Another popular place in Suzhou is Hanshan Temple also known as Cold Mountain Temple. It gets famous because of the poem called “Maple Bridge at Night “枫桥夜泊. It about 15 mins from Suzhou city by taxi which is the easiest way.
枫桥夜泊 Maple Bridge at Night
The famous poem was written on the wall before you enter to Han Shan Temple.
The moon is setting. The crows are crying. The atmosphere is heavy with a chilly autumn frost. The maple trees and the lights of the fishing boats are reflected in the water. Yet I am unable to sleep because of sorrow. I vaguely hear the bells are ringing in the Temple of Frost Hill outside of Suzhou city at midnight. The poem describes the poet’s experience of taking a boat through Suzhou City. The boat is resting at night. The clear view at night and the sound of bells make the author feel very lonely and homesick.
Background of Hanshan Temple
The Hanshan Temple was built during the Liang Dynasty TianJian 梁代天监年间 and has a history of more than a thousand years. The original name was “Miao Lipu Ming Tower “妙利普明塔院”. According to legend, a monk from the Tang Dynasty, Han Shan came to the temple and changed the name to Hanshan temple. But the temple got famous from the poem written by Zhang Ji – Maple Bridge of Night.
There are several important items to look at in Hanshan Temple
Han Shan Temple Great Hall
The Great Hall has always been a temple dedicated to the Buddha but over here the Great Hall has its own unique layout. The statue worshipped here is not Buddha but Han Shan monk.
The picture of Journey to the West is on top of the rooftop. 🙂
Puming Pagoda 普明宝塔
For more than a thousand years, the pagoda has been destroyed and built. In 1996, Hanshan Temple has a massive facelift and the Puming Pagoda was styled with the glorious Tang style architecture.
The iconic poem is written in almost every corner of the temple.
Ancient plaque in a long corridor
Hanshan Temple is famous for its inscription arts hence you see plaques after plaques with beautiful poems engraved with different styles of calligraphy arts.
Bell Ringing in Hanshan Temple
Most pilgrims will go to the ancient bell tower and ring the ancient bell of Hanshan Temple. The bell-ringing event for every New Year is very popular and usually, the bell rings 108 times. Reason to knock 108 times means to welcome the new and remove the old. 108 bells are believed to bring auspicious and happiness.
For the usual day, you can ring the bell and pay 10 Yuan RMB (SGD 2.00) 3 times. However, during the New year, it cost about 300 yuan (SGD 60) to ring.
Giant Plaque 华夏诗碑
There is a giant plaque with a body height of 16.9 m tall. The front of the monument is engraved with “Feng Qiao Ye Bo” written by Yu Yue of the Qing Dynasty, and the back is engraved with the Qianlong Royal Pen Prajna Paramita 《般若波罗蜜多心经》”, which is currently the largest and highest poem in China, and is also called “Chinese The first poem monument. ”
You can have vegetarian noodles in the temple in case you wanted to try the temple cuisine.
Hanshan Temple gets famous from the poem -“Maple Bridge at Night” 枫桥夜泊. The temple atmosphere, the ancient bridge architecture, the river, and the bell sounds are something you need to pay attention to and relate back to the poem “Maple Bridge at Night” 枫桥夜泊.