Archive for the ‘Dengfeng Travel’ Category

Dragon Pavilion ( Long Ting Park )

Sunday, November 24th, 2013
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As  one of the seven great ancient capital cities in China, the city of Kaifeng has much to offer in terms of ancient buildings and historical relics.  Dragon Pavilion Park ( 龙亭公园 – Long Ting Park ) is a big draw when visiting Kaifeng on your Henan tour.

Dragon Pavilion is the main structure in the park for the same name sake with an  area of 83.13 acres half covered by two lakes – East Dad Lake (Pan Family Lake) ans West Good Lake (Yang Family Lake).  Dragon Pavilion is actually not a pavilion, but a palace built on the 13m-high blue brick terrace.  A flight of 72-steps leads up to the platform of the terrace with stone balusters on both sides. In the middle of the flight  of steps are cloud-dragons.  The Palace Hall atop the terrace is a wooden structure with double-gable roofs. The terrace is fenced with stone balusters. Pleople have a good view of the surrounding scenery – the downtown, Qing-Ming Street and the two lakes.  The terrace is aperfect place to view the sunset with beautiful glows.

The building of the Dragon Pavilion dates back to to 1692, the 31th year during the reign of Kangxi Emperior in Qing Dynasty ( 1644-1911).  Originally known as Wanshou Pavilion, it was built on the coal hill of the former palace buildings of King Zhou in Ming Dynasty (1638-1644).  It housed the emperor tablets for the local officials to pray. Later the Coal Hill wad renamed Dragon Pavilion Hill, hence the nane for Dragon Pavilion.

Kaifeng is the ancient capital city for  8 dynasties with their palaces successively built on the location of the present Dragon Pavilion and the two lakes. The first man who chose this place with fengshui that prospered for 0ver next 1200 years was Li Mian, the local governer in Tang Dynasty who had moved his office building from Shanqiu to the present Kaifeng in the year of 781 , thus starting the axis of the ancient Kaifeng for over 1200 years.

The interesting thing is that after Li Mian, came with the five dynasty period – Hou Liang Dynasty, Hou Jin Dynasty, Hou Han Dynasty,Hou Zhou Dynasty, Northern Song Dynasty, Jin Dynaty and Zhou Palace in Ming Dynasty.

So now under the Dragon Pavilion and the two lakes in the park are still buried with the ancient cities successively from Zhou Palace in Ming Dynasty, Jin Dynasty, Southern Song Dynasty, Hou Zhou Dynasty, Hou Han Dynasty, Hou Jin Dynasty, Hou Liang Dynasty and Li Mian’s Office Buildings.

Dragon Pavilion Park is on the northen tip of the axis ( Zhongshan Road) easily accessed by the public buses (Bus 1 and Bus 20)  and taxis. To its south is the 400m-long Ming Qing Street, a replica of the streets in Ming and Qing Dyansty.  The best time to visit Dragon Pavilion is during the chrysanthemum festival from Mid-October to Mid-November,  a lot of colors and styles really open your eyes and the most spectacular flower show  in the world. Entrance fee: RMB 70.

Now, follow me to have a glimpse of the impressive Dragon Palavilion and its same name park.

This is the main entrance gate facing south, also called Wu Men Gate ( Meridian Gate).  By the right side of the gate is the ticketing office.  South of the gate is the Ming and Qing ancient street ( 400m).

This is the main entrance gate facing south, also called Wu Men Gate

This is the main entrance gate facing south, also called Wu Men Gate

From the entrance gate to the Dragon Pavilion is about 480m, an imperial way in the middle.  Today is November 12, still within the yearly Chrysanthemum Festival.  I could see the 450m long imperial way decorated with pots of yellow Chrysanthemum flowers.

450m long imperial way decorated with pots of yellow Chrysanthemum flowers

450m long imperial way decorated with pots of yellow Chrysanthemum flowers

The imperial way is linked by the Jade Belt Bridge that has been also fastooned with flowers.

 the Jade Belt Bridge that has been also fastooned with flowers.

the Jade Belt Bridge that has been also fastooned with flowers.

