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.
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.