Mount Putuo


Mount Putuo, a small island of the 1390 islands in Zhoushan Archipelago, covers an area of 12.93 square kilometers. Mount Putuo (Putuoshan) is one of the Four Holy Buddhist Mountains, home to the most famous Guanyin (a Bodhisattva) temple and the first batch of national key scenic spots, known as the “Sacred Land of Buddhism on the Sea”, and the “Nanhai(South Sea)Holy Land”. On May 8, 2007, Mount Putuo scenic area was approved as the state 5 A-class tourist scenic spot by the China National Tourism Administration. Guanyin temples built in 863, the 4thyear of Xian Tong, the Tang Dynasty, going through vicissitude in different dynasties. At its heyday, it boasted 3 largest temples, 88 nunneries, 128 thatched huts, claimed to be “500 temples with 3000 monks” with numerous pilgrim boats anchored at the pier.

At present, there still remain over 30 monasteries for pilgrimage and sightseeing including the 3 main temples -- Puji, Fayu, and Huiji and—Dacheng (mahayana), Meifu, and Zizhulin (purple bamboo woods). The 33-meter tall statue of Guanyin exclusively possessed by Mount Putuo, with a solemn but benevolent aura, has been devoutly worshipped by crowds of visitors from both home and abroad.  Numerous cultural relics are scattered on the hills, with three treasures in particular-- “the Yuan Dynasty Pagoda”, “the Nine-Dragon Shrine” removed from the Nanjing Ming Palace and “Bakyjib Na Guanyin Tablet” built during the reign of Wan Li, the Ming Dynasty. 

Mount Putuo, acclaimed as the “First Pure Land” in the world, is blessed with spectacular scenery of hills and sea, rocks, trees and woods, temples, pagodas, rock-carvings, Sanskrit (Buddhist sound) and the roaring of tidewater, which are suffused with Buddhist mysteriousness. It is also known as “the Island Botanical Garden” for its luxuriant trees, of which 221 with more than 100 years old belonging to 66 species. Unique to China, the rare and endangered species called Putuo hornbeam tree, an endemic in Mount Putuo, has been listed in the national first-class protective plants. Mount Putuo also presents tourists with scrolls of gorgeous paintings where sands stretch around the island, and whitecaps fence massive ancient temples and houses. The 10 scenic spots in Mount Putuo, which are either steep, mysterious, fanciful, or grotesque draw forth people’s endless imagination. Many places of interest resound with beautiful and fetching legends about Guanyin.

Tradition has it that the lunar February 19, June 19, September 19 are respectively the days when Gunyin was born, enlightened and tonsured, and celebrated as the three major pilgrims’ festivals in Mount Putuo. Pilgrims from all over the world congregate in Putuo, which presents a majestic sight. Every year, it holds the Guanyin Culture Festival and the Art Festival of Spring in Mount Putuo which attract a stream of tourists here to light Buddha lamps with good wishes, pray for peace by pious worship of Buddha, which constitute a scenario of solemnity and prosperity of “Buddhist Paradise on the Sea and a Holy Land with Color Glazed Temples”.


1. Puji Temple

Puji Temple, seated at the foot of the Lingjiu Peak, south of the Baihua Hill, is a temple in the first place in Mount Putuo, also known as Qianshi Temple (Front Temple) relative to Fayu Temple also called Houshi Temple (Back Temple). Its predecessor was “Unwilling-to-Leave Guanyin Nunnery” founded during the reign of Xian Tong, the Tang Dynasty. The existing buildings were renovated in the reigning period of Yong Zheng (1723-1736). With more than 300 rooms offered by 10 shrines and temples, 12 buildings, halls and porches, Puji Temple ranks the largest one on the island.


2.  Fayu Temple

Fayu Temple also called Houshi Temple (Back Temple), located on the left of Baihuading and at the foot of Guangxi Peak, 2.8 km away from Huiji Temple, is one of the three main temples in Mount Putuo. In the 8thyear of Wan Li (1580), the Ming Dynasty, a monk from Sichuan Province named Da Zhi (wisdom), built the Haichao (sea tide) Nunnery on the north of Thousand-step Sandy Beach. Later it was renamed Haichao Temple and Huguo Zhenhai Temple (meaning “defend the country and pacify the sea”). In the 38thyear of Kang Xi (1699), the Qing Dynasty, in the construction of the main temple hall, the emperor conferred the temple a horizontal tablet inscribed the four Chinese characters of “Fa Yu Tian Hua” to honor the senior monks’ contribution to preaching the Dharma, thus it was again renamed “Fayu Temple”.

