The Temple itself is one of the most famous Buddhist temples in China, An Indian Monk Huili came to Hangzhou and he was so attracted by the beauty of Hangzhou that he believed the city must be the residence of gods. Hence, he built this temple in honor of this paradise-like place and named it Lingyin, which means "the place where gods rest in seclusion".
The Lingyin scenic area is so large that you may need to choose a few of the more interesting areas to cover. Upon entering the Temple, turn left and you will see some huge stone statues that are reproductions of famous Buddha statues located in other temples.
Slightly behind the temples in the woods is a lovely collection of stone carved Buddhas who sit in the niches of the cliffs. Among them, the most impressive one is a huge, fat "laughing Buddha". In the Temples, there are various gold statues of Buddhas, posing in different positions and adopting a warrior stance. Behind the largest gold Buddha is a collection of delightful figures and deities, carved into a huge piece of wood. The Temple is filled with incredible statues and monuments to Buddha- laughing, standing and sitting!
After finishing your visit, you can go to Lingyinsi vegetarian restaurant that is closely next to the temple and serves vegetarian dishes. These vegetarian dishes are some typical of the kind in China. Eating the vegetarian food might find you some sentiment of being a secluded god.
(Guangzhou Morning Post March 4, 2003)