Xian was the capital of China for more than a thousand years, and a number of dynasties were based here. Thus it is not difficult to find the tombs of famous emperors in Xian.
In the morning we took a tour bus that would bring us to Han and Tang dynasty tomb, as well as a famous Buddhist temple that house Buddha relics. We discovered that were the only foreign tourists in the bus. The rest were all local tourists, including a couple from Hong Kong. We paid about 60 Yuan each for the bus trip, which did not include entrance fees. The entrance fees should be close to about 300 Yuan. I have no complaint about this tour; the guide was good, the driver and bus were Ok too. They did not bring us to any tourist shops or expensive eating place.
We visited Miao Ling first. This is the place where the great Han emperor of about 2000 years ago, Han Wudi was buried. His tomb is covered with a great earth mound, while several adjacent mounds belong to those of his wifes and favourite general. The tomb of Han Wudi has not been excavated, just like that of Qin Shi Huang. I have brought a book here and hope to read and understand more about Miao Ling.
Later we visited the underground tomb of a Tang dynasty prince. The wall mural in the underground passage were still vivid and in colour. However there were many parts that were damaged and it seemed there was hardly any protection against the elements and from tourists. Apparently the Prince was executed on the order of his grandmother, Wu Zetian, who was the only woman emperor of China.
The bus then drove up a hill to a place where a famous Tang Emperor and Wu Zetian( who became the only woman emperor of China) were buried. The place is called Qian Ling. Rows of stone animals and generals lined up the path leading up to a hill where the tomb was dug.
After lunch at Qian Ling, we proceeded to the Famen temple to view Buddha relic. I have been there before, but the place was unrecognisable, The surrounding has changed considerably, as a new huge temple complex has been built. It is massive and too ostensible, designed in imperial style to attract tourists. But I wasn’t impressed. I believe a temple should be a solemn place for worship or meditation, and not a shiny grand commercial site built to generate massive income from the tourist dollars. Luckily, the original part of the temple is still there and untouched by the massive extension.