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Located in the east islands (Zhoushan Archipelago) of Zhejiang Province, Putuoshan Mountain (Mount Putuo, Putuo Mountain) is the abode of Avalokitesvara and one of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains in China with Mount Emei in Sichuan, Mount Jiuhua in Anhui and Mount Wutai in Shanxi. Putuoshan Mountain fully shows the beauty of both mountain and sea, so it is recognized as a National AAAAA Scenic Area and honored as the Buddhist Kingdom on the Sea and the Sacred Land of the South China Sea.
The original religious activity of Mount Puotuo is traced back to Qin Dynasty (BC 221 - 201) when the Taoist immortals practiced alchemy here, and the relic sites can be still found today. In 847 (Tang Dynasty), one foreign monk visited Chaoyin Cave and felt the avatars of Avalokitesvara. During Song and Yuan Dynasties, Putuoshan Mountain developed soon and became prosperous. In its heyday, it was known as the No. 1 Buddhist Kingdom in China and enjoyed 4 grand temples, 106 small temples, 139 huts as well as 4654 monks.
Puji Temple is the main temple of Putuoshan Mountain and all important Buddhist activities are held here. Covering an area of 37,019 square meters, it contains Grand Yuantong Palace, Hall of Heavenly Kings, Depository of Buddhist Sutras and 357 other buildings. Grand Yuantong Palace is the main hall which houses an 8-meter-high statue of Guanyin surrounded by 32 Bodhisattva with different costumes in a variety of poses on east and west walls. Haiyin Pond in Puji Temple was a free life pond full of spring water primitively and now a lotus pond. At the night of summer, the gorgeous lotus and bright moonlight compose an attractive picture making you hesitated to leave. There is a large vegetarian canteen serving up humble temple food to visitors, but the mealtime is a little early, breakfast at 5:30, lunch at 10:00 and dinner at 16:40.
Fayu Temple was built along the uphill with grand building groups and extraordinary manners. It got such a name in that you could see amazing relives of nine dragons are fighting for pearl on the screen wall before the gate of Halls of Heavenly Kings. Among the 294 halls of Fayu Temple, Nine Dragons Guanyin Palace(also called Grand Yuantong Palace), said to be a Buddhist Temple transported from the imperial palace of Ming Dynasty, acts as the most magnificent one. The highlighted part of this palace must be the Nine Dragons Caisson Ceiling. With unique shapes and vivid images, it enjoys high artist value and is listed in Three Treasures of Putuoshan Mountain.
Huiji Temple is perched in Foding Mountain, the highest peak of Putuoshan Mountain. Hidden in a luxury forest, Huiji Temple features in peaceful environment. You need to cover 1088 stone steps or take a cable car to get to the temple. The halls and yards of Huiji Temple were constructed in traditional Garden-Architecture Style in Zhejiang and Jiangsu In the Grand Palace is worshipped Shakyamuni with his two disciples. Southeast of the Grand Palace is a Bell Tower with double eaves. Climbing to the top of the tower and ringing the big bell, you will get a good luck. As you stand in the peak of Bell Tower, have a distant view of the mountains, sea, reefs, beaches and buildings. In the whole temple, statues, carvings and pictures of Guanyin can be found everywhere. The images of Guanyin in thousands of poses must catch your eyes and are honored the essence of Buddhist art in Putuoshan Mountain.
Putuoshan Mountain has nine scenic areas totally and Purple Forest Scenic Area is the most popular one. It lies in the southeast part of Putuoshan Mountain.
Chaoyin Cave is about 30 meters in depth and half of the cave is immersed in the seawater. Then entrance of the cave like a big mouth is faced with the sea. As the waves splashed on the cave and the tidal water flocks into the cave, you can hear the thunderous sound. When the sunny day come, charming rainbow in cave adds much fun to the temple. In Song Dynasty, Buddhist pilgrims always pray here for this cave is believed to be holy. On the left side of Chaoyin Cave is a small pond named Light Pond. According to the legendary, one Queen Mother in Ming Dynasty dispatched someone to get water to treat her eye disease from this pond. Magically, after washing her eye with water, she recovered her sight again.
