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The Delicate Rock Hill

The Delicate Rock Hill lies at the side of Mudu Town 30 kilometers southwest to Suzhou city and can be accessed by taking No. 16 Bus and getting down at the foot of the hill. It is 180 meters high and covers 1,800 mu (= 0.0667 hectares). It was said that the Delicate Rock Hill was tall, straight, beautiful and queer, and it looked unwilling to be paralleled with the other hills. Therefore, it has been praised as “the most beautiful and superb hill in south of the Yangtse River”, “more queer and superb than Tiantai Hill” and the “Number one Peak in Wu Area”. It has main scenes like the Well of the King of Wu, the Moon-enjoying Pond, the Flower-flowing Pond, the Hole of Xishi (the beauty of the State of Yue ) and the Terrace for Qin (a seven-stringed plucked instrument in some ways similar to the zither).

From its history, it is observed that the Delicate Rock Hill got its name for the grotesque rocks on the hill, among which the ganoderma rock is the most outstanding. Even as early as in the Jin Dynasty, the Delicate Rock Hill had been known far and wide, and it has a history of more than 1, 700 years so far.

Here are jagged rocks of grotesque shapes on the Delicate Rock Hill which was said to have “Twelve Grotesque Rocks” or “Eighteen Grotesque Rocks”. In fact, there are more grotesque rocks with name on the hill than above-mentioned. Moreover, a few names of the grotesque rocks on the hill come from a variety of myths and legends, most of which are related with the Kings of Wu and Xishi. This is especially fascinating.

The main characteristic of Delicate Rock Hill is that it has many relics of the State Wu, including the legends of Hu Chai, the once mighty King of Wu. According the record of The Spring and Autumn Annals of Wu and Yue and the Note on Leaving Yue Once for All, after Xishi came to Wu at the end of the Spring and Autumn period, she saw in good graces of Hu Chai. In order to win Xishi's favor, Hu Chai specially chose the beautiful Delicate Rock Hill to build a huge-scale temporary summer palace. Hu Chai often stayed here to accompany Xishi to enjoy the beauties of the nature and seek pleasure. The Guanwa Palace was burned down by Yue later and it is said that the Great Hall of the Delicate Rock Temple today is the relic of the palace then.

The Delicate Rock Temple is the largest in scale of the old buildings on the Delicate Rock Hill. Built at the top of the hill, the temple is towering into the sky with a magnificent sight. The Grand Precious Hall in the temple is 25 meters high and 20 meters wide and is imposing with double flying eaves. The Delicate Rock Pagoda east to the hall was built in the second year during the reign of Tianjian in the Liang Dynasty and now is a brick pagoda of seven storeys with eight sides each after having undergone so many changes. The Pagoda stands erect and is the symbol of the Delicate Rock Hill where visitors all like to have pictures taken as souvenirs.