September 14, 2009

The Pagoda Forest at Shaolin Temple stands at the foot of Shaoshi Mountain about half a kilometer west of Shaolin Temple in Henan Province. It is a concentration of tomb pagodas for eminent monks and abbots of the temple. A rough count shows more than 240 tomb pagodas of various sizes from the Tang, Song, Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties (618-1911), making it the biggest pagoda forest in China.

 

Most of the Pagoda Forest is stone and brick structures, ranging from one to seven storeys, less than fifteen meters high — much smaller than pagodas for Buddhist relics — and all carry the exact year of their construction and many carvings and inscriptions. They are in a variety of styles, but are mainly multi-eaved and of pavilion-style. Their shapes are varied, including polygonal, cylindrical, vase, conical and monolithic, making the pagoda forest an exhibition of ancient pagodas, carvings and calligraphy of various dynasties. Besides the pagoda forest there are many invaluable tomb pagodas scattered around the Shaolin Temple, including the Faro Pagoda built in 689 in the Tang Dynasty, the Tongguang Pagoda constructed in 926 in the Five Dynasties, the Yugong Pagoda erected in 1324 in the Yuan Dynasty, and the Zhaogong Pagoda built in the Ming Dynasty, which are gems among ancient pagodas.

 

Yugong Pagoda (Duke Yu Pagoda) located in the center of the Pagoda Forest, is a seven-storey hexagonal brick pagoda, commemorating the monk Fu Yu, the most famous abbot of the Zhongxing Shaolin Temple in the Yuan Dynasty. After he passed away, the then Yuan emperor granted him the title of duke. He was the only duke monk in the history of the Shaolin Temple. Due to Fu Yu’s contribution to the Zhongxing Temple, monks of the Shaolin Temple erected a stele before his pagoda with Chinese characters kai shan zu shi (the great founder).  

 

The Pagoda Forest is a rare treasure for later generations to study the history of Chinese ancient architecture, carving, calligraphy, art and religion. Besides, it is a scenic spot for tourists from home and abroad.

 

August 27, 2009

 

 

 

Zhengzhou, the tourist center of central China, is one of the eight ancient capitals of China and the capital city of Henan Province at present. Located at the east of the Songshan Mountain and at the south bank of the Yellow River, Zhengzhou has attracted numerous tourists from all over the world as the origin of Shaolin Kung fu, the native place of the Yellow Emperor or Huangdi and the marvelous shopping paradise. Being a famous city of rich culture and glorious history, with its booming economy, Zhengzhou is now an important modern open city of inland China, rising rapidly in business and trade. With her advantageous geographic position, it functions as an important bridge in the national economic development.
Located at the south bank of the Yellow River and the east of the Songshan Mountain, Zhengzhou connects Kaifeng, the ancient capital of seven dynasties, in the east, and Luoyang, the ancient capital of nine dynasties, in the west. With the Huanghuai Plain in the southeast, it has the typical continental monsoon climate of medium latitudes with distinct seasons as well as an annual average temperature of 14.3 ℃. Among the four seasons, the spring and the autumn are ideal for tourism.
As one of the earliest residential areas of the ancient Chinese, Zhengzhou is called the cradle of Chinese ancient civilization with her long history. It was once the first acknowledged capital city in the history of China named Bo in the Shang Dynasty and this brings the history of Chinese capitals 300 years earlier. Famous cultural remains include the Peiligang Ashes dating back to 8,000 years ago, the Yangshao Ashes to 5,000 years, the capital ruins of the Shang Dynasty to 3,500 years, the world famous Shaolin Temple and other 10 historic establishments under the protection of the national class. Famed tourist attractions of splendid landscape are the Songshan scenic area, the Yellow River tour area, the Huayuankou scenic area, the Native Place of Emperor Huangdi, the Huancuiyu scenic spot, the Imperial Mausoleums of the Northern Song Dynasty, the Native Place of Du Fu, the Kang Baiwan Manor, the Jinlu Ostrich Garden, etc. Many Chinese surnames such as Xu, Xiong, Xia, Zheng, Guo, Feng, Gong and, etc. originated on this land. Zhengzhou is also the birthplace of numerous historic celebrities including Xu You, Zichan, Han Fei, Du Fu, Bai Juyi, Zheng Qian, Li Jie, Gao Gong and so on.
There are more than 150 tour attractions of various types in Zhengzhou, characterized by beautiful natural scenery, heavy historical flavor, the origin of culture and the Chinese Kung fu. Among them, the world’s famous Songshan Shaolin Temple is regarded as the holy land of Chinese Buddhism as well as the cradle of Shaolin Kung fu. The Grand Sight of Yellow River, the Yellow River tour area and the Huayuankou tour area reveal a marvelous picture to tourists — the rich culture and the glorious history of the Yellow River and her colorful folk customs. The Native Place of Emperor Huangdi shows tourists a land which gave birth to Chinese civilization.
Zhengzhou, a city flavored with rich history, is the host of colorful folk customs and various festivals, among which are the impressive Zhengzhou International Shaolin Kung fu Festival, the Memorial Ceremony of Emperor Huangdi, the Crab Festival of the Yanming Lake, the Watermelon Festival of Zhongmou County, the Zhongyue Temple Fair, the Performance of Shaolin Kung fu, the Sightseeing in Xinzheng Dates area, etc.
Climate

 
Located at the south bank of the Yellow River and the east of the Songshan Mountain, Zhengzhou connects Kaifeng, the ancient capital of seven dynasties, in the east, and Luoyang, the ancient capital of nine dynasties, in the west. With the Huanghuai Plain in the southeast, it has the typical continental monsoon climate of medium latitudes with distinct seasons as well as an annual average temperature of 14.3 ℃. Among the four seasons, the spring and the autumn are ideal for tourism.