In 863, a Japanese monk called Hui E (慧锷) aimed to carry a statue of Avolokitesvara from Mount Wutai to his country by ship. However, he has been prevented by the stormy waves for several times. He began to believe that Avolokitesvara didn’t want to leave here, and left the statue in Putuoshan Mountain. Soon, the Not-willing-to-leave temple was built. Close to the Chaoyin Cave stands a Buddhist temple – Not-willing-to-leave Guanyin Temple which was the earliest abode of Guanyin. Humble as it is, Not-willing-to-leave Guanyin Temple is prosperous in a fragrant cloud of incense.
Standing in the south Shuangfeng Peak, Statue of Standing Nanhai Guanyin is the largest outdoor statue of Guanyin in Asia. With an 18-meter-high statue, 2-meter-high lotus and 13-meter-high foundation, the whole structure has two stories in its foundation. The first story displays elegant bonze carvings and wooden carvings while the second story houses 500 statues of Guanyin in different poses. The body of Guanyin is forward about 15 degrees which means that she wants to have a closer sight of his followers. It is a new cultural landscape completed in 1997. On the consecrating day, a strange nature phenomenon happened. Before the consecrating ceremony, the sky was full of dark cloud and it seemed that it would rain soon. However, as the ceremony began, it became sunny as if two hands pushed aside the clouds. Seeing this unbelievable scene, the people all prostrated themselves in worship. In every year, many Buddhist adherents come here and pay a sincere homage to Nanhai Guanyin.
Pantuo Stone is made up of two stacked stones which seems swaying. In fact the stone is so firmly and it can hold 30 people in the top at the same time. There goes a legend that Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva has been sit here in meditation before he went to Mount Jiuhua. There was a hip-print he left on the surface of the rock. The spring flowing for the gorge was divided into two streams flowing along the two sides of Pantuo Stone making an interesting Water Curtain Cave. As the sunglow falls, the stone is colored to shining gold. If you climb to the peak of the stone, you can get a better sight of connected sky and sea.
The sand in in One Hundred Steps Golden Beach is golden, pure and soft, just like a carpet. The waves splash on the beach day after day, making a rhythmed sound ceaselessly. The board water with little rocky reefs is a wonderful attraction for swimming-lovers. Swimming is only allowed in daytime between May and August. It will be more pleasant to walk on the beach barefoot. Stepping in the tender sand and letting the waves touch your feet, you will be more than comfortable and relaxed. When night comes, the pure sky bestrewed with resplendent star will give a life-long memory.
There are three big days in Putuoshan Mountain, Lunar 19th February, 19th June and 19th September are the birthday, enlightenment day and Memorial Day of becoming a Buddhist of Guanyin. In each of the three days, thousands of Buddhist followers gather in Putuoshan Mountain. The whole island shows a solemn and sacred atmosphere with lights brilliantly illuminated all the night and the voice of chanting the sutras lasts long. In the night before the day or the early morning, the believers make three-step-one-bow pilgrimage to climb the mountain, sincerely and devoutly.
Impression Putuo is a large-scale live you directed by noted Zhang Yimou (张艺谋). The site of Impression Putuo is Zhujiajian Island which was an important abode of Guanyin. In the theatre, a 69-meter-high mural of Guanyin on the cliff looks sacred and amiable. Combined with the geographic feature, this wonderful performance gives the spectators a great feast. Watching the well-arranged light, shadow and sound, you can experience the perfect visual feast and Buddhist art. Through the nature, love and benevolence expressed by the show, you can deeply feel the beauty of life.
Fee: 238 RMB for standard seat, 298 RMB for VIP seat and 888 for Honorable Seat.
