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Hanshan Temple

hanshan templeHanshan Temple is located in Maple Bridge town in the west outskirts of Suzhou, only 1 kilometer west of the Lingering Garden. It was first built in the Tianjian period of the Liang Dynasty with the name of Miaolita Yuan. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907), a famous monk named Hanshan was said to have lived and was the temple's caretaker. The temple's name was later renamed after Hanshan.

The temple used to be one of the ten most famous temples in China. The poem of "A Night Mooring by Maple Bridge" by Zhang Ji, a famous poet of the Tang dynasty, is so oft-quoted and widely loved that the poetic rhyme and the bell-tolling sounds have made the Hanshan Temple celebrated at home and abroad.

Destroyed and rebuilt for many times, the present complex mainly dates from the Qing dynasty at the time of Emperors Guangxu and Xuantong. Covering an area of 45 hectares, the main architectural structures in this temple include the main hall, the hall with a circular gallery, the sutra library, the bell tower, a pavilion tower known as Maple River Tower, and many more.

The Bell Tower is an important component of the Hanshan Temple. The bell mentioned in Zhangji's poem has long been lost and the present one was made in 1906 during the Qing Dynasty. When the bell is tolling, the deep strokes that echo in the halls mix with the deep-toned chants of the monks evoking both a solemn and reverent feelings for all worshippers in the temple.

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