Pritam Rohila Travels

Reports of my travels along with some pictures

Nov 5, 2010


May 25

After breakfast, next morning (May 25), we left for a visit to the Summer Palace.

Now a UNESCO’s World Heritage site, the Summer Palace was built by Emperor Qianlong for his mother’s 60th birthday, in 1750. After being plundered & burnt by the Anglo French forces, it was renovated in 1860 with funds diverted from the China’s naval budget.

Cixi, an ambitious concubine, who ended up as Empress Dowager, lived here in luxury for almost 20 years. Also she ruled China from here, until her death in 1908. She is known as the Dragon Lady for misusing funds for China’s navy, and imprisoning her nephew.

We entered through the East Gate, and

went directly to the Hall of Joyful Longevity. It was built in 1887 for the pleasure of Cixi, who had 48 attendants in the hall, and over a thousand in the Summer Palace.

It was covered with the traditional designs and paints in red, blue, turquoise, and gold colors.

The courtyard was adorned with copper sculptures of lion,



The Long Corridor, a covered wooden walkway, extends about one-half mile. It skirts the northern shore of Lake Kunming. More than 14,000 paintings of designs, as well as scenes from legends and nature cover almost every inch of

almost every inch of its

ceiling and


Ringed by tree-lined dikes, Kunming Lake is a giant body of water. It has bridges & gazebos.

Seen from the lake, Pagodas & Temples dot the Longevity Hill.

The most prominent among them is the Tower of Buddhist Incense.

At the foot of the Longevity Hill, and on the west bank of the lake is a unique boat – a boat made entirely of marble, which does not go anywhere.

This Marble Boat was built in 1893, by the Dowager Empress Cixi with funds embezzled from the Navy. It has colored-glass windows, and is paved with colored bricks. Four dragon heads mounted in each direction serve as drains, allowing rain water to be channeled picturesquely out of their mouths.

We enjoyed a short cruise on the lake.

Thousands of people throng the Summer Palace to enjoy its sights,

have a family get-together

have a family get-together

take pictures

have treats, and/or

to buy souvenirs.

Our next stop in the area was a Pearl Factory, near the Summer Palace. Pearls which are harvested from oysters raised in a part of the Kunming Lake, are processed and sold at the Factory.

Under the picture of Cixi, who loved pearls, a lady, at the Pearl Factory, demonstrated how they cultured pearls are harvested from oysters.



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