Tag Archives: Garden

Suzhou – Master of the Net Garden

netgardenAfter spending a few hours at Lingering Garden, the kids and I called a taxi and headed to Master of the Net Garden. Known as Wangshi Yuan in Chinese, this garden dates back to 1140. It was completely remodeled in 1770 and for many people, and most tourist books we have read, they claim it to be one of the finest of all Suzhou’s gardens.

Although small, it succeeds, with great subtly, in introducing every element consider crucial to the classical garden. It included a little lake in the center, discreet connecting corridors and pavilions with neatly decorated courtyards with flowers and rocks. This garden was Briana’s favorite by far. She just loved it.


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Suzhou – Lingering Garden

lingeringgardenWhat a day to wake up to! Sunny, little haze, low humidity and warm… a perfect day to go visit some gardens. There are quite a few gardens here in Suzhou. So many, I doubt we will get through all of them by the time we head home in two weeks. We did know we needed to for sure visit the Liu Lingering ‘Liu Yuan’ and Master of the Nets gardens. Both are claimed to be the best in gardens.

Remember back when we went to Humble Administrator’s Garden in September last year, I told you I would let you know if Humble was all it was touted at being. Well, Humble shies in comparison to the two we visited today. Easily… Master of the Net is perfection in a tiny package and Lingering was simply gorgeous–my favorite personal favorite. Since we have two major trips planned before leaving, Mike did not have the time to take off to spend with us visiting the gardens, so you will see mainly the kids. As usual, the gardens are best viewed during the week when attendance is low…

Lingering offered more than just garden views. We enjoyed a lady playing the Sheng, two people playing instruments and storytelling and a tiny opera performance. It was so darn neat! Loved every minute at this garden. Sheng is the oldest reed instrument in China. It’s the earliest music instrument using free reed in the world. This gal performed in one of the pavilions…

Suzhou Storytelling and Ballad Singing is sort of a folk art originated in Suzhou in ancient times. Performed by two people, sometimes telling and sometimes signing. Accompanying musical instruments are Pi-pa and the Chinese Tricord…

In China, there are many kinds of opera, including Beijing Opera; all are nurtured from Kunqu Opera. Kunqu Opera, “the Ancestor of Chinese Traditional Operas”, is one of the oldest operas still existing in Modern China today. It originated over 600 years ago…

Fun videos, huh? So different than what we see in the US. Here are the photos from Lingering Garden…


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Beijing – Lama Temple and Temple of Heaven

lama_temple

The Lama Temple

Unfortunately, this day was not an ideal day for us. Zachary became really sick through the night and could not sight see on this day. So Mike decided to stay with him, as he talked me into taking Briana and Nathan out for the day. I only went because I really wanted to see the Tibetan Lama Temple and Nathan wanted to see the Temple of Heaven. It was a lot but we did manage to see both. By far, the Lama Temple is my most favorite temple of all I have seen in China. Loved it there.

The Lama Temple, known as Yonghegong, is the most frequented religious place in all of China. It is comprised of five main halls and many galleries and is dedicated to the Yellow Sect of Buddhism. The temple was originally built in 1694 as Prince Yong’s palace. Once he become emperor, he renounced his residence. It was later converted to a lama temple in 1744 under Emperor Qianlong. It’s a very active temple with believers lighting armloads of incenses at each hall. At times, we had to make sure our coats and Briana’s long hair did not catch on fire because of all the incense lit. In the main temple, is the biggest Buddha carved from a single tree. It’s three stories tall and nine feet in diameter.

After a nice visit at the Lama Temple, we quickly found a bus and took it to the Temple of Heaven, which is located southeast of Tianenman Square. It’s architecture is seen as the pinnacle of the Ming dynasty. The temple was constructed in 1420 under Emperor Yongle. Heaven was thought to be round and the earth square. As the Son of Heaven, the emperor was the primary medium between heaven and earth. Three days before the winter solstice, the emperor would abstain from meat, “stimulating foods’ and spices. On the third day, he would travel from the Forbidden City to the Temple of Heaven’s Fasting Palace. During the procession, all commoners retreated indoors to avoid laying eyes on the emperor–a crime which carried a death penalty. The following day, the emperor would move to the Imperial Vault of Heaven to mediate before continuing to the grand domed Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests and then emerge to ritually sacrifice animals at the Round Altar and pray for a good harvest in the coming year. The temple was not open to public until the first Chinese National Day in October 1912.

Most say this is the best garden of all China. The architecture is definitely impressive, but the grounds left little to be desired. With the overrun of people, most of the ground was just dirt and the massive amount of concrete didn’t make it feel like a garden. Add all the people in the mix and Briana, Nathan and I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.


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Beijing – Beihai Park

After walking through Jingshan Park, we headed over to Beihai Park which once used to be the winter palace for the emperors and was once the palace of the conquering mongals, the infamous G. Khan. From about anywhere in Beijing, you can see the White Pagoda. It was built and rebuilt after a major earthquake took it down. One more good earthquake and it would go again. I took a photo of the large crack that goes around it in the photos below.

We had the weirdest experience upon walking up the east entrance to this park; sounded like spaceships landing. Take a listen and see if you can figure it out…

Figured it out? Here are the photos.


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Beijing – Jingshan Park

After spending most of the day at the Forbidden City, we headed out the north exit and across the street to Jingshan Park. Jingshan was once part of the Forbidden City until a road until the 1900’s when a road was place between the Forbidden City and it. The hills in the park where created from the earth removed to make the moat around the Forbidden city.

From atop the hills, there are spectacular views of the F.C. We really liked this park. It was less crowded than BeiHai Park across the street to the west and the trees were a treasure after spending the day with all the concrete and brick of the F.C. As we entered the park, we heard some singing and followed the voice and found this man singing a folklore song about Beijing…

Here are the photos.


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