After the Jade Belt Bridge is the long corridor of red railings that have also been beautified with bots and trees of flowers.

 the long corridor of red railings that have also been beautified with bots and trees of flowers

the long corridor of red railings that have also been beautified with bots and trees of flowers

Everywhere is decorated with  yellow Chrysanthemum flowers – in the middle of the road,  trees and roadside pots that have been covered by the sea of yellow flowers.

Everywhere is decorated with  yellow Chrysanthemum flowers -

Everywhere is decorated with yellow Chrysanthemum flowers –

Before we reach the screen wall and the dragon pavilion itself, there is a garden of yellow Chrysanthemum flowers.

 a garden of yellow Chrysanthemum flowers.

a garden of yellow Chrysanthemum flowers.

Behind  the garden is the red lanterns hung on the ropes linked to the screen wall  in front of the Dragon Pavilion.

red lanterns hung on the ropes linked to the screen wall

red lanterns hung on the ropes linked to the screen wall

Behind the screen wall is the flight of 72 steps leading up to the terrace of the Dragon Pavilion.

the flight of 72 steps leading up to the terrace of the Dragon Pavilion.

the flight of 72 steps leading up to the terrace of the Dragon Pavilion.

Looking at the west, the beautiful setting sun is high up over the Dragon Pavilion Park.

the beautiful setting sun is high up over the Dragon Pavilion Park.

the beautiful setting sun is high up over the Dragon Pavilion Park.

The setting sun is over the West Lake ( Yang Family Lake ) by the boat.

The setting sun is over the West Lake

The setting sun is over the West Lake

 

South of the Dargon Pavilion Park is the 400m ancient inmitation street of Ming and Qing dynasties.

the 400m ancient inmitation street of Ming and Qing dynasties

the 400m ancient inmitation street of Ming and Qing dynasties

Any questions, just drop a line.

How to Visit Shaolin Temple

Thursday, March 8th, 2012
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If you are planning a Luoyang Tour, it is highly recommended to include a side trip to Shaolin Temple  from Luoyang. Shaolin Temple is the cradle of the Chinese Zen Buddhism and the Shaolin Martial Arts. Then how to visit Shaolin Temple during your Luoyang travel?

After visiting the major attractions in Luoyang including Longmen Grottoes, it is advisable to spare a whole day starting in the early morning from Luoyang to Shaolin Temple.  Shaolin Temple is located about 80km southeast of Luoyang which is within the jurisdiction of Dengfeng City, 12km from Shaolin Temple.

Travel to Shaolin Temple overland is the only choice of transportation. You may prebook a taxi or rent a private car from local travel agency in Luoyang which costs you around RMB 600 for a round trip.

For money saving and more interactive contact with the locals as well, you may go to Shaolin Temple by taking the long-distance bus from Luoyang Long-distance Station which is located across Luoyang Railway Station in the city center. Plentiful buses pass by Shaolin Temple. Just get up early and buy your bus ticket on the spot from Luoyang to Shaolin Temple.

Most of the Shaolin Temple bound buses run on National Highway No.207 and Shaolin Temple is just located by the highway 80km from Luoyang, Actually many long-distance buses work as shuttle buses along the highway passing numerous villages.

Don’t be surprised when your bus will stop when there are people waving hands by the roadside if your bus still have some vacancies which your bus driver definitely wants to fill in for maximizing the profit.

Chinese are “noisy” people. On your bus, the passengers around you will talk loudly, even shout and eat, making the bus like their homes and ignoring the existence of others on the bus. So just keep your patience, be tolerant and “enjoy” your travel experience on a long-distance bus in China!

On the way to Shaolin Temple from Luoyang

On the way to Shaolin Temple from Luoyang

Within 2 and half hours your ticket collector on the bus will remind you that you have arrived at the entrance to Shaolin Temple. Get off and you will see a huge statue of a Shaolin Temple Monk.  |

A huge statue of a Shaolin Temple Monk.

