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Published: March 10th 2011
Tour Guide Presentations of Huashan Mountain
Hello, Ladies and gentlemen! Here I sincerely welcome everyone to Huashan Mountain! To be your tour guide, I’m deeeply appreciated. During you tour, I will try to offer best service to you to ensure you have a good time in Huashan. Wish everyone could retain beautiful and unforgettable memories of specific “Wonderfull, Steep, Majestic and Splendid” Huashan Scenery.
Before going up the mountain, I have to highlight some matters of attention to let you know and notice. First, it is safety. Huashan Mountain is famous for steepness so that everyone should be careful either in walking or enjoying the scene first of all. Of course, safety precautions on Huashan are much reliable; however, everyone shall keep in mind the following words: “Please don’t walk in sightseeing; and don’t sightsee in walking”. Neither drift away from climbing path or cross the guiderails nor walk to dangerous places such as a cliff or precipice edge for sightseeing or photo-taking. Visitors who bring children are bound to take a good care of them and keep them from running about. Second, abide by regulations of the scenic spot and follow the staff’s persuasion. Never smoke or light a
fire, scrape or pick flower and twig anywhere, not litter rubbish randomly or throw it from the cliff or crepice to maintain a good environment. Third, watch the time and gather at the predetermined site punctually, to guarantee your travel. Well, my phone number is XXX. Please remember to keep in contact at any time.
Before sightseeing, I would like to introduce Huashan Mountain to you briefly.
As one of famous Five Sacred Mountains, facing Tongguan Pass on the East, nestling against Qinling Mountains on the south and girdled by Weihe River on the north, Huashan Mountain is located in north of the Eastern central Shaanxi plain ,120 km away from Xi’an City and renowned for arduousness. Since ancient times, it is a well-known tourist attraction. Huashan Mountain consists of 5 peaks，namely the Eastern Peak (Facing Sun Peak), the Western Peak (Lotus Peak), the Central Peak (Jade Maiden Peak), the Southern Peak (Wild Goose Perching Peak), the Northern Peak (Cloud Terrace Peak). Among them, the Southern Peak is highest, with 2154.9 m in elevation; the Western Peak is most steep, with 2082 in elevation; and the Northern Peak is lowest, with 1614.7 m in elevation. Seen from afar, the five
towering peaks are just like a full-blown lotus-flower, composed of hard granite with total area of 150 sq. m. Huashan Mountain soaring into the sky high with sharpened surfaces on all sides is named the “Top Precipitous Mountain in the World” ,for such steep terrains as Thousand-Foot Precipice, the Hundred-Foot Crevice, Blue Dragon Ridge, Sparrow-hawk’s Cliff and Cliff-side Path.
Known as Western Sacred Mountain, Huanshan Mountain is equally famous compared with Mount Tai (Eastern Mountain). It is said the mountain is given this name because it is situated to the West of Luoyang , Empire Capital after King Ping of Eastern Zhou Dynasty. Later, the Qin Dynasty founded the capital in Xianyang and West Han Dynasty in Chang’an. And Huashan was no longer called Western Mountain for both capitals are not located in west to Huashan. But Huashan have restored the name Western Mountain (Xi Yue in Chinese Pinyin) since Emperor Guangwu established the Eastern Han Empire in Luoyang. Xi means it is to the west of the Central Plains and Yue is a general name for the 5 Chinese famous mountains. Huashan is youngest among the 5 mountains with its height still increasing continuously nowadays according to the geological
department’s observation in 1984.
Through the ages, Huashan attracts numerous visitors by its majesty. Li Daoyuan, a noted geographer of the Northern Wei Dynasty gives suchlike depiction in his great work Annotation to Scripture of Hydrology and Geography: “The mountain is as high as 5000 ren (a length unit in ancient China, equal to 1.7 m ), with a sharpened and square shape. If seen in the distance, it resembles a flower.” In ancient times, Hua (meaning flower) is interchangeable with Hua (meaning beauty or China) in some case. On the other hand, there is another version of Huashan acquiring its name -- white lotus-flowers grow at the summit of Huashan. The Tang Poet Han Yu’s lines in Imitation of Ancient Poetry “White-lotus flowers bloom on Huashan Mountain, the flower looking gigantic and root like a boat” -- are based on this tale.
