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Ten Scenes of the West Lake

06-26-2012 15:06 BJT

New Ten Views of West Lake

Inquiring About Tea at Dragon Well

Dragon Well Tea is well known worldwide, the water of dragon well is sweet and nice. The green tea of here enjoys very high reputation since Ming Dynasty. Dragon Well is formally called the Dragon pool. In ancient time, local people believed that this well connected with the sea and a dragon lived inside. Dragon Well is one of the five famous West Lake springs. Dragon Well spring water gushes out from a rockfact to collect in the well and flow on through cracks in the rocks. To have a seat and enjoy a cup of Dragon Well tea beside the Dragon Well, what a wonderful experience it is.

Dragon Well is a circular pond 2 meters in diameter, the spring water drains down to a brook along the Yingma bridge, Huangni Hill and finally winds it way into West Lake through Mao Jia Bu. What is more interesting to see is a “dividing line” on the surface of the well water when it is stirred, a line that, like a hair spring and disappears slowly. 

Dragon Well tea is well- known for its four special features: green color, fragrant aroma, sweet taste and smooth even appearance. West Lake green tea has four varieties named Lion, Dragon, Cloud and Tiger. Among them, Lion and Dragon Well Tea is the best.

During his visit to Fair South, the Qing emperor Qianlong designated “Eight Scenes of Dragon Well” with his inscription for each scene. The best well known one is Pavilion of Going beyond the Brook, which is constructed on Tiger Brook Bridge.

Clouds Scurrying over Jade Emperor Hill

Jade Emperor Hill stands between the West Lake and Qiantang River with an elevation of 239 meters. In Tang Dynasty, it was called as “Jade Pillar Hill” and changed to “Yuewang Hill” in Five Dynasties. The present name was given in Ming Dynasty when a Taoist temple called Lucky Star was built on the hill and a shrine of Jade Emperor put in it. It was known as one of the three Taoist temples at West Lake in the late Qing Dynasty. Standing on the top of the hill, you can enjoy a very nice view of the hill-bordering West Lake and the sail studded Qiantang River. Currently, a pavilion called “Ascend-the-Cloud ” was built on the top. Climbing up the pavilion, you will see the clouds scurrying past your feet. Therefore this scene is called as “Clouds Scurrying over Jade Emperor Hill”.

The top of the hill can be reached by a more-than-4-kilometers long road which winds its way 2.5 times around the hill, or by a 2600-steps footpath. The major attractions on the hill include Purple Source Cave, Eight Trigrams Field and Seven-Star Pavilion. Purple Source Cave, one of the “seven ancient caves of West Lake”, locates on the half-way up the hill and has another deed cave containing three different size ones. In front of the cave, there is a nice garden with rockery. Looking down from the garden, you can see the Eight Trigrams Field. This field situates at the southern foot of Jade Emperor Hill and it is said to have been tended by a emperor himself during the Southern Song Dynasty. Above the Purple Source Cave, there is Seven -Star Pavilion. Originally, seven iron vats which were arranged in the form of the Big Dipper stood beside the pavilion. It was believed this kind of arrangement can control the Fire Dragon or fires in Hangzhou.

Heavenly Wind over Wu Hill

Wu Hill situates at the end of hills around the lake, is made up of 10 or more peaks. It stretches for several miles and extends into the downtown. Besides, it is locally called Chenghuang Hill. It is also a place where you can enjoy different scenes in different seasons for it is covered with a rich variety of trees and flowers. There are a lot of odd-shaped rocks and inscriptions on the hill. A strange cluster of rocks which is known as the “Twelve Animal Stones” appears like the twelve animals in the Chinese lunar calendar symbolizing the different years in which people are born: rat, ox, tiger, hare, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and hog, and it is also called as the “Twelve Peaks of Witch Hill”. On the hill, there are many camphor trees . One of them, the oldest one, “Song Camphor”, stands in front of a hilltop teahouse which is called “Tea Aroma Tower”, is more than 800 years old.

On the top of Wu Hill, there is a pavilion where you can have a view of both Qiantang River and West Lake as the hill locates between Qiantang River and West Lake. Walking out of the pavilion, you can see an inscription lauding a huge rock as “No. One Peak of Wu Hill” by Zhu Xi, an famous educationist of the Southern Song Dynasty. Recently, Panoramic View Pavilion and Tea Aroma Tower were built on the Wu Hill. Furthermore ginkgo, Chinese sweet gum, pine tree and evergreen camphor were planted all over the hill to accompany the “Song Camphor”. All these create a more attractive appearance of Wu Hill because the new scene blends perfectly with the old.

Dreaming of Tiger Spring at Hupao Valley

Situated at the foot of Daci Hill southwest to the West Lake, Tiger Spring ranks the third best in China. “Dragon Well Tea” and “Tiger Spring water” are rated as two uniqueness of the West Lake. According to the experts, the mineralization of the spring water is as low as 0.02 - 0.15 gram in every liter because the water is seeping through quartzite contains little dissolved matters. Therefore, its water is pure and clear. Tests show that the water is contributive to people’s health. 

This attraction is featuring the springs. Along the foot of the hill, there is a streamlet meandering. It is a pleasant experience to listen the spring there. Walking along the path, you will see a tiger status at the foot of the Luxuriant Green Cliff. From the left side of the cliff is the source of the spring. This place gives you a very happiness to watch the spring. Then, you can have a seat in a tea house near the cliff to enjoy a cup of Dragon Well green tea brewed in Tiger Spring water. You will find the spring water can bring out the best in each. It is called “spring taste”.

The major attractions of this area include: the Tiger Spring Temple, the Tiger Spring, the Luxuriant Green Cliff, the Five Dynasties Sutra Pillars, Tiger Status, “Hongyi ” Monk Tomb, the Hall of Jigong Monk, the Bell Towner and the Arhat Hall etc.

A legend goes that there used to be a monk who disguised himself as a carefree monk named “Daoji”. This monk is known as a Robin Hood in China who left a lot of popular stories. Now there is a Monk Ji Gong Memorial which is specially built to commemorate him. With the continuous renovation, the Tiger Spring Temple now is a very nice garden featuring the odd rocks and the sweet osthusman trees.

Nine Greeks Meandering Through a Misty Forest

As one of “New Top Ten”, this attraction is situated west of West Lake. It is locally called as Nine Greeks and Eighteen Gullies. Actually, all the creeks in this area have two originations, one at west is in Shizi Hill, and the other at east is in Yangmei Hill. Flowing to the south, they meander their way through Xu Village and then empty into the Qiantang River. In 1986, this area was developed and was chosen as one of the “New Ten Views of West Lake”. This attraction features waters and wooded hills. With serene rustic charms, it remains as natural as ever. It will be a good choice to make a walking tour of this attraction along the path in the valley. Four oft-quoted lines poem go like this: “The hills rang after range, the trails winding and climbing, the creeks murmuring and gurgling, the trees  high and lowly.”


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