A huge statue of a Shaolin Temple Monk.

Shaolin Temple was established in 495AD by Emperor Xiaowen in Beiwei Dynasty for the purpose of housing the famous Indian monk, Batuo, who came to Luoyang, the ancient capital for spreading Buddhism at that period.

Emperor Xiaowen was a dedicated believer of Buddhism so he decided to construct the temple at the foot of the Songshan Mountains to welcome Batuo, who translated many Buddhist documents and had several hundred followers there.

“Shao” refers to the Shaoshi Mountain, one of the two mountains in Songshan Mountain Range. “Lin” means “forest”. “Shaolin Temple” literally means a temple in the forest of Shaoshi Mountain in Songshan Mountain Range.

Now Shaolin Temple is reputed as the Number One Temple under Heaven which was listed as UNESCO’s World Cultural & Natural Heritage List in 2010 as part of the “Historic Monuments of Dengfeng.” The temple is the cradle of the Chinese Zen Buddhism and the Shaolin Martial Arts.

Shaolin Temple is rated as a 5-star government appointed attraction which is well-organized in terms of its clear layout and signs, clean toilets and environment, and easy transportation. Basically your Shaolin Temple trip will take you around 3 hours covering three major sites including watching Shaolin Kung Fu Show for half hour, one hour visit to Shaolin Temple itself and half hour visit to the Pagoda Forest.

The linear travel route is about 2-3km which takes much walking. If you don’t have strong legs, you may use the shuttle bus Service at RMB 10 for one way trip within the compound.

The main gate to Shaolin Temple, the stone archway with a huge rock in its front carved with the words “Shaolin Culture, People’s Heritage” by former Chinese president Jiang Zeming.

The main gate to Shaolin Temple, the stone archway

The main gate to Shaolin Temple, the stone archway

On your left side by the gate is the ticket office with an ancient style of structure. Admission Fee: RMB 100 and Opening Hours: 08:10 to 17:30

The ticket office

The entry gate is divided into three sub-gates – Group Entry, No-smoking Entry and Individual Entry.

Group Entry, No-smoking Entry and Individual Entry

Once you enter the attraction compound, you will first walk by Shaolin Tagou Martial Arts School. The Ta Gou Kung Fu School, one of the largest kung fu schools in China, is the only one kung fu school which owns and practices on land below the Shaolin Temple. It has over 400 classes and has trained over 50,000 kung fu students.

The Ta Gou Kung Fu School

The Ta Gou Kung Fu School

Students are training on one of the playgrounds nearby of The Ta Gou Kung Fu School. Soon you will walk past the Shaolin Kung Fu Show Theatre which is located not far from the main entrance. There are 5 fixed daily performances at the theatre. The kung fu show lasts half hour including a few minutes’interaction on the part of the visitors and the actors. 

Kung Fu Show Time Table

Morning Kung Fu Show
9:30 – 10:00
11;30 – 12:00
Afternoon Kung Fu Show
14:00 – 14:30
15:00 – 15:30

16:00 – 17:30

So well schedule your visiting time in Shaolin Temple, avoiding losing the exciting kung fu show. The Kung Fu Show is performed by the professional performance team from Shaolin Tagou Kung Fu School. Shaolin Kung fu is the most influential martial arts schools in China. In the less than half performance, you will see “Shaolin Boxing” and “Shaolin Stick” typical of Shaolin Kungfu.

The Shaolin Kung Fu Show Theatre

The Shaolin Kung Fu Show Theatre

The most impressing performance is Tongzigong. Tongzigong” literally means “children’s kung fu”, a form of qigong exercise needing flexibility, part of Shaolin Kung Fu classes. It is learned at very early age and must be practiced before the body becomes matured and grown up.

Tongzigong

Tongzigong

You may watching the show before or after visiting other major sites like Shaolin Temple and Pagoda Forest. Then you continue to walk on the main road approaching Shaolin Temple.

