My trip to Qufu in Shandong province, China, can be summarized as an experience of Confucius culture.
It was The First Nishan World Women’s Forum that brought me to Qufu, the hometown of Confucius. And, to be exact, I stayed in Mount Ni (Nishan), the area traditionally believed to be the birthplace of Confucius.
Besides the many hats that Confucius wore – teacher, editor, politician – he is best known as a great philosopher. Confucius’ principles formed the basis of many Chinese traditions and beliefs. He advocated strong family loyalty, ancestor veneration, and respect of the elders by their children and of husbands by their wives.
During the 40-minute car ride from Qufu East train station to the forum hotel, Nishan Akademia Hotel, my mind quickly transcended from a business person’s to a student’s. A Confucius Plaza was under construction, and upon completion could hold 20,000 people in the open air. I wonder how one may feel being in a “class” of 20,000 sitting right below the 72-feet tall Confucius statue.
We visited the three most famous cultural sites of Qufu, collectively known as San Kong – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – the Temple of Confucius, the Kong Family Mansion, and the Cemetery of Confucius.
The Temple of Confucius was originally Confucius’ three-room house; it was removed to build the Temple which was rebuilt and restored many times. We could see different architectural styles for sure. The Apricot Platform, however, is always there – it commemorates Confucius teaching his students under an apricot three.
The Kong Family Mansion, located on the east of the Temple, was home to direct descendants of Confucius until 1937, when descendants of the 76th and 77th generations fled to Chongqing and eventually to Taiwan.
The Cemetery of Confucius, on the north of Qufu, has undergone 13 renovations and extensions. In its area of 3.6 square kilometers, there is not only the tomb of Confucius but also burial sites of more than 100,000 of Confucius’ descendants.
This scholastic trip was concluded with a wonderful organic dinner given by a local host, Madam Song. Madam Song runs a big organic farm cum retreat just off Qufu.
I came out of Qufu feeling that both my mind and body had been cleansed.
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