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May 25, 2006
We arrived quite late in the afternoon, and as the season was moving into the winter, it was already starting to get rather gloomy. From the entrance, which is an archway at the square on the foot of the hill, it was an extremely long way up to the top. To be exact, the mausoleum is more than 700m from our starting point, though it seemed like a much further distance from where we were standing!
The first part up to the mausoleum was a steep pathway, heading up towards a small pavilion and a bronze Ding. Along the way, we could not help but notice small black circles all around the floor, on the stairs, and the walls. I later found out that there were actually bullet debris, or shrapnel, left by the Japanese on their quest to take over the mausoleum, and later, the whole of Nanjing. Judging from the black stains, it is unimaginable how many people lost their lives here trying to protect the mausoleum.
Beyond the small pavilion is a 392 stairs stairway, lined with beautiful trees, leading all the way up to the vault where Dr. Sun lies. It was a really tiring walk up the stairs, but the view along the way makes it all worthwhile. Green forests span for miles and miles into the horizon, and the light mist and darkening sky gave the landscape a serene sensation. At the end of the stairway, we were greeted by a huge tri-arched gateway in which were inscribed a verse written by Dr. Sun Yat Sen. "The nation is the nation of the people, and the people should selflessly serve it."
Walking through it and into the memorial, we passed the sacrificial hall where a 4.6m high statue of the great man sits. It is made out of exquisite white marble. All around the hall, a chronology of Dr. Sun’s life is beautifully written out, acknowledging the greatness of this individual. Passing through the hall heading north, is the bell shaped coffin chamber where Dr. Sun Yat Sen lies. The vault is brightly lit with white lights, and a statue of the people’s hero rests on a white marble coffin in the centre of the chamber.
It was dark when we headed down from the mausoleum, another long walk back to the bus!
From journal Proud and Prevailing Nanjing
January 9, 2001
From journal Nanjing - a great Chinese city