Monday, March 5, 2012

Hupao Spring (Tiger Running Spring) in Hangzhou

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Set against the beautiful backdrop of nature is the Daci(Compassion) Hill, the home of the famous and inspiring Hupao Spring.
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Hupao is literally translated from Chinese to mean Tiger Running, hence the name of this spring which may sound weird to most people when one first hear of it.
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The name of the spring owes its origins to a legendary story of a monk, Xing Kong, who was living in the temple named after the Daci Hill; the Daci Temple. Due to the lack of source of water in the area, Xing Kong was feeling unwell and he was planning to leave Hangzhou as he was unable to continue to survive any longer. It was then that same night when he thought of leaving, he had a queer dream where an immortal appeared before him and told him not to worry any longer as there will be two tigers appearing tomorrow. The two tigers will be running and they will be leading to the new source of fountain/water where they will dig and water will spring out from the ground.
True enough, the next day, two tigers appeared at the foot of the hill and dug a hole from the ground and there was water, thus the spring was named after the two running tigers who brought the water to life.
That was how Hupao got its name; from two running tigers.

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A statue of tiger in honor of the tiger who found the spring.

The uniqueness of the Hupao Spring is the quality of the water, which was reputed to be the third best in the whole of China.
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In actual fact, the spring was formed from the underground water seeping through the faults; veins and cracks of the quartz sandstone on the cliffs/rocks which were unspoilt by foreign materials, thus the water that flows from the spring comes out crystal clear and clean due to the natural filtration system in place. The water also contains a high level of radon content (a type of radioactive material) and tastes sweet and pure, not to mention the cold taste, making it undoubtedly the third best in China, for its good taste and also the health benefits due to the contents in the water.

The quality of the water of Hupao Spring also makes it excellent to brew the famous Longjing tea; in fact, the combination tastes great, adding another attraction to this place and also Hangzhou.
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Another interesting thing to note about the water from the spring is that apparently if you were to pour the water into a bowl, the water would rise 3mm above the bowl edge and it will not overflow even when a coin is put into the bowl. This is a scientifically proven phenomenon and it is all due to the high tension surface of the water.

The Hupao Spring is surrounded by trees and forests, and the place is now turned into the Tiger Running Spring Forest Park.
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Besides the nature and also the sounds of clear water gushing against the small rocks forming a small stream around the park, there is also a memorial dedicated to a famous scholar and poet, Li Shantong which was erected to pay homage to him for his outstanding works in drama, painting, poetry, calligraphy and music.
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There were originally three wells from the spring; however, they have since combined them and there are now two large pools in the park.
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There is also a tea house, to enjoy the brew of the Longjing (Dragon Well) tea with the water from the Hupao Spring.
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The whole park itself is a myriad of colors; from the tall trees with colorful leaves to the landscapes and the clear water.
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It was said that the park could remind one of spring, as there is that unmistakable scent of spring in the air, and I hereby echo that call as walking through the whole park, despite it being winter, still makes me think of the beauties of spring.
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It's fascinating that the locals are even seen filling water from water sources and the spring within the park, and that confirmed the theory or any doubt whether the water is suitable for drinking.
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Our tour guide, who was telling us against taking photos of some of the statues
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A statue of the monk Xing Kong with the two tigers (photo from the web)
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A statue of tiger head sprouting water from the spring (photo from the web)
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This is definitely a beautiful place to boast of Hangzhou's treasures, and it is even said that having a cup of Longjing brewed with water from the Hupao Spring will just complete your trip to Hangzhou :)
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