Putuoshan Island and Guanyin the Goddess of Great Mercy

This weekend we went on a small get-away. We really needed it. To get away. 

I am sure that many people in Shanghai know the feeling but I also have the impression that not many people are aware of how easy it is to get away just for the weekend.

My boyfriend read about Mount Putuo - Putuoshan (Shan 山 is mountain in Chinese) and when he told me about is I was sold!

"The most eastern of China's 4 sacred Buddhist Mountains. More an island than an mountain and the holy nature of the area is reinforced by its isolation. Since the 10th Century, this lush Buddhist island has been dedicated to its divinity Guanyin, the Goddess of Great Mercy".  

Though not a buddhist I am very fascinated by buddhism, I love nature and I'm a true aquarius so everything that entails sailing and water will get my vote. The trip was amazing and I can highly recommend anyone in the need of a get-away from buzzing, smoggy, busy Shanghai to plan a trip to this little buddhist paradise. 

Here's what we did:

We went there Friday evening with a night ferry, arrived Saturday very early morning, spend the night in a mountain hotel and went back Sunday afternoon with a fast-ferry and a 4 hour bus-ride back to Shanghai. We visited the small Chinese village and markets, we hiked the mountain 3-4 hours, we visited a couple of sacred spots including a buddhist temple where my boyfriend ended up exchanging numbers with a monk who had a trip to Shanghai planned (Are monks even meant to have mobile phones? Maybe he just worked at the temple dressed as a monk - my Chinese are not good enough to keep up when my boyfriend makes new Chinese friends - Im so jealous!) and we had delicious sea food with pijiu at a very Chinese establishment. 

How to get there:

After school and work on Friday we took line 3 on the subway to Schuichan Rd., we went 10 minutes by taxi to the Shanghai Wusong Wharf. I think we were suppose to buy tickets before we boarded the ferry at a little ticket shop but ended up being so late that we literarily had to run onboard. Onboard we paid around RMB 1000 for a sleeping cabin (they have three different options if you decide to be in a little better time than we were) and this includes the boat ride. The ferry left around 8pm and we had dinner onboard. After a very peaceful night with small waves we arrived early Saturday morning at the beautiful green island covered in sunrise. Such an amazing sight.

At arrival we bought the tickets back for the fast-ferry and the bus. We had a hotel recommended and went there with the few things we brought (we always like to travel very light). Then we went exploring!

The weather were amazing, the air was fresh & clean, the nature was stunning and Putuoshan was everything I needed after a busy month of moving back to Shanghai with everything this entails. The only downside was that we were not the only tourists so forget all images of an abandoned paradise: As with any sacred and known spots in China, the island were visited by a lot of Chinese tourists. And I mean a lot.

After living in Shanghai I have become pretty good at ignoring masses of people and we easily found our own private spots away from the crowds (who seemed to gather at all the must-sees like temples and holy grails).

"According to the legend, the Guanyin Bodhisattva was sanctified at Putuoshan in 916 when a Japanese monk was carrying a picture of Guanyin and wrecked on the island. The Goddess appeared to him and promised he would safely come back to his home if he erected the Goddess effigy on the island. The monk did what the Goddess ordered him to do and from that story, Putuoshan became a high pilgrimage place." - Shanghai Connections

 

 

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