Upon arrival, there were already group of tourists mostly Japanese and Chinese meandering outside the Cold Mountain Temple or also known as Hanshan Temple. We immediately bought tickets for our admission, which cost us 20 Yuan each (the tickets are actually designed and printed as postcards) .
Opposite the temple's gate beside the ticket office lies an ancient bridge and the Grand Canal with traditional old houses dotted on both sides. There are some boats of every size and shape for rent. I guess you can barter with boatman for either long distance or a quick boat ride.
This small Buddhist monastery with a history of more than 1400 years is located in Fengqiao Township in the west of Suzhou City. After a breath of air in the surrounding area, our walk continues to the sites of the temple. As soon as we entered, the smoke and the pungent smell from all the many joss ticks burning greeted us, and the place was crowded with worshipers and tourists alike.
The temple is crisscrossed in every direction by winding trails surrounded with verdant pines and cypress trees. We passed this interesting vast open area where many auspicious trees grows, with thousands of eye-catching red ribbons hanging on all branches. It is said that if you're wishing for something, you should write your request on a red ribbon and toss it into the tree's branches. If the ribbon hangs on the tree, the wish will come true, but if it falls to the ground, the dream will not bring to fruition.
Then we arrived at the exquisite site of Puming Pagoda, which is the symbolic majestic building of the temple. It has a five-storey structure as high as 42 meters.
Unfortunately we missed out on seeing the giant old bell, which is one of the major attractions at the Cold Mountain Temple where you could ring a bell for good luck. We occasionally heard the solemn-bell ringing resounded through the temple courtyards. I thought it was a regular observance and daily schedule of monastic prayer for the monks.
There are many historical relics in the temple such as the statue of Hanshan, the Tablets Corridor, and the stone tablet inscription of the poem "A Night Mooring near Maple Bridge" and some other tablet inscriptions written by famous intellectuals of ancient.
Cold Mountain Temple (Hanshan Temple) has been destroyed and rebuilt many times. The present complex mainly dates from the Qing Dynasty. The main architectural structures in the temple include the Main Hall, Circular Gallery, Sutra Library, Bell Tower, and Maple River Tower.