The Lion Grove Garden

No, sorry, there aren’t any lions here.

狮子林园

Shī Zi Lín Yuán 

ABOUT LION GROVE GARDEN

The Lion Grove Garden is one of the famous classical gardens of Suzhou. It is famous for its large grotto of taihu rocks (a special type of limestone, found only in Suzhou) in the center of the garden. It was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with the other classical gardens.

The garden was built in 1342 by a Buddhist monk, in admiration and memory of his teacher. Before a garden, it was a monastery. It gains it’s name from the taihu rocks, as they mimic the image of a lion.


I’ve discovered a terrible obsession with Chinese doorways, windows and floor tiles. I get so excited when I see extravagant and unique architecture/furnishings.

 

I don’t know why, but I got such an overwhelming sense of peace in this garden.

The day was bleak. It was raining lightly as I left my hostel, but it pounded harder as I walked away from the comfort of my bunk and heat. However, I traveled and spent time and money to come here, so god help me if I don’t go see the sights of Suzhou.

The weather made me miserable. My friends were lapping up the sun in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, or just back in Beijing. I started to feel lonely on my trip, but the Lion Grove Garden changed that for me. I had been to the Humble Administrators Garden the day before, but this one is definitely my favorite.

Despite there being many people there, it was incredibly peaceful and serene. The garden and buildings was well kept, with the few additions of some lighting and signs to explain the purpose and meaning. There are mazes of rocks where the path turns around them, the slippery steps up and down, but you gain some fabulous sights from them.


You get lost. One minute, you think you’re going to arrive at one shelter, and then you realise you’re on the other side surrounding the water.


As I got further into the garden, I didn’t bother with my annoyance at the weather. I became more and more joyful as it was so beautiful. I couldn’t believe that this was my life. I get to live somewhere with so much beautiful architecture and culture.


My new favourite past-time: sitting on the ledge of a pavilion, listening to the rain.

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