New ways to enjoy the beauty of Hangzhou

Wu Huixin
Hangzhou was once dubbed the "southeastern Buddhist country" thanks to its plethora of temples, grottoes and stone scriptures. Now is the great time to go!
Wu Huixin

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As a renowned tourist destination, Hangzhou features an abundance of scenic and cultural resources that are connected by the Metro. We will introduce attractions along 11 Metro lines and a well-rounded picture of the historical city.

Map of Metro Line 3

New ways to enjoy the beauty of Hangzhou
Hangzhou Metro Group

Starting from Xingqiao Station and ending at Chaowang Road Station, the first section of Metro Line 3 opened on February 21, covering about 21 kilometers and 13 stations.

The next two sections are still under construction.

Since the first section links the Gaoting Hill, the Grand Canal and the Xiangji Temple, these stations are designed with local features in a bid to echo them.

Xiangji Temple

Hangzhou was once dubbed the "southeastern Buddhist country" thanks to its plethora of temples, grottoes and stone scriptures.

Dating back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279), throngs of believers flocked to the city to burn incense at festivals to pray for good luck at harvest.

Due to its ideal location along the Grand Canal, the Xiangji Temple was always the first temple for visitors who entered the city along the watercourse in ancient times.

However, the temple has been wrecked many times over the centuries.

The present-day buildings were erected during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). A Song Dynasty pagoda still remains.

For years, the Xiangji Temple has had a history of catering to vegetarians with Buddhist beliefs.

Vegetarian food can also be tasty.

The temple hosts the Hangzhou Vegetarian Festival annually to showcase the best in local vegetarian fare.

Gastronomes can join the event in late October this year to find mouthwatering vegetarian food.

On the Laba Festival (the eighth day of the 12th lunar month), the Xiangji Temple always hands out free laba congee that contains varieties of grains, nuts and pulps to orphanages and nursing homes for the seniors.

The tradition has been carried down for centuries. Now, visitors can still taste authentic Xiangji-style congee at the annual festival.

How to get there: Get off at Xiangji Temple Station

New ways to enjoy the beauty of Hangzhou

Xiangji Temple

The Grand Canal

The Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal was created between the 5th century BC and the Sui Dynasty (AD 581-618), the longest artificial river in the world, stretching 1,776 kilometers.

In 2014, it was listed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

The 20-kilometer-long Hangzhou section features historic blocks of buildings.

By the 1990s, however, the centuries-old waterway had lost much of its charm, as cars and high-speed trains replaced travel on the ancient rivers.

Over the years, Hangzhou has tried to revive the canal's former splendor by restoring and reconstructing many of its historic buildings.

Some of the old neighborhoods have been restored and are now scenic attractions for tourists.

New ways to enjoy the beauty of Hangzhou

The 20-kilometer Hangzhou section of the Grand Canal features historic blocks of buildings.

Qiaoxizhi Street and Xiaohezhi Street, for example, have been renovated, and a variety of businesses in the area have prospered.

This area now has many ancient black-tiled houses with upturned eaves and carved beams which are characteristic of the Hangzhou section of the canal.

Many residents along the street have opened small teahouses, noodle restaurants or mahjong rooms in their homes.

Last year, Hangzhou government launched 16 projects, investing billions to develop cultural and leisure industries along the waterway.

The projects include a museum, parks, low-rent apartments, waterfront promenades and hotels, which are all designed to provide a shot in the arm to the canal and its culture.

How to get there: Get off at Xiangji Temple Station

Gaoting Hill

The hill in northeast of Hangzhou has been famous for its peach blossoms for centuries.

Over hundreds of years, the hill's picturesque scenery has drawn poets and writers including Su Shi, Bai Juyi, Lu You and Yu Dafu to write poem and prose to eulogize the landscape.

In ancient times, it was also a military fortress by virtue of its strategic location.

Today, this area still retains some old military relics dating to the Song Dynasty.

Unlike ancient war-ridden times, the present-day Gaoting Hill is a quaint paradise for farmers who live a relaxed life among temples and a tranquil environment.

If the weather gets warm, the area will soon be ablaze with vibrant peach blossoms.

You should go and enjoy a deep breath and listen to the birds twittering among the peach trees.

How to get there: Get off at Huangheshan Station

New ways to enjoy the beauty of Hangzhou

Blossoms in front of the historical buildings in Gaoting Hill area

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