The Jingshan Park (景山公園) is just across the road from Forbidden City as you exit the North Gate of the Divine Might (神午門). The Pavilion of Royal Longevity (壽皇殿牌樓) that sits atop the hill is really worth the climb because it is a superb view-point that allows you to see all of Forbidden City under your eyes. You are most likely tired after exploring the enormous Forbidden City but bear with the tiredness and the view will be rewarding.
The Jingshan Park started off as a temporary palace – Taining Palace, during the Jin Dynasty (1166 – 1208). It became part of the imperial garden throughout three dynasties – Yuan(1215 – 1331), Ming (1368 – 1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Gary was telling me that he saw from National Geographic channel that Jingshan Park was designed with elements of Fengshui in mind. The Forbidden City itself represents a dragon, with the Pavilion of Royal Longevity atop the hill being the dragon’s tail tip, with the hope that the “qi” of the dragon will protect the imperial family and ensure the prosperity of the country.
The Forbidden City looks so small now. Looking at it, I could almost imagine a web covering the city, chaining the destinies of many people together, be it tragedy or happy ending.
The Ming Dynasty ended right at the base of the hill. The last emperor of Ming Dynasaty, Emperor Congzhen fled to Jingshan Park, trying to escape the rebel leader Li Zicheng’s hunt. Knowing that he did not stand a chance with Li, he hung himself at the base of the hill.
You get to play dress up too if you fancy!
Once you are done visiting the park, it can be quite difficult to get transportation back to the MRT station you came from as taxis don’t stop in the area. Some trishaw drivers might even try to scam you, asking for RMB 100 for a 5 minutes ride back to the MRT station – which we experienced. All you have to do is go back to the North Gate of the Divine Mighty which you exited the Forbidden city from. Either go left or right from there, turn into the very first lane you see, keep walking for less than 100 m, there will be a bus stop where everybody is waiting at. The bus goes around the Forbidden City in loops and will bring you back to the main entrance, close to the MRT station.
More Info on
Jingshan Park on Wikipedia