Time: 20:00 (entering in 19:30)
Adress: Impression Putuo Theatre in Zhujiajian Island
>>Check more about Top 7 Impression Shows in China
One day tour must focus on the most highlighted attractions. Visiting Purple Bamboo Forest first as you arrive in Putuoshan Mountain in the morning. In this scenic area you can pay homage to the Statue of Nanhai Guanyin and a visit to Not-willing-to-leave Guanyin Temple. Then take the sightseeing bus to and Fayu Temple to have a deep Buddhist culture experience. After that, take a cable car to Foding Mountain and have an overview of this island. Next, explore Puji Temple . Then get back to the wharf to take a boat to leave and this one day tour ends.
Day 1: Start your visit from the dock to Puji Temple and enjoy the beautiful pond for Lotus. Then Take a Bus to One Thousand Step Beach where you can have a leisurely walk. Next, transfer to Purple Bamboo Forest for Not-willing-to-leave Guanyin Temple. You will also reach the Statue of Nanhai Guanyin which is the landmark of Putuoshan Mountain.
Day 2: Take the sightseeing bus to Fayu Temple first and feast on the beautiful Nine Dragons Caisson. After climbing the 1,088 steps to get the Foding Mountain, pay a visit to Huiji Temple. Then take the cable car to get down and transfer to the sightseeing bus to the dock.
Putuoshan Mountain enjoys an oceanic climate. The lowest temperature is about -5℃ and the average temperature in summer is 29.3℃. With beautiful sea, blue sky and enough sunshine, Putuoshan Mountain is worth visiting in every season. If you want to enjoy the amazing sea and beach, June, July and September are most recommended. If you are interested in Buddhist activities, go to Putuoshan Mountain in the Buddhist Fair Festivals (Lunar 19th February, 19th June and 19th September). Visiting Putuoshan Mountain journey in other days, you will miss the crowd and enjoy a more peaceful journey.
Putuoshan Mountain is located in an isle which can ONLY reached by boat or cruise. In Banshengdong Wharf (半升洞码头) of Shenjiamen Village (in southeast Zhoushan City), Wugongzhi Wharf (蜈蚣峙码头) of north Zhujiajian Island (another island in Zhoushan) and Daxie Island (大榭岛in east Ningbo), you can easily take a speed boat or cruise to Putuoshan Mountain.
There are also direct steamships starting from Wusong Wharf(吴淞码头) of Shanghai at about 20:00 to Putuoshan Mountain within 12 hours. You need to book the ticket in advance. Speed boat is accessible in the Luwei Wharf (芦苇码头) of Shanghai and it takes you to Mount Putuo within 3 hours.
To Ningbo Lishe International Airport: There are frequent flights from capital cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Xian, Guilin, Chengdu etc. to Ningbo Lishe International Airport in which you could take a shuttle bus to Banshendong Wharf.
To Putuoshan Airport: Putuoshan Airport is built in Zhujiajian Island with several minutes’ drive from Wugongzhi Wharf. At present, there are 11 available flights connects Zhoushan with some cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Ximen, Tianjing etc.
Take a coach from Ningbo Zhongba South Station to Shenjiamen Village, and then transfer to Banshendong Wharf.
In Ningbo Bus South Station, you could buy a combination ticket of coa and cruise, by which lots of time will be saved. The whole journey takes about 2.5 hours.
There are also daily coaches starting from Shanghai South Bus Station to Shengjiamen Bus Station. Take a public bus and you can get to Banshengdong Wharf with 20 minutes.
If you want to get rid of hustle of public transportation and troublesome navigation, you can book a private tour package which covers sightseeing, dining and transfer from us. Our knowledgeable local tour guide and skilled driver will escort you to Putuoshan Mountain with speed and convenience, and take care of all the details. You just need to focus on sightseeing.
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Shanghai / Putuoshan / Shanghai
Shanghai / Putuoshan / Hangzhou
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[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >