Sunday, November 30, 2008

Series of Mountain (3): Travel to Songshan

Songshan is a popular place for tourists to visit. Located in Dengfeng County of Henan Province, Songshan is called the Central Mountain of the Five Sacred Mountains. It has 36 peaks and stretches 60 kilometers, composed of Taishi Mountain and Shaoshi Mountain.

Songshan boasts a large number of showplaces and cultural relics. The most famous Shaolin Temple is located here, a must see place! Not only you can get to know about ancient Buddhist culture, but also Sholin Martial Arts (Kung Fu). Shaolin monks exercise Qigong, Qinggong and other Shaolin Kong-fu (martial arts) here.

There are some other temples in the mountain worthing a visit, such as the Zhongyue Temple, with history dating back to Qin Dynasty over 2,200 years ago, which is nicknamed “the Little Palace” and has about 400 constructions of various kinds including archways, pavilions, terraces, gates, halls, and towers, as well as many (over 300) tall, gnarled and weather-beaten cypresses; the Fawang Temple and the Huishan Temple, the oldest temples extant in China; two earliest and well-preserved astronomical observatories extant in China; etc.

Another famous cultural heritage is the Songyang Academy, one of the most famous ancient academies. Celebrities of ancient times like Sima Guang, Cheng Yi and Fan Zhongyan all gave lectures here. The building of the academy is old and elegant, but mostly broken. At the west side, there are two high and old cypresses named Great General and Second General, they are the oldest cypresses with over 4,000 years of history.

In addition, the forest resources of Songshan are praised as “rare treasure” for their large quantity, antiquity, abundant literary quotation and vivid shapes, some of which are rare ancient trees, such as the cypress we just said above.

Series of Mountain (2): Travel to Taishan

In China, there are many exquisite and scenic mountains. Among them, China's Five Sacred Mountains are the most famous, including Taishan, Huashan, Hengshan(Hunan), Hengshan(Shanxi), and Shongshan. They all have typical sceneries. Today, we will visit the first one ---Taishan.

Taishan, regarded as the leader of China's Five Sacred Mountains, becames a World Heritage Site in 1987. It lies in central Shandong Province, spanning the ranges of Tai'an and Jinan cities.

With so much to do and see, let’s start with its cultural heritage. Taishan is a symbol of loftiness and grandeur. In ancient times, the first thing for an emperor to do on ascending to the throne was to climb Mount Taishan and pray to heaven and earth or their ancestors. There was 72 Chinese emperors of various dynasties made pilgrimages to this mountain.

Poets and literary scholars of each dynasty also visited Taishan. Numerous rock inscriptions and stone tablets bear testimony to such visits. It’s said that Taishan provides a natural museum abounding with cultural relics and artworks. Heavenly Queen Pool, Red Gate Palace, Mid-Heaven Gate, Azure Cloud Temple are powerful examples. Stone carvings include the Buddhist Diamond Sutra in Jing Shi Valley, the Scripture of Mt. Tai and the Mo Ya Tablet.

Be sure to see the Confucian Temple, which is a scenic spots related to the famous ancient sage Confucius. It’s the places where Confucius climbed Taishan and viewed the scenery. And the Tiankuang Temple, Azure Cloud Temple are also must see.

Besides historic relics, Taishan is endowed with many unique natural scenery. Of course, a trip to Taishan would not be complete without a visit to the four wonders of the mountain, which are Sunrises from the East, the Sunset Glow, the Sea of Clouds and the Golden Belt along the Yellow River. It would be a great pity to miss the four wonders. Also, The lofty peaks, deep valleys, spectacular waterfalls, enchanting rocks and the centuries-old pines and cypresses will undoubtedly encourage you linger with no thought of leaving.

Futher information : according to, there are four ascents of the mountain.

East Route

This route is considered to be the Imperial Route because the emperors all took this way to make sacrifices. With elegant natural scenery, palaces, stone inscriptions are also scattered along the winding path. You set off from Dai Temple, and then you will see Dai Zong Archway, Red Gate Palace, Jing Shi Valley, Hu Tian Pavilion and Eighteen Bends, etc. Dai Temple is the place where emperors stayed and offered their sacrifices. The temple was built in the Han Dynasty and expanded in the Tang and Song Dynasties. After several renovations, it has become the biggest and most complete temple on the mountain.

There are 6000-plus steps along this route and it takes about four hours at an average to reach the peak. This classical route is an ideal choice for most people.

