Cherry Ditch Garden

Yingtao Gou

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On the west side of the Shou’an Hill in the western suburbs of Beijing lies the quiet Cherry Ditch Garden (Yingtaogou Garden), rarely patronized by tourists. Starting from the rear of the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, westward along the foot of the Shou’an Hill, a ditch lying between two hills can be found. It is wide at its mouth but narrow in its interior course. The place is called Tuigu (Retreat Valley). A stream called the Water-End or Water-Head flows through it, and since it runs all the way to the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, the tourist may also find his way to the Cherry Ditch by following its banks from the temple. Along the entire course the tourist will find grotesque rocks. As the name implies, the place was once filled with cherry trees, but now they grow only at the south of the ditch.

Going east along the stream, at the end of the path, a stone bridge connects the two hills. West of the bridge, the gate of the Luyanjingshe (Fine Villa on Deer Cliff) invites the tourist, and behind it is the picturesque Cherry Ditch Garden. The entire compound was originally a private villa built on the slope of the hill. Near the en-trance are groves of verdurous bamboo; along the path leading into the garden the ground is shaded by full-grown trees. In spring and summer, the hues and aroma of wild, seasonal flowers add much to the charm. The numerous natural rocky cliffs alongside the path offer even more scenic beauty.

At the end of the stream a spring rises from a huge rock. Beside it is the Bailuyan (White Deer Cave), inside of which lies a stone bed. Legend has it that a holy man, roaming through the country on a white deer, saw the beautiful scenery of this place and decided to make it his home. The tourist may doubt the story, but the beauty of the place is undeniable.

It is said that cherry trees grew around the Guanghui Buddhist Convent, hence the name Yingtaogou. The cherry trees disappeared long ago, but the name continues to be used.

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