With an area of 160 hectares, the Fragrant Hills Park is at the east foot of Little West Mountain, 20 kilometers (12 miles) northwest suburb of Beijing, which is a famous large-scale mountain forest park in Beijing. With a history of over 800 years, the Fragrant Hills Park was built in the 26th (1186) year of the Dading Period of the Jin Dynasty (1115 -1234), which has been opened as a park since 1956, and it’s a wonderful place to appreciate red maples in Beijing each fall.
What to See in Beijing Fragrant Hills Park
The Fragrant Hills Park is covered by forest, where the ridges and peaks rise one after another, with its highest peak (Incense-Burner Peak) of 557 meters (1,827 feet) high above the sea level. Human and nature co-exist harmoniously in the Fragrant Hills Park, where you can hear birds chirping and see squirrels playing at times.
The Fragrant Hills Park is very rich in cultural relics, where a number of pavilions, terraces and towers are randomly dotted like stars. Here are “the Sunny Western Hills after Snow” (boasting of being one of the eight scenic spots in Beijing), the Temple of Azure Clouds of the Ming (1368- 1644) and the Qing (1616 -1911) architectural style, the Memorial Hall of Dr. Sun-Yatsen ( first president of the Republic of China) and the Five Hundred Arhat Hall (the only existent gold-overlaid wooden arhat hall in China). The temporary dwelling palace (the Zhao Temple) of the VI Panchen Lama of Tibet and the Tranquil Heart Studio are also available in the park.
Moreover, the Double Clear Villa, where chairman Mao Zedong once lived and handled official business, and Vajrasana Pagoda, where the coffin of Dr. Sun Yet-sen once temporarily placed, are also well-retained in the park.
Memorial Hall of Dr. Sun Yat-sen
Initially known as Pumingmiaojue Hall, the Memorial Hall of Dr. Sun Yat-sen was the temporary resting place before his coffin was transferred to the Nanjing Purple Golden Mountain in 1929, which was built to commemorate his great contribution to overthrowing the Qing monarchy and establishing the Republic of China (1911 -1949).
Double Clear Villa
The Double Clear Villa stands at the hillside, southeast Fragrant Hills Temple, which commands a spectacular view with two springs running through it throughout the year. There are an octangular pavilion and a towering ginkgo in the courtyard of the villa. Chairman Mao Zedong once lived in the villa from 25th of March to November of 1949, during which he published a number of political documents about the construction of the People’s Republic of China.
The large-scale Tibetan-style Zhao Temple was built for welcoming the VI Panchen Lama of Tibet to visit Beijing in the 45th year (1780) of the Emperor Qianlong’s reign of the Qing Dynasty (1616 -1911), and it’s highlighted by a glazed pagoda of 30 meters (98 feet) tall. There are 56 bronze bells hanging from eaves of the pagoda, which could be heard faraway.
Tranquil Heart Studio
The Tranquil Heart Studio was built in the first year (1522) of the Emperor Jiajing’s reign of the Ming Dynasty (1368- 1644), and it was decorated in an elegant style, in the east of which nestles a semi-circle pond.
In addition, the Fragrant Hills Park is well-equipped with tourist facilities, where the large-scale cable cars are available for visitors to appreciate the fine view of the West Hill, and it’s not far from Botanical Garden of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing Botanical Garden and the Temple of the Sleeping Buddha.