Precious Stone Hill is located in the north bank of Inner West Lake. The 78 meters high hill belongs to rhyolite and tuff, containing iron oxide, showing red ochre color, sparkling in the sun like shining gem, hence its name. The mountain is selected among the new top ten West Lake attractions, called “Precious Stone Hill Floating in Rosy Cloud”.
0n the east top of Precious Stone Hill soars the tall and beautiful Baochu Pagoda which was a landmark of West Lake scenic area. The name Baochu, translated directly, means “protect Chu”, who, legend has it, refers to Qian Chu, the last king of Wuyue. As the story goes, one of King Chu’s ministers had the temple constructed for prayers to be said for his safe return from a trip he had taken to Kaifeng, in central China. He had been summoned there by the Emperor and had been gone many days with no news of his return.
It was originally constructed in 963 and stood nine storeys tall. Its most recent reconstruction, in 1933, left it slightly shorter, seven storeys, and it has most recently had its lantern replaced on its top, though its previous one is on display near the pagoda. It is constructed of brick and stone and contains no internal staircase. The tower lies next to a path that runs the length of West Lake’s northern mountain range and is accessible by both dirt paths and cement stairs from nearly every side of the mountain.
On the east of Precious Stone Hill lies the 365 meters high famous Taoist hill – Geling Hill. Legend has it that a famous Taoist priest, Ge Hong (281-341) engaged in the Taoist practice of making pills of immortality in this hill hence the name of Geling Hill. On the hillside of Geling Hill is the famous Baopu Taoist Temple which, as legend has it, was where Ge Hong made immortality pills.
Baopu Taoist Temple was built during the Eastern Jin Dynasty and was extended during the period from the Song (420-479) through the Tang (618-907) Dynasties. It was rebuilt during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
Today, Baopu Temple is one of China’s major Taoist temples. Encouraged by the Chinese government’s policy of freedom of religious belief, local people and government officials have renovated the temple and its subsidiary buildings and put the relics on the hill under protection. Every day, the priests of the temple study Taoist classics and medical treatises and practice martial arts.
Guide itinerary: Beishan Street -> Precious Stone Hill -> Baochu Pagoda -> Baopu Taoist Temple -> Geling Hill