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Elegant Hangzhou
Text and photographs by Akhil Parashar

 

A panoramic view of West Lake.

Many consider picturesque Hangzhou a Paradise on Earth. Thanks to its numerous mountains, hills, rivers and lakes, Hangzhou is characterized as a beautiful urban landscape with unique Eastern flavor. When Marco Polo arrived in Hangzhou in the 13th Century, he declared it “the most beautiful and elegant city in the world.” A still-popular Chinese saying goes, “Heaven is above, and below are Hangzhou and Suzhou.”

Hangzhou is a pristine model of a beautiful city. It not only shines thanks to millennia-old landscapes and artistic conceptions, but continues sparkling because of careful maintenance, broad civility and warm humanity. Since ancient times, Hangzhou has been referenced in numerous poems and paintings, fueling its continuous appeal. It is under a global spotlight today as host of the G20 Summit. Tourists from all over the world are streaming into the city for its slow life tempo and exquisite landscapes.

Hangzhou is perhaps best known for West Lake, a body of water that has been immortalized in art and literature countless times. Stunning West Lake is surrounded by mountains on three sides. It is divided into five sections by three causeways. Numerous temples, pagodas, gardens, and artificial islands can be found within the lake area. Peaks tremble as they are reflected off the ripples of the crystal water. Several causeways stretch across the lake and many islets dot the water, creating a natural panoramic scroll of landscapes. It’s hard to tire of West Lake.

 

 

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