On the western side of Hanzhong Lu, Nanjing City there stands a beautiful lake spread across an area of 47 hectares (about 116 acres). Once, in the distant past, it formed a part of the Yangtze River.
But then, gradually the river changed its course and instead of the Yangtze, flowed towards the Qin Huai River. And thus was created the fascinating Mochou Lake.
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The lake area is stunning in its natural beauty. And, just like the water, the flowers and the trees that combine to lull the senses and conjure up a magical atmosphere is the popular legend behind this place that has almost become part of the folklore.
There are two versions of the story. One version states that the lake got its name from a beautiful and virtuous woman named Mochou, which in Chinese means ‘no worries’. She lived during the Northern and Southern Dynasty (386-589) and married a man from the Lu family in Jinling (present Nanjing). They had a baby and led a peaceful and happy life until the day when her husband was recruited to the army. There was no news from him since the day he left and Mochou missed her husband very much. Finally, one day, she turned into a lake with the hope of flowing to him some day. The nomenclature of the lake was hence a tribute to the devotion of this lady to her love.
The other version of the story is quite contrasting in its essence to the previous one. This speaks about a beautiful girl named Mochou (479-502 AD) who lived in Luoyang, Henan Province. It is said that she married someone from the Luo family, a rich family in Nanking, with the hope of getting enough money to bury her father. However, her new life was an unhappy one. Things took a bad turn and the girl finally committed suicide by jumping into the Mochou Lake. It is difficult to tell which version of the story is true. What we know is, the Lake in all its magnificence and majesty is the real, palpable truth. The lake was renamed as Mochou Lake Park in 1929 and then in 1953 it was further expanded, rebuilt and beautified with more trees and flowers.
Even today, the residence of Mochou can be seen to the north of the Shengqi Pavilion. It is known as the Yujin Hall (yujin means white cardamom). A water lily pond divides the hall into two parts. And, right in the middle of the pond stands a white marble statue of Mochou, the sorrow of her life captured forever in her doleful expression.
The lotus roots and the water lilies, when in bloom, present a view that is a treat to every eye. An island, that is easily accessible by tourists by boats, stands at the center.
Since 1991 the park has been the site for many dragon boat races. It is a good idea to take a boat ride here in April. This would let them drink in the beauty of the gorgeous blossoms all around.