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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

No. 34: Guangjiao Temple, Nantong, Jiangsu

A small courtyard (院) on the hill near Guangjiao Temple (广教寺) in Nantong, Jiangsu (江苏, 南通市)
I have developed a practice of doing the most difficult or far-flung temples first when I reach a city. So the morning of my first day in Suzhou, I boarded a bus to Nantong and its beautiful Langshan, where I took a cable car up to Guangjiao Temple.

The first thing to be noted about the temple is its spectacular location. Langshan is a hill on the northeastern shore of the Yangtze as it turns south toward Shanghai and the open sea. It's actually the centermost of five small hills, called appropriately "The Five Hills." They were once surrounded by the Yangtze; there is still a kind of "moat" around the site. Langshan itself means "Wolf Mountain," and may be a reference to some former inhabitants, or just its shape.

Guangjiao ("Spread the Teachings") Temple was founded in the Tang Dynasty, and is located directly on the top of the mountain. Although the people were very friendly, its several halls were somewhat dark and dank on the stormy day I visited. The Song-Dynasty Zhiyun ("Supporting the Clouds") Pagoda, however, stood majestically against the clouds it was supporting.

Walking down the mountain was a great treat. It's covered with pavilions, pagodas, and more halls. One of the halls featured portraits of great Buddhist teachers painted on tiles; and at the base of the mountain is the tomb of Tang poet Luo Binwang, one of the "Four Greats of the Early Tang," who fled to Nantong after participating in a rebellion against Empress Wu Zetian.

All in all, I believe Langshan deserves its AAAA Tourist Rating!

(An edited version of this article was published in the Shenzhen Daily September 3, 2012.)

GPS Info:
  • 31.95027, 120.88822



Map:




GALLERY

View of Nantong city from the top of "Wolf Mountain"
The Zhiyun Pagoda at the top of Langshan
A small courtyard on the way down from the top (postcard above)
View of the Yangtze from a small hall
A small pagoda near the base of the mountain

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