Kwan Yin Mountain
Kwan-yin Mountain is the representation of mountain with temple built on its tip in Yangzhou. Boasting the highest altitude, the temple was constructed in a brave and broad style; instead of emphasizing symmetry, the temple takes advantageous of the natural conditions of the mountain and stands on the peak. There are ancient and exuberant trees covering the temple dotted by red walls, palaces, and towers.
One of the characteristics of the Kwan-yin Mountain is loftiness and winding roads which are paved with bricks. Following the zigzag mountain paths accompanied by low walls reputed as little Great Wall at both sides, you will soon ascend the mountain. There are Yuantong Grand Hall, Milou Tower, Zizhu Bamboo wood, and Shangyuan Garden etc. They are situated on different axes. For instance, the Shanmen Hall faces east while Tianwang Hall and Yuantong Grand Hall faces south. When you feel there is no way out, the Milou will soon appear in front of you after passing through the Piandian Hall, entering the Zizhu Bamboo Wood, and ascending several steps. Poets in ancient times once describe the scenery of the mountain like this: the exquisite pavilion is dotted by lovely windows setting off one another; the quiet rooms are decorated with railings and connected to each other; it seems there are thousands of doors and windows dwelled by people; the integral constructions on the mountain are characterized by grandeur and sacredness.
The second characteristic of Kwan-yin Mountain is craggedness. The temple located at the peak of the mountain is based on rocks; it looks dignified and magnificent. Looking up at the foot of the mountain, you would feel the temple was built on cliff. There is a wood close to the temple and it is called Yunlin Wood. Beside it is a pond called Tianchi Pond, and a tower named Star-picking Tower. It is said Gaozong Emperor once visited here and left two lines which expressed that “The crystal lake water is as clear as mirror; the green mountain still retain its stance and flavor in ancient times”. The lines had a title “Featuring Craggedness and loftiness”, which fully delivered the characteristics of the mountain. Kwan-yin Mountain is also famous for the Buddhist statues there. Compared with other temples which center on statues of Sakyamuni, the temple here focuses on statues of Kwan-yin; you can find Buddha statues of the four renowned Buddhist Mountains, such as Wenzhu Buddha in the east side room, Puxian Buddha in the west side room. The Dizang Hall lies at the back of Wenzhu Hall. Among the four Buddhist statues, Kwan-yin Buddha statue is most eye-catching. The main hall—Yuantong Grand Hall has the largest and grandest sitting statue of Kwan-yin. It has very high aesthetic value. Statuaries in ancient times gradually combined the social life with the transience of Buddhist world. The statue aims at the expression of verve and supernatural. Taking a close look at the expression, clothing, and stance of the statues, you will easily find they are different from each other; more importantly, even the character of each Buddha statue is unfolded through vivid depiction of their facial expressions and fine veins on their garments flying elegantly in the wind. Each year the 29th of the second lunar month is the birthday of Kwan-yin Buddha. The temple will be visited by a lot of people coming to burn joss sticks for good fortune. The small pond on the top of the mountain is called Tianchi Pond in an exaggerated way, for which it is remembered by tourists. On the platform in front of the mountain gate, you can take an overlook of the whole Yangzhou City and appreciate the wonderful scenery. The delicate mist covers the lush trees with thin rising smog as if it is a fairyland of romance where brave people may feel more courageous, and sensitive persons might fall into gloomy wood. In a word, it is just like a wonderful traditional Chinese painting while people who are appreciating it have become an integral part of it.