Lotus lover shares walking routes to appreciates the vibrant blooms
No one knows lotuses better than 60-year-old Chen Laidi, who has been painstakingly releasing lotus seeds into the West Lake for more than 43 years. Now that the lake is ablaze with vibrant lotus flowers. Chen recommends three routes for appreciating the undulating lotus blooms, as Wu Huixin finds out.
Broken Bridge – Beishan Road – Xiling Bridge – Autumn Moon over the Calm Lake
The Broken Bridge has for centuries been luring streams of visitors to appreciate the lotus's beauty, elegance and fragrance. As the lotuses grow in ponds and lakes, the usual way most people see them is by looking down from a distance. Broken Bridge is considered the best spot to overlook the blossoms.
Start your lotus-viewing walk at the bridge and go on along Beishan Road, where you can see flocks of shutterbugs taking pictures of the flowers. The road is shadowed by tall plane trees that make it ideal for strolling in any season, even on sizzling days.
Crossing the Xiling Bridge, visitors will enter the area of the Solitary Hill, also known as Gushan in Chinese, a natural islet on the West Lake featuring picturesque views and abundant historical relics. It connects two causeways and the Xiling Bridge.
Do not turn to the Su Causeway, but keep walking along Gushan Road. Then you will arrive at the Autumn Moon over the Calm Lake scenic spot, one of the top 10 West Lake views, which is known as the best place to appreciate the moon.
In summer, it is one of the best places to appreciate lotus blossoms.
Broken Bridge-Beishan Road – Xiling Bridge – Breeze-ruffled Lotus at Quyuan Garden – Su Causeway-Nanshan Road
If you choose to head for the Su Causeway when standing at the Xiling Bridge, then you will walk down the second route recommended by Chen.
When prominent poet Su Dongpo (1037–1101) served as the Hangzhou chief, he dredged the West Lake and built this causeway, which helped the farmers deal with drought issues. Today, the causeway still bears his surname.
The Breeze-ruffled Lotus at Quyuan Garden is a scenic spot at the north end of the causeway. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in summer as it has 10 lotus ponds of various sizes and shapes, featuring dozens of species. Every summer, a tea stall will be set up at the gate of the garden, offering freshly brewed lotus leaf tea to passersby for free.
Lotuses are used in traditional Chinese medicine to clear internal heat and stimulate fluids.TCM practitioners believe that the body's inner heat becomes excessive and has to be removed during summer. Lotus leaves are considered the simplest ingredient to cool down the inner yang (hot energy).
Drink a cup of tea and keep walking along the Su Causeway. At the south end of the causeway, you can sea a lotus sea dotted with pink, white and yellow flowers. It gained a great reputation during the Song Dynasty (960-1279) when renowned poet Yang Wanli wrote a poem eulogizing the beauty of the flower sea.
King Qian's Temple – Three Pools Mirroring the Lake
The temple honors King Qian Liu (AD 852-932), who reigned during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period (AD 907-979). Qian and his successors built hydraulic infrastructure and encouraged the development of local farming, which laid the foundation and layout of modern-day Hangzhou.
In ancient times, people would linger over the flowering lotuses by boat. Floating on the serene water was a joy for the body and mind, which was often eulogized by poets throughout dynasties.
Today tourists can rent a Hangzhou-style gondola, a rowing boat operated by a boatman, or board an antique-style pleasure boat at the pier near the temple.
The cruise avoids the jammed traffic around the West Lake, offering tourists a much more tranquil route deep into the flower sea.
Tourists can feel the breeze stroking their faces, enjoy the floral landscape and fill their lungs with fresh air.