Temples and pagodas In Hangzhou
- Six Harmonies Pagoda, (六和塔 Liùhé Tǎ)— Down by the Qiantang River, about a 15 minute cab ride from the lake in light traffic, but it is a pretty road to drive down through all the tunnels and tea fields. Besides the pagoda itself, which is arguably the most prominent of all the temples and pagodas in Hangzhou, there is an adjacent park with hundreds of realistic replicas of the world’s most famous pagodas, complete with mini-sized trees in front of the pagoda models.
- Lingyin Temple, (灵隐寺 Língyǐn Sì)— Meaning “heart of the soul’s retreat”, this temple west of the West Lake is an active Buddhist temple at the bottom of a hill. Nearby you can take a chairlift to the top of the hill where there is another temple (walking up is also an easy set of stairs below the chairlift). This is one of the 3 oldest and most famous temples in China. There are hundreds of Buddhist stone statues carved into the cliffs in the “Peak Flying from Afar” section next door.
- Leifeng Pagoda— Located on the shores of the southeast side of the lake and originally built in the year 977, all that remains of the original pagoda is the crumbling foundation, viewable from outside the glass case that it is housed in (Pagoda Remains Memorial Museum at the bottom floor of the pagoda). With escalators, elevators, and a totally new pagoda places on top of the foundation, there is not much to see within the pagoda itself; it was most recently rebuilt in 2000. However, the view of the city skyline is one of the best from here, and some of the smaller seating areas around the perimeter of the pagoda have a nice breeze and view of the structure. One of the 10 Scenes of the West Lake is “Leifeng Pagoda in Evening Glow”, but this is best viewed from a distance (across the lake) just after sunset. Keep in mind that the entry fee for the Leifeng Pagoda is very expensive (¥40/person, Oct 2008) and it’s not original, just rebuilt, so if your budget is not that huge, consider to not enter the Pagoda. You can still take pictures in front of it.
- Baochu Pagoda, (保俶塔 Bǎochù Tǎ) and the surrounding temples on this hill on the north side of the lake. You cannot climb the pagoda, but the view and surrounding Baoshi Hill are awesome.
- Jingci Temple— Off Nanshan Road, built in 954, the Jingci Temple has a huge 10-ton bell inside. Located on Nanping Road, they ring the bell 108 times here to ring in Chinese New Year. It is also rung every evening for much fewer times. Jingci Temple is the site of the legend of the miraculous well, which can be seen on the grounds of the temple.
- Jade Emperor Hill, (玉皇山公园 Yuhuang Shan Gong Yuan)— One of the least-visited sites in Hangzhou despite its somewhat central location. The main temple on top of the hill is currently under reconstruction (Aug 2008), but still offers a wonderful view of the city and lake below, and has a restaurant next door. There is another temple partway up the hill. The area can provide a quiet escape and a nice hike, as well as the chance to visit one of the few Daoist sites in the area (most other local temples are Buddhist). It is located directly south of Leifeng Pagoda. The main entrance isn’t far from the Silk Museum. If you are playing along with the “10 Scenes of the West Lake” scavenger hunt still, the one that applies to the top of this hill is “clouds flying over Jade Emperor Hill”.