Brief of Sweet Osmanthus Rain at Manjuelong Village
One of the best sides of Hangzhou is that a chance to indulge in natural beauty is always within walking distance. Tucked away in the exuberant forests off the western shore of West Lake, Manjuelong Village(满觉陇村) is a hermit’s heaven and a paradise for nature lovers.
Nestling within a narrow strip of valley dwarfed by the soaring the Southern Peak and White Crane Peak, this secluded, mysterious and inviting village is a place to appreciate Osmanthus flowers, which are crowned as the city flower of Hangzhou.
Since remote antiquity, this place has held Buddhist flavor. Monks dwelling in Lingyin Temple spared no effort in beautifying their surroundings with Osmanthus trees. The 10th century saw Yuanxing Temple take form. In 1065, it was renamed “Manjue”, which literally means “gaining enlightenment successfully”.
Manjuelong Village is the best place to enjoy Sweet Osmanthus flowers in Hangzhou. Now, you will have the privilege to marvel at over 7,000 Osmanthus trees roughly falling into four varieties. Among them, the most ancient dates back to over 200 years ago. When autumn falls, they will bloom wild and largely in hues of creamy white, golden yellow or shining orange. As balmy autumn breezes blow over them, the tiny blossoms will fall off the trees and cover the ground with an elegant floral carpet; one can even find a few that have landed on the shoulders as one basks in these poetic, richly scented surroundings.
Though tiny and unattractive at first sight, Sweet Osmanthus is beloved by poets, scholars and chefs for good reason. In the morning, the dewy flowers look more stunning, in the moonlight, their perfume is more overwhelming.
During each September to October, Hangzhou will host West Lake Osmanthus Festival. It is time to feast eyes on these dazzling flowers, to watch assorted shows as well as to eat snacks and dishes made out of these cute flowers, such as slow-cooked lotus root filled with glutinous rice and rock sugar, and sweet rice beads in fermented rice soup. Nicely sprinkled on the plates, Osmanthus petals lend beautiful colors and an enchanting taste to these dishes, making them a visual and olfactory delight.