Tiānmùshān, Zhejiang Province, China

Rushing stream at Tiānmùshān

The in-town campus of Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University is called Tiānmù, and since I’ve been here in Lin’an, I’ve wanted to see the mountain for which it is named.  Barry and I got a chance when our Maui College colleagues came for a weekend visit.  Tiān means “heaven,” mù means “eye,” and shān “mountain.”  This “Eyes on Heaven Mountain” is the home of about 2,000 species of plants and was once home to numerous Buddhist monasteries.

Giant trees, misty air

The mountain gets about 70 inches of rain a year, so we weren’t surprised to find its paths cool and gleaming.

Liping, Tony, & Jan under giant, ancient trees

Japanese cedar trees grow to incredible heights on the mountain. One Japanese cedar was named the “Tree King” by  Emperor Qianlong during the Qing Dynasty.   The tree measured 86 feet and 11 inches in height and  needed eight people holding hands to encircle its girth.   However, later people stripped the tree of its bark to use for medicinal purposes, so the  tree died leaving a looming hulk in the mist.

The Tree King--a Japanese cedar

Now trees are protected to stymie people from stripping the bark.

Boards around the giant trees help keep people from stripping bark. Not only are the trees huge but also the above ground roots are incredible to see.

Also, Tiānmùshān has what is believed to be the last surviving truly wild population of ginkgo trees, some estimated at 1,000 years old.

Ancient ginkgo trees

The mountain does have one functioning Buddhist monastery  left.

Buddhist monastery altar at Tiānmùshān

However, the focus is on nature.   The trees have plaques with names and history.

The "Champion Tree"

The graves of the monks are unmarked.

The unmarked graves of monks in this once vibrant spiritual center

Monastery bush--white represents purity

Monastery windows

Hikers in the mist: Tony, our guide, Barry, me, Randall, & Jan

Streams, waterfalls, giant trees of Tiānmùshān

Back in our apartment--swapping hiking stories: Liping, Cathy, Randall, Barry, and Jan

Tiānmùshān is a wonderful  place to explore.

Zài Jiàn and Aloha, Renée

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About reneeriley

Our blog was begun as a way to share our experiences in China. From August 2010 to July 2011, my husband, Barry Kristel, and I were at our University of Hawaii Maui College sister school, Zhejiang Agriculture and Forestry University in Lin'an, China, a city considered rural because it has only 500,000 people! We had a wonderful time. Then in February 2012, we returned to teach this time at our other sister school, Shanghai Normal University, in a city of over 21 million people. We've made many discoveries. Did you know that now Chinese girls, at least the ones who go to university, for the most part feel they are luckier than the Chinese boys? Did you know that Shanghai saved over 20,000 European Jews during WWII? Do you know how Chinese university students would deal with problems that come up in Dear Abby letters? What's it like to be on the Great Wall of China? Do you know how many Chinese girls had their feet bound and why? And we have recipes from many of the places we've visited. Among others, you can find instructions on how to fry cicadas from one of my ZAFU students and how to make chocolate-Kahlua waffles from my brother Mike in Gainesville. You can also look back to our earliest entry to see what we experienced in Oaxaca, Mexico, in 2006 during the mainly peaceful six months of protest until the Mexican government sent in the troops. Between our stays in China, Barry and I have been on the Mainland U.S. visiting family, friends and Servas hosts as we traveled home to Maui. We share those experiences too. Welcome to our blog! Aloha and Zài Jiàn, Renée and Barry

One response to “Tiānmùshān, Zhejiang Province, China”

  1. Theresa Milici says :

    what a beautiful place

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