Last Wednesday, we went on a trip to Baoshi Hill, also known as Precious Stone Hill. It was located to the north of the West Lake and was very close to Broken Bridge.
At the beginning of the stone stairway leading up to the top of the hill, there stood an imposing archway built in the era of Republic of China in memory of a Southern Song Dynasty military general named Yue Fei (1103-1142). He was widely admired as a patriot and national hero in China. And it was said that there used to be a memorial temple for him at the foot of the hill but it was destroyed and the archway was the only thing left. And on the cliff in front of the archway, there were several caves. Housed inside were Buddhist sculptures carved in 1381 during Ming Dynasty. But unfortunately most of the statues were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution.
Walking up for a few minutes, we reached a spacious terrace where we saw the elegant Baochu Pagoda. It was built between 948 and 960 and initially had 9 storeys. Later between 998 and 1003, it was restored and was reduced to 7 storeys. After that, it was ruined and rebuilt for several times. And the current one was rebuilt in 1924 and it was solid.
After seeing the pagoda, we continued to the Haoma Rock. It was a bit challenging to climb up the rock as the trail was steep and narrow but it offered a very nice panoramic view of the West Lake which was worth the effort.
View from Hama Rock
Then we walked downhill along the stone trail for a few minutes to the Baopu Taoist Temple. This temple was dedicated to a famous Taoist in the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420). His name was Ge Hong. Allegedly, Ge Hong practiced Taoism and alchemy there for eternal life. He collected herbal medicine to cure the local people and added elixirs into drinking wells to keep people from epidemic deceases. He also helped to build the mountain roads. He was respected and remembered for the good deeds he had done for the local people. Thus the temple was built to memorize him. And the mountain range Geling was named after Ge Hong as well. There were many historic sites on Geling and many of them were connected with Ge Hong. The temple was circled by low yellow wall in the shape of waves. It contained several halls. The main hall housed the shrine of Ge Hong.
Entrance fee to the Taoist temple is CNY5 per person.
Shrine to Ge Hong
Baopu Taoist Temple
After visiting the temple, we walked down to the mountain foot and we were suddenly caught by the views in front of our eyes. We saw thousands of lotus leaves and flowers shaking gently in the summer breeze. Hangzhou was such a paradise that it was certainly worthy of its reputation as Heaven on earth.
Lotus flowers and leaves at West Lake
This route is very good for an afternoon leisure trip. We totally spent 1.5 hours. Precious Stone Hill and Baochu Pagoda do not need entrance fees and the Baopu Taoist Temple needs an admission fee which is CNY5 per person. After the trip, one could walk along the West Lake to take in the beautiful views.