Putuo Shan has been attracting Buddhist pilgrims from all over northeast Asia for at least a thousand years, and there are many tales accounting for the island’s status as the centre of the cult of Guanyin (观音; guānyīn), the Boddhisatva of Compassion. According to one, the goddess attained enlightenment here; another tells how a Japanese monk named Hui’e, travelling home with an image of the goddess, took shelter here from a storm and was so enchanted by the island’s beauty that he stayed, building a shrine on the spot. With the old beliefs on the rise again, many people come specifically to ask Guanyin for favours, often to do with producing children or grandchildren. The crowds of Chinese tourists carry identical yellow cotton bags which are stamped with symbols of the goddess at each temple, sometimes in exchange for donations.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

China features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

26 awe-inspiring architectural wonders

From ancient temples to hyper-modern skyscrapers, these are just a few of the world's most incredible architectural wonders. Whether you're looking to wander l…

01 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
China travel tips: 8 things you need to know before you go

China travel tips: 8 things you need to know before you go

Even 20 years ago China was not a conventional tourist destination. Despite the allure of its beautiful landscapes and history-filled cities, politics, poverty,…

13 Jan 2017 • Simon Frank insert_drive_file Article
The roof of the world: a first-timer's guide to Tibet

The roof of the world: a first-timer's guide to Tibet

The ‘roof of the world’ has exerted a magnetic pull over travellers and adventurers for centuries. This vast, high altitude desert has spawned myths and leg…

10 Nov 2016 • Stuart Butler insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month