Purple Mountain (Zhongshan Mountain National Park)

Tourist Map of Nanjing Purple Mountain
Tourist Map of Purple Mountain
(Click to enlarge)

Towering in the eastern suburb of Nanjing, Purple Mountain (Zhongshan Mountain National Park) has been known as one of the four most famous mountains in Southern China. It got its name because purple clouds can often be seen at the top of the mountain. The mountain is not only very beautiful, but also rich in historical and cultural relics.

The mountain covers a total area of 31 square kilometers (12 square miles), with more than two hundred scenic spots, including fifteen key historical and cultural relics under state protection and one world cultural heritage site, the Xiaoling Mausoleum of Ming Dynasty. The Purple Mountain consists of four core scenic areas, including the Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum Scenic Area on the southern slope, the Xiaoling Mausoleum of Ming Dynasty Scenic Area to the west of the Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum and the Linggu Temple Scenic Area to the east, and the Toutuo Ridge Scenic Area on the mountain top.

The Xiaoling Mausoleum of Ming Dynasty Scenic Area in  Purple Mountain comprises the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, some subordinate facilities, and some nearby attractions. The subordinate facilities include the Big Golden Gate, the Square City, and the Sacred Way. The Xiama Archway, the Plum Blossom Valley, the Zixia Lake and the Historic Site of Crown Prince Zhu Biao's Tomb are all nearby scenic spots in the Xiaoling Mausoleum of Ming Dynasty Area.

The Xiaoling Mausoleum of Ming Dynasty is the largest imperial mausoleum in Nanjing. It was constructed in 1381. Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang, the first Emperor of the Ming Dynasty (1368- 1911), and his empress were buried in it in 1398. The magnificent mausoleum represents the highest level of architecture and stone carving art in the early Ming Dynasty. Renowned as "The First Imperial Mausoleum in the Ming and Qing Dynasties", the Xiaoling Mausoleum of Ming Dynasty has a dramatic influence on the pattern of imperial mausoleums in the following five hundred years. In July, 2003, the Xiaoling Mausoleum of Ming Dynasty was listed as a World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Xiaoling Mausoleum of Ming Dynasty
Xiaoling Mausoleum of Ming Dynasty
Zixia Lake
Zixia Lake by Xiaoling Mausoleum

Walking south from the mausoleum in  Purple Mountain, you will find the Plum Blossom Hill. In Nanjing, planting plum trees can date back to the Six Dynasties (222- 589). Because of the long history and abundance of plum blossom trees, the Plum Blossom Hill is famous as the "No. 1 Plum Blossom Hill under Heaven". First built in 1929, the plum blossom garden has more than 13,000 plum blossom trees of more than 400 species, covering a total area of more than 102 hectares (252 acres). The garden is one of the four plum blossom gardens in China, along with the Dianshanhu Plum Blossom Garden in Shanghai, the Plum Blossom Garden in Wuxi of Jiangsu Province, and the Moshan Plum Blossom Garden by the East Lake in Wuhan. The delicate fragrant flowers are usually in full blossom from late February to mid March. Owing to its beautiful scenery and rich cultural content, the Plum Blossom Hill attracts a great number of tourists both home and abroad.
 Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum is the burial site of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the great pioneer of China's democratic revolution and "Father of the Republic of China". The mausoleum was constructed in three years from 1926 to 1929. It was listed as a key historical and cultural site under state protection in 1961 and a national AAAAA scenic spot in 2007. 

On the archway is engraved "Universal Love" which is handwritten by Dr. Sun Yat-sen. Behind the archway is a path which is more than 480 meters (1,575 feet) and leads to the single-eave granite Mausoleum Gate. The gate is embellished with blue glazed tiles, with a length of 27 meters (86 feet), a width of 8.8 meters (29 feet) and a height of 16.5 meters (54 feet). It consists of three arched doors. On the door in the middle is carved the inscription "The Whole World as a Community" which is also written by Dr. Sun Yat-sen. Passing through a square Stele Pavilion, one will arrive at the Sacrificial Hall. The hall is made of white granite, concrete and steel, and decorated with blue glazed tiles. In the center of the hall stands a white marble sculpture of sitting Dr. Sun Yat-sen. Getting through the gate to the tomb, one will reach the coffin chamber. A white marble sculpture of lying Dr. Sun Yat-sen is located in the center. That is very solemn and respectful.

Apart from the mausoleum in Zhongshan Mountain National Park, there are also plenty of memorial buildings, including the Open-Air Music Hall, the Xingjian Pavilion, the Guanghua Pavilion, the Liuhui Waterside Pavilion, and the Sutra Depository. All the buildings are harmonious in color and structure. The Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum is not only splendid, but also exquisite. Thus, it is renowned as the "First Mausoleum in the Architectural History of Modern China".

Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum
Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum on Purple Mountain
Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum
Mausoleum Gate

The Open-Air Music Hall is located in the southeast of the Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum Square. With a gross area of 4,200 square meters (1 acre), the hall was built in about one year from 1932 to 1933. As a subordinate project of the Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum, the Open-Air Music Hall is a place where musical performances and public speeches are held.

The semicircular hall is made of concrete and steel. At the center of the hall is the stage. Behind the stage stands an echo wall. In front of the stage is a banana-shaped lotus pond. A semicircular lawn in front of pond can hold three thousand people. Tourists can also take a rest in the corridor surrounding the lawn. Moreover, they can buy some foodstuff for the lovely white pigeons in the hall.

Built in 1931, the Meiling Palace or May-ling Villa is located to the west of the Parking Lot of Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum. Seen from above, the Mausoleum Road looks like a necklace, and the villa is just like a delicate emerald on it.

The roof is decorated with green glazed tiles and carved with more than 1,000 phoenixes. The yellow walls, red pillars, and beautiful paintings under the eave look very spectacular. In front of the building is a Buick car which was presented to Soong May-ling by the American government.

Linggu Pagoda
Linggu Pagoda
The Linggu Scenic Area in Purple Mountain Scenic Area consists of the Linggu Temple of the Six Dynasties, the Wangong Pond of the Ming Dynasty, the largest beamless hall in China, the Linggu Pagoda of the Republic of China (1912- 1949), and the Pine Wind Pavilion.

Built in the Southern Dynasties (420- 589), the Linggu Temple was first named "Kaishan Temple" in memory of the eminent monk Baozhi. Emperor Taizu in the Ming Dynasty presented the name "Linggu Temple" to it and bestowed the title "No. 1 Buddhist Temple under Heaven" upon it. In 1983, the temple was listed as a national key Buddhist temple in the Han nationality region.

Toutuo Ridge Scenic Area

The Toutuo Ridge is the main peak of the Purple Mountain. The scenic area exudes an ancient and tranquil atmosphere on account of the historic sites of the Six Dynasties. The Cableway will transfer you to the ridge; the ticket fare is CNY 60 for a single trip and CNY 100 for a round-trip. You can appreciate the White Cloud Pavilion, the Liu Ji Cave, the Black Dragon Pool, the Stone Carvings, and the Purple Mountain Observatory up there. Also, you can look at the city of Nanjing in the distance. It will be a delightful and relaxing experience!


 How to get to Purple Mountain?
Scenic Sites By Metro
(Closest Station)
By Bus
(Closest Stop)
Xiaoling Mausoleum of Ming Dynasty Line 2 (Muxuyuan Station), or Line 4  (Gangzicun Station) Line 20, 315 or G5
(Xiaoling Mausoleum of Ming Dynasty Station)
Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum Line 2
(Xiamafang Station) 
Line 34
(Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum Parking Lot Station)
Linggu Temple  Line 2
(Zhonglingjie Station)
Line 202
(Linggusi Park)
Toutuo Ridge Scenic Area Line 4
(Jiangwangmiao Station)
Line 20 or 315
(Purple Mountain Cableway Station)
 Nanjing Bus / Metro Search

 How to tour around the Scenic Area?
There are 8 sightseeing lines and 1 special line in the scenic area. They can take tourists from one scenic spot to another. The sightseeing line costs CNY 10 for a single trip, while the special line costs CNY 2 for a single trip.
Bus Lines Routes
Sightseeing Line 1 Muxuyuan Metro Station- Square City- Meiling Palace (Ming Xiaoling Museum)- Underwater World- South Station of Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum
Sightseeing Line 2 Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum Parking Lot (Zilanli Commercial Street)- South Station of Dr. Sun Yat-sen's   Mausoleum- Xiaoling Mausoleum of Ming Dynasty (Zixia Lake)
Sightseeing Line 3 Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum- Xiaoling Mausoleum of Ming Dynasty (Zixia Lake)
Sightseeing Line 4 East Station of Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum- Linggu Scenic Area
Sightseeing Line 5 Linggu Scenic Area- South Station of Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum- Xiaoling Mausoleum of Ming Dynasty (Zixia Lake)
Sightseeing Line 6 Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum Parking Lot (Zilanli Commercial Street)- Meiling Palace (Ming Xiaoling Museum)-   Underwater World- Xiaoling Mausoleum of Ming Dynasty (Zixia Lake)
Sightseeing Line 7 Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum- Xiamafang Metro Station
Sightseeing Circle Line Muxuyuan Metro Station- Meiling Palace (Ming Xiaoling Museum)- Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum Parking Lot - Linggu Scenic Area- South Station of Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum- Xiaoling Mausoleum of Ming Dynasty- Underwater World- Meiling Palace- Muxuyuan Metro Station
Special Line 1 Muxuyuan Metro Station- Xiamafang Metro Station- Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum Parking Lot (Zilanli Commercial Street)- Meiling Palace (Ming Xiaoling Museum)- Underwater World- West Station of Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum- Xiaoling Mausoleum of Ming Dynasty (Zixia Lake)- Meiling Palace (Ming Xiaoling Museum)- City Square- Muxuyuan Metro Station

