Sonjiang is about 25 miles southwest of Shanghai, and about half-way to the northern border of Zhejiang Province. The main sight is the 160-foot high five-sided Wooden Pagoda, built in A D 1079. You may climb to the ninth landing but the stairs become very narrow as you proceed. There are Buddhist paintings on the third landing. The pagoda has a slight lean.
Outside of what was once the Temple of the Town Gods stands a Ming Screen. Built in A.D. 1370 to keep evil spirits from entering the temple, it is covered with glazed tiles and depicts a my]hill monster who tried to eat the sun. There are various other pavilions of recent origin in the park surrounding the site.
Outside of the west gate of the town is a place known as Zuipai Ci Garden, which means “the garden containing the pool of the drunken poet Li Bai.” No one knows whether the famous poet actually fell into the pool in a drunken state or simply became inebriated on the fore- shores, but the name stands The garden was first laid out in 1652. There is a small museum, an interesting stone engraving, and some pavilions of recent date.
Jiading, located 27 miles northwest of Shanghai, is on the new high- way linking the two cities. On this bus excursion, you will first go to region for its steamed dumpings.) In Jiading itself, you can see a Song Dynasty Pagoda, and the Quixiapu Garden that was first laid out in 1566 and rebuilt at various time over the centuries. The garden is of classical Ming style.
Northwest of the city stands the Temple of Confucius, first constructed under the Song in 1219. Even though one-third of the original buildings no longer exists, it still remains one of the largest temples of its type in South China. There is a small museum in the grounds. Dinghan Lake
is a large body of water—occupying approximately the same area as the city of Shanghai about 40 miles west of the capital. Its western foreshores form the boundary line between Shanghai Municipality and Zhejiang Province.
On this one-day bus excursion you pass through Qinmpu–with its Wanshou Pagoda–about 20 miles west of Shanghai. Then about eight miles further on you may visit the Gualawang Pagoda near the eastern foreshore of Dingshan Lake. Puji Bridge lies seven miles to the west.
About 250 acres of the lake’s foreshore are being developed into a recreation resort for locals and visitor. The architecture of the pavil- ions has the traditional upswept eaves of South China.
Of major interest is the 25-acre development known as the Grand view Garden, or Daguanyuan, a reproduction of the pavilions, gardens. ponds, aria bridges featured in the classical novel “Dream of the Red Chamber.” A visit here is a trip back into the classical China of centuries ago.