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“Must see sight in Nanjing”

Niushoushan Forestal Park
Ranked #40 of 403 things to do in Nanjing
Attraction details
Reviewed 13 February 2017

Jaw dropping update of historic monastery. Like visiting the Crystal Cathedral or the Cathedral of Brasilia, who says that religious sites have to ancient and musty? Made up of a pagoda, a temple/monastery, and a "palace", this Buddhist Theme Park will become one of the main attractions in this history packed city.

About halfway inbetween the city and the airport, Niushoushan is the site of ancient buddhist monasteries that date back 1200 years, and was also briefly the Court of the breakaway Southern Tang Dynasty of the mid 900's AD. It has historically housed a relic of the Gautama Buddha. But also because of its historical associations, it has been the focus of political "statements" culminating in the digging up of the hill in the last century for an iron mine and stone quarry.

Fast forward to this century, through a public-private partnership, the local government has channelled billions of yuan of investment into redeveloping Niushoushan. The idea is to update the Buddhist themed hill into the 21st century. And did they ever. The pagoda is a rare square shape and sits besides the elegant temple monastery with brilliant gold and exquisitely carved and painted saints, bodhi's, and buddhas. The palace is on a different part of the hill and a long hike (or short ride) away. It is built into the pit that was the iron mine quarry. So the nine story palace takes advantage by building into the already excavated hillside, even using the stark scarred hillsides as a savage zen aesthetic backdrop.

While the temple and pagoda are beautiful, they are updates of similar structures seen around the buddhist world. The palace is the real star attraction. Nine storeys tall, it houses the re-emerged relic in a gigantic crystal chamber at least 50 yards across. On another floor is a buddhist worship room worthy of any Burmese Shrine with ceiling studded with larger than life floating bodhi's. There is a spa-like chamber with ornate trees and a thirty foot reclining buddha set amongst halls lined with thousands of different buddhas representing every possible flavor of buddhism.

This site re-opened only recently, so it is still missing concessions like hotels and refreshment stands. There is a sit down vegetarian canteen at the palace. Still, suggest bringing your own water and snacks. And be prepared for the level of time commitment and physical exertion one would normally reserve for touring the five DisneyWorld parks --- if they were set into a hillside.

2  Thank James W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"an iron"
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"quarry"
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"buddhist"
in 4 reviews
"worship"
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"buddha"
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"storey"
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"palace"
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"millions"
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"government"
in 2 reviews
"ride"
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11 - 15 of 24 reviews

Reviewed 5 January 2017

The last few years has seen an absolute fortune spent on transforming this mountain area outside of Nanjing into a grand tourist attraction. There are many different attractions (including the Usnisa Pagoda and Temple, and the Niutou Zen Culture park) but the impetus for this massive development has been the discovery (or reappearance) of the "world's only Usinsa Buddhist relic" in 2010 in this general area. The relic in now housed in the new and very grand Unisa Palace complex along with a giant 9 meters long reclining Buddha surrounded by 1000 Buddha hall. Well worth a visit before it gets too popular but be prepared for a “theme park” rather than the traditional, ancient sacred site.

Thank Gerry G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 November 2016

Visited in Oct. 2015. Nice walking area. Not too crowded. There are good places, so bring your lunch. Great views from the top of the tower ( if the pollution isn't too bad ).
Most of these attractions are 1/2 price if you are over 62, and free if over 70.

Thank Larry C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 15 May 2012

Saw it during plum blossom time which were all along the path to the pagoda. Unfortunatley the temple was closed. Also, don't miss the carvings on the wall/cave

Thank EdD99_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 2 weeks ago via mobile
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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