Shanmen Hall is the first hall serving as an entrance to the temple. Hung on its top is a placard inscribed with ”Shaolin Temple”. The hall enshrines the Maitreya Buddha with 18 Buddhist Arhats standing along the eastern and the southern walls of the hall.

Shanmen Hall

Shanmen Hall

Next, walking along the axis, you will come across the Hall of Heavenly Kings with magnificent structure, enshrining the four heavenly kings.

the Hall of Heavenly Kings

Then comes the Mahavira Hall, which houses the Buddha Shakyamuni.

the Mahavira Hall

Standing in Snow Pavilion, enshrining the second abbot of Shaolin Temple – Monk Huike who stood in the snow with his left arm cut in order to study the buddhism from Dharma.

Standing in Snow Pavilion

Standing in Snow Pavilion

Shaolin Temple is full of prominent Chinese architectures, stela and tablets. If you are interested in Chinese traditional culture, you may find a lot to see and study inside Shaolin Temple.

Shaolin Temple is full of prominent Chinese architectures, stelae and tablets

Outside the temple and move on to the next big attraction – Pagoda Forest, a graveyard for the monks through the ages.

Pagoda Forest

Actually there are more to see in Shaolin Temple beside the major attractions mentioned above, like the Dharma Cave and so on. At the end of your trip, you may walk back to the entrance or pay RMB 10 to take a shuttle bus from Pagoda Forest to the entrance.

Shuttle Bus inside Shaolin Temple compound

Shuttle Bus inside Shaolin Temple compound

If you want to continue to visit Dengfeng where Zhongyue Tempple and Songyang Academy are located, you may take the bus no.08 across the road by Shaolin Temple to Dengfeng City.

Tip:  Hassle-free Luoyang Guided Tours
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If you don’t want to go the do-it-yourself route and prefer the hassle-free escorted tours,  here are some options for Luoyang Guided Tours:

Luoyang One Day Private Tour  Starting US$ 60 per person
Luoyang- Shaolin One Day Private Tour  Starting US$ 60 per person
Luoyang – Shaolin 2 Day Private Tour Packages  Starting US$ 150 per person

Beijing Luoyang 2 Day Round Trip Tour       Starting US$ 280 per person
Beijing Luoyang Shaolin Temple 2 Day Round Trip Tour  Starting US$ 290
Beijing Luoyang ( Shaolin ) 3 Day Tour – Round Trip by Flight Starting US$ 610 per person

Further Readings


Top 10 Attractions in Luoyang
Where to Stay in Luoyang
Luoyang Museum Guide
Museum of Luoyang Eastern Zhou Royal Horse and Chariot Pits
How to visit White Horse Temple
How to Visit Shaolin Temple
Longmen Grottoes Travel Tips
Kung Fu Show at Shaolin Temple

Any questions,  just drop a line.

Dengfeng Tour

Thursday, March 8th, 2012
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If you are planning Luoyang tour, you are highly recommended to make a full day Dengfeng tour from Luoyang. Maybe Dengfeng sounds a little unfamiliar to you, but you definitely have some basic knowledge of Shaolin Temple, which is the cradle of Chinese kung fu and Chinese Zen Buddhism. In fact, Shaolin Temple is under the jurisdiction of Dengfeng City in Henan Province in central China.

Thare are to more to see in Dengfeng than Shaolin Temple. Dengfeng is located at the foot of Mt.Songshan between Luoyang (80km) and Zhengzhou (80km). It is a nationally famous tourist city including such famous attractions as Zhongyue Temple and Songyang Academy in addition to the world famous Shaolin Temple.

The combination of 11 of the most famous sites across Dengfeng was listed on UNESCO World Heritage List under the title “Historic Monuments of Dengfeng in “The Centre of Heaven and Earth”.” The World Heritage Site includes Zhongyue Temple (Buddhism) and Songyang Academy (and Shaolin Temple and more.

Dengfeng literally means “Ascend Mt.Songshan and give Mt.Songshan a title of Middle Heaven King”. Dengfeng was named by Empress Wu Zetian of the Tang Dynasty (618-907).  Different from the other ancient emperors, who always conferred titles on Mt. Taishan. Empress Wu Zetian visited Mt. Songshan and gave it the title of “Holy Mountain”. Emperess Wu Zetian had ascended Mt.Songshan for 10 times.