Admission Fee and Opening Hours

Scenic Spots Ticket Price Opening Hours
Xiaoling Mausoleum of Ming Dynasty Scenic Area CNY 70, including the Plum Blossom Hill Mar. - Nov.: 6:30- 18:30
Dec. - Feb. next year: 7:00- 17:30
Ming Xiaoling Museum: 9:00 - 17:00
Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum Scenic Area Free of charge 8:30- 17:00, closed on Monday except during holidays.
Open-Air Music Hall CNY 10 Mar. - Nov.: 6:30- 18:30
Dec. - Feb. next year: 7:00- 17:30
Meiling Palace CNY 30 7:30 - 18:00
Linggu Scenic Area CNY 35 Mar. - Nov.: 6:30- 18:00
Dec. - Feb. next year: 7:00- 17:30
Toutuo Ridge Scenic Area Free of charge  All day long

Combo Ticket of the Attractions Mentioned Above 
CNY 100 ---
Free for children under 1.4m (4.6 feet).

Recommended Nearby Attractions

1. Nanjing Museum
2. Xuanwu Lake
3. City Wall

12 Best Places to Visit in Nanjing
- Last updated on Jun. 06, 2023 -
Questions & Answers on Purple Mountain (Zhongshan Mountain National Park)
Asked by Lu from ARGENTINA | Jun. 06, 2023 02:32Reply
Recommended time visit
Hello! What is the estimated time to visit the Purple Mountain attractions and also, how long it takes to get to the top without cable car?
Answers (1)
Answered by Fred Green | Jun. 06, 2023 19:54

It depends on which entrance you enter, but generally it takes about 1-3 hours to get to the top. If you want to cover all the attractions, one day may be needed.
Asked by Ray Lee from AUSTRALIA | Jul. 27, 2019 01:49Reply
What is the frequency of the Nanjing Purple Mountain sightseeing line and special line buses?
Answers (1)
Answered by Lucia from USA | Jul. 29, 2019 19:08

Generally speaking, the bus will go until it is full of visitors. There are many schedules one day. Don't worry.
Asked by Emilianic from INDONESIA | Jul. 24, 2019 21:40Reply
I hv plan to how to Purple Mountain at October 5th
Need some advise for the itinerary around this area
We need to go to the top by cable car (return trip) , xuanwu lake, dr. sun yat sen maosoleum, scenic area, meliling palace

To avoid crowded visitor, how do the plan?
Going up at the mountain by cable car or the others first?

And where is the gate to go to cable car?
Thanks a lot because i will go with 2 senior citizen
Answers (1)
Answered by Parr from USA | Jul. 29, 2019 19:06

1. October 5th is in the China's National Day. That's mean you will expect large crowds in every popular tourism area. Thus you are suggested to go to the scenic area early in the morning.

2. You can go up the mountain by cable car. There is sightseeing bus in the scenic area can take you to the pick-up spot.
Asked by Hany B. from EGYPT | Jun. 13, 2019 03:10Reply
I am going to Visit Nanjing for (3) Days Next Month July 2019
So if you do not mind could u please to propose to me Visit a good plan / day for the Top spots and the places where i must see it during the visits, furthermore the best shopping centers for clothes, toys, accessories & So on,,

Please to mention the sight, how can i reach ? the proper time to visit ? the fees (if any) ?
Answers (2)
Answered by Amber from CANADA | Jun. 13, 2019 23:16

Day 1 Presidential Palace, Xuanwu Lake
Day 2 Xiaoling Mausoleum of Ming Dynasty, Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum
Day 3 Nanjing City Wall, Confucius Temple (Fuzimiao), Qinhuai River

Shopping Center: A lot of shopping malls are located at Xinjiekou Area. You can also stroll around in Fuzimiao Market, which is at No.188 Pingjiangfu Road, Qinhuai District.

You can take metro to most of the attractions.
Answered by Hany B. from EGYPT | Jun. 15, 2019 00:08

Thank you,,
Asked by Suman from SUMANRAKSHIT2012GMAIL.COM | Mar. 22, 2019 22:57Reply
Can someone please explain more on Nanjing Sightseeing bus & special bus?
I don't understand the cost mentioned for single trip in the sightseeing & special bus section. What is the difference between the two buses? Also, do I have to pay 10 CNY everytime I hop on & off from stop to stop?

Thank you.
Answers (1)
Answered by Jane from USA | Mar. 28, 2019 20:06

The sightseeing bus is the electronic mobile operating between several scenic spots and you need to pay every time you hop on & off. However, the special bus line covers more attractions and the fare is cheaper.
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