Sunday, November 30, 2008

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).

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