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The Fragrant Hills

The Fragrant Hills arm is one of the most delightful spots outside Beijing mad a visit there make a pleasant excursion. It is located in the northwest of Beijing, past the Summer Palace. and can be reached comfortably in an hour by car. There is an excellent restaurant in the pork, open every day, where you may eat h la carte without prior reservation. However, if you wish to make absolutely sure of a table, ask your guide or the hotel desk to call the restaurant at 819244. You can order a banquet if you wish or simply make a table reservation.

When you we traveling to the Fragrant Hills, you will pass by some interesting sites, some of which are accessible to visitors. Leaving Beijing, you take the road to the Summer Palace, follow the eat wall to the Jade Fountain with its two pagodas, then continue northwest. Soon after you will note the red-and-yellow roof of Ming Emperor Jing Tai’s Stele Tower on the north side of the road. Keep going northwest until you come to the crossroads. Turn right and follow the road leading north. The south road leads to Badachu, or the Eight Grit Sites, there are eight old temple. Soon you will come to the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, or Wofosi.

The Wofosi stands behind a three-arched portico; you reach it by following the stone path tined on either side by ancient cypress trees. The temple was founded under the Tang. but was enlarged and rebuilt several times during the centuries that followed. There used to be two reclining buddhas in the temple, Now little is left, as the original statues were smashed during the Cultural Revolution and replaced by one of Man Zedong. Man’s statue has since been removed, leaving only one bronze statue of the Buddha to see. This is probably a later copy of the original cast in 1331, but is still centuries old.

Return to the main road and proceed in the same direction, then turn right toward the hills. Soon you will come to a village; at the end of the village square take the right fork and follow it until you reach the Temple of Azure Clouds, or Biyunsi.

The Biyunsi was built in 1366. later fell into decline, and was there- after restored under the Ming. The Qing Emperor, Qian Long had the diamond throne pagoda built in 1792; this edifice-consisting of a terrace, a tall pagoda at the center, and six stupes around he perimeter-is still standing. However, of the pavilions onl two now house statues of the Buddha: the Hall of the Maitreya (Coming) Buddha, featuring a fine seated statue and the Hall of the Five Hundred Luoshan (to the left after passing through the Hall of the Five Pusas). Sun Yatsen’s body lay in the Biyunsi after he died, but was transferred to the mausoleum in Nanjing in 1929.

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