Hohhot, the capital of Inner Mongolia, lies between the Yinshan Mountain and the Yellow River. Hohhot, which is Mongolian for "green city", dates from 306 BC and throughout its long history has been an important cultural centre of the region.
Today it is the most important city in Inner Mongolia and is home to 36 different ethnic groups. Notable among these are Mongolian, Han, Manchu, Hui, Tibetan, Dawoer, Elunchun, Ewenke and Korean, etc. The city zone covers 120 square kilometer with a population exceeding 1,400,000.
Hohhot is an ideal place to relax away from modern day pressure thanks to the magnificent natural beauty of the Gegentala and Xilamuren Grasslands as well as fantastic cultural sites such as the Dazhao Temple, Five-Pagoda Temple and the Xilituzhao Palace. Mongolian folk songs and wrestling are popular entertainments while ethnic delicacies and the clemency of the local people add to the enjoyment of a stay here. Travelers can enjoy a wide variety of activities including horse riding, or maybe visiting the home of a herdsman's family or roaming over the vast grassland and of course there is the thrilling Nadam Fair.
As a tourist resort, Hohhot has a modern reliable transport network, excellent hotels and large shopping centers. The city brings together specialties from all over Inner Mongolia, ranging from Mongolian silverwares, carpets, cashmere, camel hair products, traditional knives, decorative deer antlers, narrow-leaved oleaster curtain, oatmeal and various dairy products to fancy Mongolian costumes.
Dazhao Temple is the oldest building and the largest temple in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia. Locally, people usually refer to it as the Silver Buddha Temple for it is here that there is a rare silver statue of Sakyamuni that measures 2.5 meter high.
The construction of the temple was completed in 1580 during the Ming dynasty and it is therefore the oldest Lamaist Buddhist temple in Inner Mongolia. There was a major reconstruction in 1640 although much of the original architectural style was retained.
Dazhao Temple owns its fame to a visit by the third Tibetan Dalai Lama in 1586, when he came to dedicate the Silver Buddha statue. As a consequence Hohhot became a religious center for people from all over Mongolia who came to worship at the temple. Another notable event in the temple's long history was a visit by Emperor Kangxi during the early part of the Qing dynasty.
The temple is now a well-known tourist attraction because of the impressive buildings, splendid statues, delicate frescos, musical instruments and fine collection of Buddhist scriptures. Of its abundant religious relics perhaps the most notable are the "Three Marvelous Treasures", a title given to the Silver Buddha, the carved dragons on the huge golden pillars on either side of the statue and the murals commemorating the Emperor's visit.
Also called Jingangzuo Sheli Baota, this temple is seated in Wuta Jie, the southeastern part of the old town. It is the only remaining part of the Cideng Temple.
As the temple has 5 small square-shaped dagobas on its top, it is named Wuta Si (Five Pagoda Temple).The lower part of the temple has many designs related to Buddhism and Jingang Scripture written in Mongolian, Tibetan, and Chinese. More than one thousand small but exquisite gold-plated figures of the Buddha are molded in upper tiers.
The most valuable stonecutting is the one carved on the northern wall. It is the only astronomical map annotated in Mongolian ever discovered in the world.
Gegentala Prairie means in Mongolian "a place for spending summer". It is situated to the north of Mt. Daqing, 145 kilometer away from Hohhot.
The prairie is a scenic spot supported both by the Natural Tourist Bureau and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. You will be truly astonished by the remarkable beauty of the natural scenery on the prairie. You will also be welcomed by the herdsmen and their families who enjoy sharing knowledge of their customs and habits.
Furthermore, you can have a good time horseback riding or experiencing a pleasure trip on a camel. Meanwhile you might get a chance to take in a Mongolian wrestling match or horse race. At night, tourists can gather around a bonfire and listen to folk songs and watch folk dances.
Xilamuren meaning "yellow river" in Mongolian is located 100 kilometer north of Hohhot. Xilamuren Prairie, commonly known as Taihe, got its name from the Puhui Temple, a Lama temple built in the Qing dynasty near the Xilamuren River.
Constructed in 1769 during the reign of Emperor Qianlong, Puhui Temple was initially a resort of the Sixth Panchen Lama of Xilitu of Huhhot. With engraved beams and pictured purlins, the temple appears quite splendid.
Xilamuren Prairie, a typical example on the plateau, is covered by green grass and fresh flowers every summer and autumn.
Xilituzhao, also called Xiao Zhao, is situated in the south of Stone Lane (Shitou Xiang), Yu Quan District (Yu Qaun Qu), Hohhot. It is the largest surviving Lama temple in the city. But it was considered a small temple when it was constructed during the Ming dynasty.
It is said that Xitituge, who was a teacher of Dalai Lama IV, once ascended to the Holy Seat of Dalai Lama in Tibet. Upon his return he changed his temple's name into Xilitu Zhao. Xilitu means Holy Seat in Tibetan and Zhao means temple in Mongolian.
After the reparations and expansions during the Qing dynasty, it achieved its current design. Its architectural complex is the splendid Da Jing Tang. The whole building is in the Han Style, except the main hall, Da Dian, which is of Tibetan Style, decorated with colorful glazed tiles on its inner walls.
Xilitu Zhao is still active today. The Buddhist Conference is held in it each year. Sometimes you may come across an exciting religious activity.
Located near the bank of Da Hei River, south of Hohhot, this tomb is one of the most beautiful scenes of ancient times.
This tomb is occupying an area of 1.3 hectare and it was said that each year when it turned cold and grasses became yellow that only this tomb remained green and so got the name Green Tomb (Qing Zhong). In fact this is not the reason it became famous, but because of the lady Wang Zhaojun.
Wang Zhaojun, a daughter of a Han family, was elected to enter the imperial palace because of her beauty in the Western Han dynasty. In the year 33 BC Hu Yan Ye Chan Yu, the Emperor of Xiongnu, an ethnic group country, came to ask for her hand in marriage in order to have friendly relations with Han. Zhaojun then married herself off to the grasslands of her own free will; this is called Zhaojun Chu Sai meaning Zhaojun went out beyond the Great Wall, which is a very important incident that happened in the history of Han and Xiongnu.
She made great contributions to the relationship between Han and Xiongnu. In the following 60 years, no wars broke out and people lived a better life and she also spread Han culture and knowledge to the ethnic group of people.
This tomb was built in the commemoration of this lady. She was not really buried here and nobody knows where and when she died.
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