Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Nantong Langshan Guangjiao Temple in Jiangsu 南通狼山广教寺



Langshan Scenic Area is a popular attraction near Nantong City (which is just north of Shanghai). Nantong is to Shanghai folks what Johor Bahru is to many Singaporeans - a nice place for a day trip to rest and relax with good food and space to stretch out.



Langshan consists of five peaks known as Five Hills, all stretched out along the east bank of the Yangtze River 👉 Langshan 狼山 (Wolf Hill), Huangnishan 黄泥山 (Yellow Hill), Jianshan 剑山 (Sword Hill), Junshan 军山 (Military Hill), and Ma'anshan 马鞍山 (Saddle Hill).



The hills are just knolls - the highest, Langshan is just 107 metres high (lower than Singapore's Bukit Timah at 164 metres). But, as the surrounding areas are wide plains and river delta where the mighty Yangtze flows into the East China Sea, the hills can be seen from miles around.



Though a mere 107 metres high, no one can deny that  Langshan is 江海第一山, the first mountain where the river meets the sea. Since time immemorial, The Five Hills loom over sea farers when they navigate where the Yangtze meets the East China Sea. 



Zhiyun pagoda 支云塔 at the summit of Langshan is part of the ancient Guangjiao Temple 广教寺 established in 669 during the Tang Dynasty (618–907). The 35 metre pagoda made of bricks and wood has five storeys.

Buddhism was the state religion during the Tang Dynasty and Guangjiao Temple 广教寺 is one of the most revered Buddhist temples to this day.



According to legend, Guangjiao Temple 广教寺 was dedicated to a Song Dynasty (960–1279) monk with legendary powers to tame sea demons. Many ancient mariners who sailed the Yangtze and East China Sea made pilgrimages to Guangjiao Temple for mercy at sea.



The summit of Langshan is easily accessible for most people by a series of stairs interspersed with ancient shrines at intervals.

The main buildings of Guangjiao Temple are Yuantong Hall, Grand Buddha Hall, Hall of Great Compassion, Hall of Four Heavenly Kings, Buddhist Texts Library, abbot's room, monks' dwellings and Zhiyun pagoda 支云塔 at the summit.



The Grand Buddha Hall.



Hall of Four Heavenly Kings.



Hall of Great Compassion.



Yuantong Hall 圆通宝殿.



During the Cultural Revolution (1966 - 1976), many cultural relics were demolished. To save Guangjiao Temple from that fate, the abbots put the "Long Live Chairman Mao 毛主席万岁" slogan on the roof eave tiles. The fact that Guangjiao Temple still stands today attests to the wisdom of the abbots.



From the peak of Langshan, we get a panoramic view of Nantong City and the Yangtze River (even though it is only 107 metres high). If you are looking for a panoramic view of Nantong City, this is the spot, just 5 km from the city.



As we were coming down Wolf Hill, a group of firemen heaving heavy gear slung over their shoulders were dashing up the hill to build leg power and endurance.



If you are in Shanghai, a day trip or one night in Nantong is an excursion many locals enjoy. When in Nantong, a side trip to Langshan is a must.   

Langshan and Guangjiao Temple may not have the scale of other scenic areas but Langshan offers unmatched panoramic views of Nantong city and the Yangtze delta. The ancient Guangjiao Temple is historically significant and the spiritual centre of devotees for two Millennial.

Date visited: 9 May 2018

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