned scholar at The Temple or as a student in the Academy. This is especially true after viewing the superb Biyong Palace which is encircled by a moat within the Imperial Academy and was where the Emperor would read from his throne. With so much history, these courtyards obviously have a few stories to tell. Amongst other things, some intriguing features for visitors to view is the Temple’s 700-year-old Chujian Bai (Touch Evil Cypress) and the hundreds of stone carved tablets displaying names and examination results of previous scholars.

Confucius (551–478BC) developed on a quest of self-discovery from an early age after his aristocratic family was driven to poverty after the death of this father. He eventually rose to become a skilled statesman and helped expand ancient China. To understand the Chinese attitude towards life, either in terms of business or the home; it is helpful to gain an insight into Confucianism. Going to The Temple can provide this. For instance, visitors can learn of some of the important values of Confucianism such as ‘self-cultivation’. In addition, visitors can learn how Confucian thought has influenced modern China by taking into account the concepts of meritocracy and equality. More interesting, if you visit The Temple you may even be surprised to read how Confucianism has influenced European thinkers which later led to the industrial revolution. To experience this captivating part of the city, here are some nearby Beijing hotels to consider.

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A Quiet Spot in Busy Beijing

On April 16, 2012, in Beijing, Temples, Towers, Pagodas & Grottoes, by Jack Li

Everybody who stops by in Beijing on a China tour might only have time to see the main tourist attractions. But if you have enough time for more, you should take a closer look at the less crowded and maybe even hidden places and there are many of those throughout the city. Of course, you […]

Everybody who stops by in Beijing on a China tour might only have time to see the main tourist attractions. But if you have enough time for more, you should take a closer look at the less crowded and maybe even hidden places and there are many of those throughout the city. Of course, you can’t travel to Beijing without visiting at least one or two of the numerous temples. The Five Pagoda Temple (Wutasi) is a very good recommendation because it’s not too popular with tourists and a comparably quiet place in this busy city with a great atmosphere. When it’s a little windy you can hear the jingling sound of the bells from the five pagodas.

The temple is not far from the north gate of Beijing Zoo in Haidian district. The closest subway station is in front of the National Library, a good opportunity to take a look at it on the way to the temple. The entrance fee is 20 RMB and there is the possibility to rent an audio guide in five different languages at the entrance gate for more profound information. The original name of the temple is Zhenjue Temple, meaning ‘True Awakening Temple’, and has a long and eventful past. First built during the Ming dynasty and completed in 1473 it was since then burned down to the ground twice and had to be rebuilt.

The main element of this temple is a little hidden behind two huge Gingko trees growing on either side. It consists of a square five-storey foundation, known as the throne, which is 55 ft (17 m) high. The outside is decorated with carvings of Buddhas, Buddhist shrines and Sanskrit letters on all four sides. Five small stone pagodas rise from the base like diamonds. There is a larger pagoda in the middle of the throne surrounded by four smaller ones on each corner. Just like the foundation they are engraved with images of Buddha, animal figures and Buddhist symbols. It is an Indian-style construction with some influence of Chinese architecture and has therefore a unique character.

The temple grounds around the five pagoda construction are used as the Art Museum of Stone Carvings and display numerous exhibits from different dynasties. There is a large display of tombstones in different sizes from the Tang to Qing dynasty, stone inscriptions in several languages, sculptures, calligraphy tablets as well as stone altars and other stone objects.

The building at the north end of the main construction is used as an exhibition hall separated into three sections. Many objects, mainly from the Beijing area, are displayed. Nearly all explanations on the inside are in Chinese and English and it gives lots of interesting information about stone carving, the history of the temple and preserving historical sites and objects. Inside the building there is also a small souvenir shop and the tables and chairs outside invite to sit down for a rest or to enjoy a little snack. So don’t miss your chance to see this peaceful place when you go on your personal Beijing tours.

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Chen’s Ancestral Temple

On April 28, 2011, in Adventure Trip, More Cities, Must-sees, Temples, by Jack Li

Compared to other historical relics,such as the Forbidden City of Beijing Tour,the Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses of QinShihuang of Xi’an tour,Chen’s Ancestral Temple is not known so well.But if you want to understand the Lingnan culture more deeply,there is a need that you should come and visit Chen’s Ancestral Temple. Although there are not many […]

Compared to other historical relics,such as the Forbidden City of Beijing Tour,the Terra-Cotta Warriors and Horses of QinShihuang of Xi’an tour,Chen’s Ancestral Temple is not known so well.But if you want to understand the Lingnan culture more deeply,there is a need that you should come and visit Chen’s Ancestral Temple.

Although there are not many places for tourists in Guangzhou, Chen’s Ancestral Temple is the ‘must-see’ spot that the city can proudly boast about. Despite being relatively new in Chinese history (it was built in 1890), the temple is known for its superb art that epitomizes Guangdong folk art. This is the kind of building you can imagine ‘Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon’ filming in.The temple has long been looked upon as the ultimate in Cantonese construction of the past glory.

In the late of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), a man named Chen got the third place in the highest imperial examination and had conferred upon him a distinguished office title which made the Family Chen well-known. Later someone suggested that all the Chen’s families raise money to build a temple to sacrifice to the ancestors and encourage their offspring likewise to study hard. Therefore, the temple was finished in 1894 with the money donated by Chen’s families in 72 counties of Guangdong Province as well as some overseas members of Family Chen.

The construction was intended as a family memorial temple for all the Chens in the 27 counties in Guangdong Province. Later it functioned as an academy as well, where students of the Chen clan gathered to study before their going to the capital to take the imperial examination in Beijing. And in the early 20th century, the buildings were used to house various institutions. First, there was the Chen Industrial College and then several other schools were also founded there, including Guangdong Public School and Juxian Middle School. It was also used as a family shrine for the Chens to pay tribute to their ancestors every spring and autumn.

Visitors marveled at the exquisite house decorations and the workmanship of the Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family. All the buildings are done with a variety of sculptures of wood, stone and brick relieves modeled in pottery and lime, and frescos and copper-iron castings in various styles. The carving techniques express simplicity and ruggedness, precision and exquisiteness, each setting off the other.

The Ancestral Temple of the Chen Family deserves the name of “A bright pearl of the architecture in Lingnan Region”. Visitors are astonished at the perfect skills of the folk artisans. It’s hard to believe such delicate crafts being made with simple and unsophisticated tools. Besides, these carvings are delicate and tasteful reflecting the practice of pursuing elaborate and rich decoration. In addition, some of the contents and forms of expression seem to have been influenced by the foreign cultures, for example, “the image of the little angel”. It is one of the examples of the intermingling of the traditional Chinese culture and Western culture. The local artisans absorbed extensively the traditional techniques as well as the Western skills, not confined to the traditional materials and art tradition. They have enriched the Chinese folk arts and handicrafts, placing them further on the international stage of arts.

There is no need for you to worry about language barrier as most of  the people in Guangzhou are very nice and hospitable ,if at that time you don’t understand what each other talk about ,you can just use body language.So go ahead ,and plan a Guangzhou tour.

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