About hundred meters ahead of the Fayu Temple, is another scenic spot – Thousand-pace Sandy Beach with a total length of 1300 meters. It is blessed with marvelous sights: sea tide flapping the shore, snow white billows chasing one after another, surging like a waterfall, and waning like a white silk ribbon, thundering and roaring with high wind, dazzling and fetching, swift and uncanny, imperceptible and unaccountable. It is also one of the best bathing beaches in coastal China.

3. Huiji Temple

Huiji Temple is located on the top of the Foding Hill, one of the three largest temples in Mount Putuo. Originally it was a stone pavilion called Huiji Nunnery enshrining a stone Buddha, which was founded by a monk named Yuan Hui in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). In the 58thyear of Qian Long (1793), the Qing Dynasty, a monk named Neng Ji expanded the nunnery to a temple, adding Yuantong Hall, Yuhuang Hall, a fast house and the like. In the 33rdreigning year of Emperor Guang Xu (1907), the Qing Dynasty, with the acquisition of “Tripitaka” by monk De Hua, and with the great efforts of monk Wen Zheng, the temple was expanded in large scale, thus becoming one of the three main temples together with Fayu Temple and Puji Temple in Mount Putuo. The entire temple complex taking advantage of terrain is unique in construction. It is aligned crosswise, deeply hidden in the forest, with absolute tranquility. The halls of the temple are broad and stately. The Mahavira Hall is roofed with color glazed tiles, radiating brilliant light under the sunshine, forming a spectacular view of “Buddha’s light illuminating everywhere”. 


4. Baotuo Preaching Temple 

The temple is located at the site of old Lugan Nunnery, which started to be constructed on November 6, 1999. The construction scale is close to the Puji Temple, so it is also called the fourth largest temple in Mount Putuo.

The temple adopted the northern palace architectural style of the Ming and Qing Dynasty. The axis of the main construction consists of decorated archway, drum tower, Tianwang Hall (hall of heavenly kings), Great Yuantong Hall, great lecture hall and Dabao Attic, etc. The east and west wings are abbot house, warehouse, and the ordination platform, etc. in the southern style of ancient buildings. The temple was officially consecrated to respect Buddha in 2011.

5. Zizhulin (Purple Bamboo Woods)

Zizhulin is another important scenic area in Mount Putuo, including Zizhu Monastery, Unwilling-to-leave Guanyin Nunnery, Chaoyin Cave, and thecolossal Statue of Nanhai Guanyin, etc. It is situated on the Chaoyin Cave, at the east foot of the Shuangfen Hill, a legendarymonasticism place for Guanyin. 

Thecolossal bronze Statue of Nanhai Guanyin, completed in 1997, erecting on the Longwan Hilltop, south of Zizhulin scenic spot, has become the landmark of Mount Putuo. The total height is 33 meters including 13-meter-high lower layer, 18-meter-high Guanyin statue and 2-meter-high lotus pedestal. The statute fused with over 6500 gram gold is acclaimed to be the best of Guanyin Bronze statutes in the world and symbol of Mount Putuo.


6. Xitian (Western Paradise) Scenic Spot

The scenic spot lies to the west side of Mount Putuo, scattering along the ridge of the Meicen Hill are MeiFu Nunnery, Yuantong Nunnery, Guanyindong Nunnery, Lingshi Nunnery, and one thousand-year old Camphor Trees. It is covered with lush forest and tall bamboos which fend off the sunlight. Massive bizarre rocks and stones are hilarious and delightful, like well-known “Xinzi (heart) Rock” (an enormous Chinese character ‘xin’ inscribed in a rock), “Pantuo Monolith”, rostrum-like stones and stones resembling two tortoises listening to Dharmar, and parrot-like stone, etc. Overlooking from the hilltop, tourists can get a panoramic view of the Putuoshan Airport and the Guanyin Bridge in the distance. Meiwan Spring Dawn, one of the ten sceneries of Mount Putuo, is also in this scenic spot, depicting the beauty of early spring.

7. Duangu Sacred Relics

Duangu Sacred Relics, located in the southwest coast of the island, a natural stone pier, was once an only dock in ancient times for pilgrims’ boats.

