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Zhenjiang Jinshan Mountain (Jinshan Temple) Travel Guide


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Jinshan Temple (金山寺, Gold Mountain Temple), also known as flying dragon temple, is indispensable to the renown of Jinshan Hill Park. This temple can be traced back as early as the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317-420), and has had a history of more than 1,600 years. The temple was known as Zexin Temple or Longyou Temple; however, people have been calling it Jinshan Temple since the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Jinshan Temple was built according to the mountain features. All the pavilions, terraces and towers are in harmony with their surroundings. Jinshan Temple is also a Buddhism holy land. It is amongst the four most famous Buddhist temples in China. The temple was visited by many emperors who left their calligraphy as praise for this temple; for example, the tablet at the entrance of the temple was written by Emperor Kangxi in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Besides the beautiful scenes, many legends are associated with this park, too. Besides Jinshan Temple, many other places of great interest can be found. Cishou Pagoda is in the northwestern area of the park, on top of which you have a bird's eye view of the park and surroundings from different directions. Spring Zhongling is to the west of Jinshan Temple. Many poets and articles were written to praise its water because the flavor of tea is more scented when people boil it with the water in this spring.

Jinshan Temple of Zhenjiang is a temple with rich legends and myths, and is familiar with most people by the moving legend of the lady white snake. It is a widely spread legend happened in the temple. This story mainly tells about the love story between Bai Suzhen, who was a magic snake and changed herself into a beautiful girl, and Xu Xian who was forced by Monk Fahai to be a monk in Jinshan Temple at the latter part of the story. It is this story that makes most Chinese people get to know Jinshan Temple. Today, visitors can see the statue of Chan master Fahai in Fahai hollow; though Fahai is a negative character in the legend, he has performed meritorious deeds in the founding of Jinshan Temple. Except for the White Snake, the legends of Liang Hongyu and Yuefei (a national heroine and a national hero in Song Dynasty) are popular among the local.

Jinshan Hill Park may be visited during any season of the year. On every New Year's Eve, from midnight of December 31st to the early morning of January 1st, people usually come to toll the bell in Jinshan Temple to pray for good luck in the coming year. The Jinshan Hill Park Tourism Festival is held yearly from September to October.

Jinshan Mountain was originally an islet in the Yangtze River. Through centuries of silting, the riverbed rose higher and higher until the island became a peninsula, part of the land. Jinshan Mountain is located in the northwest of Zhenjiang, Jiangsu. It is about 44 meters high. There are over thirty scenic spots on the mountain. Throughout history, the mountain has gained its fame for its beautiful landscape, its important status in relation to Buddhism as well as having soul-stirring legends. Jinshan Temple, Spring Zhongling, and Jintian Garden are among the most famous scenic spots. At the summit of Jinshan stands the elegant Tower of Benevolence and Longevity. It is an octagonal shape with seven tiers and from the uppermost tier tourists find themselves above the tree line, and, unfurling below them, a marvelous view of Zhenjiang and the Yangtze River. On the hillside is a temple more than 1,500 years old. In its prime, it was the home of 3,000 monks. The architecture is quite unique. Built according to the contour of the slope, the halls, towers and pavilions seem to be a natural part of the hill.

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