With an area of about 13 square kilometers, Putuo is a small island out of 1,390 islands in Zhoushan Archipelago. Opposite to it across the sea is Shenjiamen, which is well known for its busy fishing harbor. As one of China's four most famous Buddhist sanctums, Putuo is compared to a Buddhist Paradise or a Sacred Sanctum amidst the sea. It is among the first included list of China's Major Scenic Areas and ranks as one of the country's AAAAA tourist destinations.
The first temple on Putuo Island was built in A.D. 858, presided by a Japanese monk named Hui'e. There are many famous temples on the island, such as Puji Temple, Fayu Temple, Pantuo Nunnery, Lingshi Nunnery. There are some famous scenic spots like Caoyin Cave, Fanyin Cave, etc.
As a well-known Kwan-yin Bodhisattva sanctum, religious activities on Putuo Island can be traced back to Qin Dynasty (221-207 B.C)., and the relics of ancient Taoist and alchemist activities can still be found there now.
In A.D. 847, a monk from India made a pilgrimage to Chaoyin Cave on the island. There, he felt the spirit, knowing that Kwan-yin Bodhisattva was preaching sermon to him, so he began to spread the legend about Kwan-yin's appearing.
In A.D. 863, a Japanese monk named Hui'e respectfully invited a Kwan-yin statue from Mount Wutai in China' to Japan. However, his ship was more than once encountered with storms in the Lotus Sea around the island, unable to reach the destination. Then Hui'e suddenly realized that Kwan-yin Bodhisattva was unwilling to leave for Japan. So he decided to put the statue beside Chaoyin Cave. The statue then was called Kwan-yin Bodhisattva Unwilling to leave.
In the period of full bloom, there were 4 major temples, 106 nunneries, 139 sheds and 4564 monks, making the island Number one Buddhist Paradise in China.
South Sky Gate
Every year, in the 19th day of the 2nd month of Chinese lunar calendar, (birthday of Kwan-yin), the 19th day of the 6th month (the day Kwan-yin became an immortal) and the 19th day of the 9th month (the day Kwan-yin cloistered). Buddhist believers around the world gather on the island to worship Kwan-yin Bodhisattva. The ceremony is magnificent. Tourists would be deeply impressed by joss sticks and burning candles, and crowds of Buddhists followers chanting sutras and worshiping Kwan-yin and other Buddhist gods all day long.
Thanks to its history of over a thousand years, the island has become a place with rich Buddhist culture and a place for people to be freed from cares and worries.