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Hangzhou Geling Hill Travel Guide


hangzhou geling hill
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Close to Boshi Hill, Geling Hill(葛岭) is another important destination around West Lake. With roughly 100 meters high, Geling is located on the west side of Baoshi hill. It was said that Ge Hong(葛洪, 284~364), one of Chinese most famous Taoists and greatest developers of Taoism in East Jin Period (317-420), used to make and refine the immortal medicament, or Dan Yao(丹药), which was an important channel of Taoism to get immortality or longevity of individual after a long-term spiritual and physical cultivation, in Geling, hence it was named after Ge Ling(The Hill of Ge Hong). The highest point of Geling is Chu Yang Tai(初阳台, Initial Sunrise Platform),which was also a building for refining or making immortal medicament. In Chinese history of philosophy and religion, Ge Hong was a crucial character. in memory of Ge Hong, the coming generation well preserved many old sites in Geling where Ge Hong lived in his late period of life such as Lian Dan Shan(炼丹山, Hill of Refining Immortal Medicament), Lian Dan Jin(炼丹井, Well of Refining Immortal Medicament) and Baopu Cottage(抱朴庐).

Geling Hill in Southern Song Dynasty(1127-1279) under the reign of Emperor Gaozong(赵构, 1107-1187) was developed to be one of the Imperial Gardens, and it also had an elegant name: Ji Fang Yuan(集芳园, Garden of Gathering Fragrance). During the reign of Emperor Lizong(赵昀, 1205 -1264), it was presented to Ji Sidao(贾似道), a spoiled and evil high official of Southern Song Dynasty and its name was changed to be Hou Le Yuan(后乐园, Garden of Later Pleasure). After the breakdown of Southern Song Dynasty, the whole garden was ruined and desolated. Later, the whole scenic spot was partially rebuilt and destroyed for many times. In 1984, Hangzhou Municipal Government reconstructed the whole scene and opened it to the public.

The most representative attraction of Geling is Baopu Taoist Temple, or Bao Pu Dao Yuan. It, together with Huang Long Dong(Yellow Dragon Cave, 黄龙洞) and Yu Huang(玉皇), is ranked Three Taoist Temples of West Lake, and currently, Baopu Taoist Temple also is one of 21 Key Taoist Temples of China. It is the only one in Hangzhou. By the way, Ge Hong was one of the supporters of Danding Branch(丹鼎派) of Taoism, and he stretched the material resources of Chinese traditional medicine to mineral substance. Therefore, Joseph Terence Montgomery Needham (1900 -1995), the famous British scholar, once highly spoke of this breakthrough and he said that one of the most important roots of chemistry is absolutely derived from China.

Chu Yang Tai or Initial Sunrise Platform is a two-storey pavilion style of building and is located on the top of Geling. Appreciating the West Lake from this point, all the scenes can be available wonderfully. It is said in the early October in Chinese lunar calendar, visitors can see the sunrise and moon at the same time, It is one of Ten Scenes of Qian Tang, and literarily named Ge Ling Chao Tun(葛岭朝暾), which means Geling Facing Sunrise. The original site of Chu Yang Tai was sponsored and built by Yang Shuying(杨叔英), a man from Wu County of Jiangsu Province, in 1915, and today’s building was a reconstructed one built in 1959. In pavilion, there is a huge stele with the calligraphic inscription of Chu Yang Tai, and three characters were written by Zhu Lesan(诸乐三, 1902—1984), a famous modern calligrapher and Chinese painting master. The opposite side of the stele is the historical records quoted from Xi Hu Zhi(西湖志, the Record of the West Lake).

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Editor: Julius from Mildchina
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