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Huaqing Hot Springs & Xingjiao Temple

 Huaqing Hot Springs

Huaqing Hot Springs (or Huaqing Palace) is famous for the romantic love story of Emperor Xuanzong (685-762) and his concubine Yang Guifei in Tang Dynasty (618-907). It also boasts top-class hot springs. Located 30 km (18.6 miles) west of Xian, the hot springs have allured many kings and emperors over the past 3,000 years. Destroyed and rebuilt several times, the existing Huaqing Palace was reconstructed in 1959, covering an area of 85,560 sq meters (21.1 acres).

Walking through the East Gate, one first sees the Nine-Dragon Lake. The lake, which was also built in 1959, covers 5,300 sq meters (1.31 acres) and has been divided into two parts. There are modern fountains in the upper lake and sculpture of Yang Guifei in the lower one. Halls and pavilions around the lake are half-hidden in green trees and grass. Feishuang Hall, in which Emperor Xuanzong and Yang Guifei lived from October to the end of the year, also lies beside the lake. The sites of imperial pools are preserved in the southern part of Huaqing Palace. There is a Lotus Pool (only Emperor Xuanzong could bathe in it), a Chinese Crabapple Pool (only for Yang Guifei), a Shangshi Pool (for dignitaries), a Star Pool (for former emperors) and a Prince Pool (for princes). After appreciating the imperial pools, visitors also can bathe in Huaqing Palace to enjoy the feeling of being royal. The Five-Room Hall was built during the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and housed the Empress Dowager Cixi when she fled from Beijing during the occupancy of the Eight-Power Allied Force. The hall was also the residence of Chiang Kai-shek, the former leader of the CNP, when he visited Xian. The famous Xian Incidence also happened in the hall. Visitors even can see the holes in the glass which were caused by guns that night.

The splendid scenery and abundant cultural relics of Huaqing Hot Springs is indeed a must-see for visitors.

Admission Fee: CNY 80 (Dec. 1 to Feb. 28 or 29)
CNY 110 (Mar. 1 to Nov. 30)
Opening Hours: 09:10 to 17:00
Time for a Visit:
One and a half hours
Bus Route: 306, 307

Xuanzang Pagoda, Temple of Flourishing Teaching, Xian

 Xingjiao Temple

Located 20 km south of Xian City, beside the Shaoling Plateau, the Temple of Flourishing Teaching (Xingjiao Temple is one of the most important Chinese Buddhist temples because of the Xuanzang Pagoda inside. Xuanzang, the famous hierarch in Chinese history, traveled to India along the ancient Silk Road and learned Buddhism there. When he came back to Chang'an (now it is called Xian), he translated many sutras which he brought back to the Da Ci'en Temple, Yuhua Palace and Hongfu Temple. Xuanzang passed away in 664 and was buried in the White Deer Plateau, to the east of Xian City. In 669, he was moved to the current location situated in a pagoda. Later, the Temple of Flourishing Teaching was built on the site.

When you walk into the entrance, you see the Bell Tower and Drum Tower on each side of the road. Inside the Mahavira Hall (Da Xiong Bao Dian), a 3.2-meter (10.5 ft) high sculpture of Sakyamuni sits in the middle. A giant statue of Lying Buddha is situated in the back hall. The Lying Buddha, which is 9 meters (29.6 ft) long, was carved by camphor wood. Xuanzang Pagoda is situated in the West Courtyard. The five-storey brick pagoda is about 21 meters (68.9 ft) high enshrining the sculpture of Xuanzang on the first floor. A stele recording the life of Xuanzang is also housed in the first floor. Pagodas of two disciples of Xuanzang, Yuance and Kuiji, are also situated in the yard. The East Courtyard is the Sutra-Keeping Hall. Different versions of ancient sutras are well preserved here. The Palm-leaf Sutra, which was brought back by Xuanzang, is the most precious one among all of the treasures.

Although the Temple of Flourishing Teaching is less popular among visitors, it's still an attractive destination for pilgrims and those who adore Xuanzang.

Admission Fee: CNY 10