West Route

The west route is made up of two parts. The first part is the highroad from the Heaven and Earth Square to Mid-heaven Gate. The other part is the cable way from Mid-heaven Gate to the top of the mountain. This route is well equipped with modern facilities and is the most fashionable way to reach Jade Emperor Summit. Attractions concentrated on this route are Heaven and Earth Square, Black Dragon Pool, Tomb of General Feng Yuxiang and Longevity Bridge, etc.

Peach Blossom Ravine Route

This route is the most convenient way to climb the mountain, especially for tourists who drive or take a bus from northern places. Peach Blossom Ravine can be accessed by taking the No.104 national highway, then setting off from the big parking lot by bus to the cable-car stop. From there you reach the top in a few minutes. The ropeway is designed for sightseeing from the air giving a clear view.

The best time to take this route is in spring and summer. The flourishing peach blossom, falling petals and limpid steams will make you feel like you are in heaven.

Tianzhu Peak Route

Just as its name implies, Tianzhu Peak was named because it is shaped like a candle, with a pine tree standing on top like a flame. This route is the most rugged one and is suitable for the adventurous. You will enjoy General Peak, Eight Immortals Cave, Big Tianzhu Peak and Small Tianzhu Peak, etc. It is also a better way to appreciate the pine trees in Hou Shi Wu (a spot where most of the old pine trees are growing).

top ten beautiful mountains in China

According to the Chinese National Geography's October Issue, top ten beautiful mountains in China are:

No.1, Namjagbarwa Peak in Nyingchi, Tibet.

No.2, Gongga Mountain in Sichuan.

No.3, Mt. Qomolangma/Everest in Tibet.

No.4, Meili Snow Mountain in Yunnan.

No.5, Huangshan Mountain in Anhui.

No.6, Three Holy Mountains in Daocheng, Sichuan.

No.7, Chogori Peak in Xinjiang

No.8, Mt. Kailash in Nagri Tibet.

No.9, Mt. Taishan in Shandong.

No.10, Emei Mountain in Sichuan.

Have u ever been to there? How do u think about them? Here in this blog, we will share all these places.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Series of Mountain (1): Travel to Mount Lushan

Today we will travel to Mount Lushan.Lushan is one of China's famous mountains and spiritual centers. It is located in Jiujiang, Jiangxi Province, and covers an area of 350 square kilometers.

Many tourists enjoy an Overlooking on top of the mountain, it’s breathtaking. From the south, the Poyang Lake is like a silver mirror. In the north, the Yangtze River looks like a jade ribbon flying to the east. While traveling around Lushan, you can browse imposing and magnificent peaks, unique waterfalls, Buddhist and Taoist temples, and historical sites as well as a changing sea of clouds.

The "Cloud Sea" at Lushan is impressive. Su Dongpo, a well-known poet of the Song Dynasty, honored the "Cloud Sea" of Lushan for its ever-changing mist in one of his poems. He pointed out, "The failure to get the real looks of the mountain only results in the fact that you are right in the midst of it". By surprising contrast Lushan ranks as one of the top spots for watching a sunrise.

Be sure to stop by the Five Elderly Men Peaks(where a waterfall cascades from rock to rock in a total drop of 300 meters), Three-Stage Spring (the most outstanding water attraction), Hanpo Pass (an ideal place to view the sunrise), Lulin Lake, Great Tianchi Lake (a good place to view a sunset and enjoy the Yangtze River), Flower Path (where the noted poet of the Tang Dynasty, Bai Juyi, wrote poems expressing his admiration of the peach blossoms), Ruqin Lake, Jingxiu Valley, Immortal's Cavern (a stone statue of the immortal stands inside the cave and a spring trickles all the year round), Lesser Tianchi Lake (a good place to enjoy the beauty of the Poyang Lake), Donglin Temple (the birthplace of the Pure Land Sect of Buddhism), and the White Deer Cave Academy (one of the earliest institutes of higher learning in China).

Also, travel to Guling Town, the center of the scenic area, is a unique town on the mountain. At an altitude of 1167 meters, it is surrounded on three sides by mountains. To its north is Scissors Pass. A mountain highway leads to the various scenic spots from the town. The resort town of Lushan was established in the late 1800s by and for European and American travelers, and is distinguished by the colonial architecture of its buildings. After 1949, it became famous as a favored meeting place for the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. It hosted the Eighth Plenum of the Eighth Central Committee, also known as the Lushan Plenum, taking place from July 23 to August 2, 1959. It also hosted the Second Plenum of the Ninth Central Committee in August 1970.

Tips:Due to the sharp difference in temperature between day and night, it is best to take a few extra clothes, even in mid-summer when the average temperature in the mountains is 22 degrees Centigrade. A raincoat for the ever-changing humid climate is essential.