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Saturday, July 24, 2010

No. 30: Jiaoshan Dinghui Temple, Zhenjiang, Jiangsu

The gateway near the dock (码头) and a pagoda (塔) on the hill on the island
of Jiaoshan Dinghui Temple (焦山定慧寺), Zhenjiang, Jiangsu (江苏, 镇江市)
Surprised at how early I had returned to Zhenjiang from remote Longchang Temple, I decided to head out for a quick visit to Dinghui (maybe "Establishing Wisdom") Temple. It's located on Jiaoshan ("Burnt Mountain"), a very small island in the Yangtze River on the edge of the city. I was at the gate a little after 2 pm, and my only regret is that I didn't allow myself more time for exploration.

After purchasing a ticket at the front gate of the park, the visitor takes a very short ferry boat ride to a landing on the island. There, there are massive memorial gates and decorative bridges leading to the temple's front hall.

The temple was originally founded as a nunnery in 194. It became a monastery in the Tang Dynasty, and was completely rebuilt during the Ming. Although there have been numerous renovations since, it has essentially kept its Ming flavor.

Much of the temple is typical of others I've seen. Two standout features, though, are labeled "Qianlong's Xanadu" (an area reserved for the Qing Emperor Qianlong on his visits), and the "Tablet Forest," a collection of steles in a beautiful garden.

Hiking around the island, a visitor can see a few small caves, some other small temples and a nunnery, the majestic Ten-Thousand Buddha Pagoda, and even a small amusement park. There is also a small fort with gun emplacements from the 19th century.

Alas, I missed most of these because of time and, along with most of the other visitors, I had to leave in a hurry as a typical summer storm threatened to strike the island. Nevertheless, it is truly an escape from the busy streets of Zhenjiang.

(An edited version of this article was published in the Shenzhen Daily August 6, 2012.)

GPS Info:
  • 32.236662, 119.483756



Map:




GALLERY

Boarding the ferry to the island of Jiaoshan, site of Dinghui Temple
The first memorial arch on the island (postcard above)
Bridges and pavilions leading to the front gate of the temple
The new drum pavilion on Jiaoshan
The garden area near the Stele Forest
An intimate garden area near Emperor Qianlong's retreat on Jiaoshan

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