Travel to Shaolin Temple overland is the only choice of transportation at the moment. You may prebook a taxi or rent a private car from local travel agency in Luoyang, which costs you around RMB 600 for a round trip.

For money saving and more interactive contact with the locals as well, you may go to Shaolin Temple by taking the long-distance bus from Luoyang Long-distance Station which is located across Luoyang Railway Station in the city center. Plentiful buses pass by Shaolin Temple. Just get up early and buy your bus ticket on the spot from Luoyang to Shaolin Temple.

Most of the Shaolin Temple bound buses run on National Highway No.207 and Shaolin Temple is just located by the highway 80km from Luoyang. Actually many long-distance buses work as shuttle buses along the highway passing numerous villages. Don’t be surprised when your bus will stop when there are people waving hands by the roadside if your bus still have some vacancies which your bus driver definetely wants to fill in for maximizing the profit.

Chinese are “noisy” people. On your bus, the passengers around you will talk loudly, even shout and eat, making the bus like their homes and ignoring the existence of others on the bus. So just keep your patience, be tolerant and “enjoy” your travel experience on a long-distance bus in China!

On the way to Shaolin Temple from Luoyang

On the way to Shaolin Temple from Luoyang

The main gate to Shaolin Temple, the stone archway with a huge rock in its front carved with the words “Shaolin Culture, People’s Heritage” by former Chinese president Jiang Zeming.

The main gate to Shaolin Temple, the stone archway

The main gate to Shaolin Temple, the stone archway

See my travel blog – Shaolin Temple Tour for more detailed travel information.

After visiting Shaolin Temple, I walk across the national highway No.207 passing by the entrance to Shaolin Temple aboard the Public Bus No.8 running from Shaolin Temple to the city center of Dengfeng. Now it is late February, still a low tourist season and there are not so many passengers on the bus.

There are not so many passengers on the bus from Shaolin Temple to Dengfeng. 

I soon arrive at Dengfeng, which is located at the southern foot of Mount Song with a population of 640,000 (2010). It has a total area of 1220 Square kilometers, 56km long from east to west and 35.5km from north to south. Dengfeng City is regarded as a city of China’s Martial Arts as well as a city where three Chinese religions are converged including Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism.

The city of Dengfeng is quite clean and well organized.

The city of Dengfeng is quite clean and well organized.

This is the largest hall in Zhongyue Temple – Junji Palace dedicated to the God of Mount Song

Junji Palace dedicated to the God of Mount Song

See my travel blogZhongyue Temple Tour for more travel information.

Songyang Shuyuan is known in English as Songyang Academy, which was a type of private school in ancient China. Different from national-level academy and district-level schools, shuyuan (academies) were usually private establishments constructed away from towns and cities, offering a quiet environment where scholars and students could pursue learning, studies and thinking without outside distractions.

The shuyuan (academies) originated in the Tang Dynasty ( 618-907) and further developed in the successive dynasties of Song, Ming, Qing. They were places where scholars could teach and study the classics.

Songyang Academy was named “Songyang Temple” when it was originally built in Beiwai Dynasty (484AD). In Sui Dynasty, it was renamed “Songyang Taoist Temple”.  In 1035, it was rebuilt and renamed “Songyang Academy”. Many famous confucian scholars  came here lecturing and studying. Songyang Academy was known as one of the Four Great Academies of the Northern Song (960–1127‎) almost in the same period when University of Oxford 1096 was founded in the UK.

Songyang Academy was listed as World Culture Heritage together with other famous sites including Shaolin Temple and Zhongyue Temple under the title “Historic Monuments of Dengfeng” in “The Centre of Heaven and Earth” in 2010.

Classrooms at Songyang Academy

Classrooms at Songyang Academy

See my travel blog – Songyang Academy Tour for more travel information.

Any questions, just drop a line.