Here originally was a beach, more than 10 meters wide, some hundred meters long, with small stones either scattered or attached to each other. On both sides of the beach are staggered with big and small rocks in different shapes, where 14 inscriptions are engraved like “Dugu Sacred Relics”, “salvation through charity to others”, “conversion of morality and justice”, “the first Buddhists’ paradise”, and “land of happiness”, which seem to rise out of and set in tidal waves.

8. Luojiashan Mountain

The Luojiashan Mountain, according to legend, is a place for Guanyin’s spiritual practice with equal popularity with Mount Putuo, both of which are credited with the Buddha’s holy land. It has been called “Putuo Luojiashan Mountain”. Buddhist believers have such a saying that the pilgrimage can’t claim to have been to Mount Putuo without reaching Luojiashan Mountain.” Today, the restored Luojiashan Mountain has become an important part of Mount Putuo national scenic area.


9. A Meditation Journey to Mount Putuo

The meditation journey to Mount Putuo offers tranquility, calmness, and carefreeness. It is a spiritual journey to approach Guaiyin, which could not only purify our souls but also enable us to taste tea, inquire about Buddhist doctrines, learn Buddhist yoga, experience meditation under the guidance of the Master, listen to the Master’s instruction on Buddha and life, and enjoy the spiritual inspiration in the cultural atmosphere of tea and Zen. 

[Traffic]: In order to protect ecological environment, no other vehicles are admitted to enterMountPutuothan a small number of ones used for public transport and island management as well as for temples. Self-driving tourists must park their cars at the Banshengdong Terminal, Shenjiamen or Wugongzhi Terminal, Zhujiajian, before taking a yacht or ferry toMountPutuo. Every 8 minutes there is a yacht respectively going to Mount Putuo with about 20 minutes’ sailing time. Visitors can also reachMountPutuodirectly by boat fromShanghaiorNingbo.

So far, thePutuoshanAirporthas opened air routes toBeijing,Shanghai,Guangzhou,Xiamen, Jinjiang, Quanzhou, Shenzhen,Hefei,Lianyungang, andDalian. Visitors can fly to Zhujiajian where they can get toMountPutuoby boat or ferry.

[Accommodation]:MountPutuohas hotels of different levels, with a standard room at prices ranging from 100 yuan to 1000 yuan or above. Visitors need to make a reservation a week or so in advance in the peak season. The bulk of the hotels are in the vicinity of theQianshiTempleand theHoushiTemple. The hotels are generally not large, but equipped with complete facilities. Among them, these hotels can offer better conditions and quiet tasteful environment including Landison Putuoshan Resort, Xiangsheng Grand Hotel, Xilei Hotel, Putuoshan Hotel, Zhongxin Hotel, Putuo Shanzhuang Hotel, and Jinping Villa.

[Food]: The three main temples inMountPutuo– thePujiTemple,FayuTempleandHuijiTempleoffer vegetarian diets  for the convenience of pilgrims. Vegetarian diets there boast a great variety, featured by sweet smell, light flavor, pure freshness and rich nutrition, which have been praised by both domestic and overseas tourists. In addition to food and drink provided by hotels, tourists can savor all kinds of seafood at restaurants in theSeafoodGardenor near theQianshiTemple, theHoushiTempleand the Nantianmen.

[Itineraries Recommended]

Prayer And Leisure  Mount Putuo One-Day Tour:

Arrive at the passenger terminal--tour the Xitian(Western Paradise) Scenic Spot - visit the Puji Temple and pray--tour the“Unwilling to Leave Guanyin Nunnery”(Zizhulin)Scenic Spot -–worship Nanhai Guanyin, the goddess of mercy—return to the passenger terminal

Prayer and Meditation  Mount Putuo + Zhujiajian Two- Day Tour:

D1: Mount Putuo: tour the Xitian(Western Paradise) Scenic Spot-- visit the Puji Temple and pray-- visit Nanhai Guanyin the giant Buddha statue and the Zizhulin Scenic Spot--listen to sermon and mediate at the Baotuo Lecture Temple--view the Buddhist grand ceremony of “Guanyin,goddess of mercy” at night—stay overnight at Mount Putuo

D2: Zhujiajian : get up early to do Buddhist practice, debate and resolve doubts about Buddhist doctrine --head to Zhujiajian, visit the Buddhist Academy of China, copy the heart sutra, listen to prayers’ chants, and relish vegetarian food -- enjoy  Daqingshan  beautiful scenery—play with sea water and sand at the Nansha Beach, and partake sand beach amusement activities -- return.