Add:No. 24 Hanshansi Lane
Time:7am to 5:30pm
In the Tang Dyansty (618-907) poem “A Night Mooring Near Maple Bridge,” poet Zhang Ji famously makes reference to the midnight ringing of the bell at Hanshan Temple. The bell has remained a symbol of the temple ever since, though the one that sounds from its tower now, installed in 1904, is a replica of the one from Zhang’s day. The sound of the bells ringing is thought to chase worries away.
Hanshan Temple, located 5 kilometers from Suzhou Old Town, is a haven for China’s traditional Buddhist culture. The architecture of the grounds’ edifices, such as the Grand Prayer Hall, Sutra Collection Building, Fengjian Pavilion, and the Tablets Corridor serve as a perfect spot to soak up this rich heritage. Statues of Han Shan (inscribed with Zhang’s poem) and the Buddha Sakyamuni, stand together with those of famous monks, Xuan Zang, Jian Zhen and Kong Hai in the temple compound. The complex also serves as an excellent spot to get a good view of the Grand Canal, the longest man-made canal in ancient times.
On the Eve of the Chinese New Year, the bell tolls at Hanshan Temple, offering a prayer for happiness and safety in the new year. Thousands of tourists gather each year to participate in the event.