Huashan is located in Huayin City. Let me give a simple introduction to Huayin City. With famous Huashan Mountain in its south, Huayin City is situated in the East of the central Shaanxi plain as well as lower reaches of Weihe River with coverage of 817 sq. m. and a population of 250,000. It belongs to Yongzhou
in Xia and Shang Dynasties, belongs to Yuzhou in Western Zhou and is designated a city in Spring and Autumn Periods and Ningqin County for the first time after the Emperor Qin unified China. Untill the eighth year of Gaozu Period of Western Han, this place is renamed Huayin for it is located on the north side of the Huashan as well as south side of Weihe River. (In ancient China, north of mountain and south of river are called yin), but with many changes in the New Dynasty under Wang Mang’s reign. By the time of Baoying Reign of Suzong Period of Tang (762 A. D.), it restored the name Huayin and continues without change till now for over 1200 years. On Dec., 27 of 1990, Huayin County is abolished and upgraded to Huayin City.The geographical environment of Huayin is rather special: Various terrains such as Mountain, river, plain and shoal appear within this district, high in the south and steep in the north -- so-called groove terrain. The terrain can be generalized as follows: “Mountain stands in the south; shoal is in the north; the plain spreads in the east; and river flows across the west.” It has
the warm temperate climate with 4 distinct seasons and adequate light so that its agriculture is rather developed and acts as one of Barns of Shaanxi.
“From ancient times , the Yang Clan lives in Huayin”. Here emerges a lot of historic celebrities such as Yang Zhen (a renowned statesman in the Eastern Hynasty) known as Confucius of Northwest and Mr. Four-Knows (Heaven knows, earth knows, you know and I know), Yang Xiu -- a renowned scholar, Emperor Wen of Sui Dynasty Yang Jian unifying the nation together with his son –Yang Guang (Emperor Yang of Sui), Yang Jiong (one of Four Talents of Early Tang), Concubine Yang of Emperor Xuanzong of Tang, etc. Through ages, this is a place of many personalities where plenty of famous Tang poets and scholars such as Li Bai, Du Fu, Bai Juyi, Han Yu and etc. have left many poems singing of Huashan. Chen Tuan (recluse of Song Dynasty) and Gu Yanwu (a great scholar in Ming and Qing Dynasties) once secluded themselves here. Empress Dowager Cixi and Emperor Guangxu, Chiang Kai-shek, Feng Yuxiang, Zhang Xueliang, Zhu De, Li Tieying, Qian Qichen, Li Peng, Zhang Zhen, Qiao Shi and etc. once visited Huashan. Besides, Louis Cha who participated in Debate with Celebrities on the Summit of Huashan Mountain is really famous to everyone. He ascended Huashan on Oct., 8 2003 by himself. Mr. Cha was been almost 80 years old at that time. Celebrities of all ages have left plentiful cultural heritage for Huashan.
Huashan is one of Four Famous Taoist Mountains (the other three: Wudang Mountain in Hubei Province, Qingcheng Mountain in Sichuan Province and Laoshan Mountain in Shandong Province). Huashan has a long tradition of Taoism focusing on quietude, love of life as well as fear of death with longevity as the ultimate aim. Established in East Han Dynasty, Taoist originates from ghost and god worship in the Shang Dynasty and immortal belief in Warring Periods. Sacrifice to immortals of heaven and earth, pursuit of ideal paradise – fairyland and detachment out of life and death to live an immortal life freely aloof. Some famous Taoist monasteries such as Jade Spring Temple, Eastern Temple, Mountain Guarding Temple in Huashan are ranked as National Major Taoist Palaces and Temples. There are many famous Taoist priests including Chen Tuan, He Zhizhen, etc. In fact, Min Zhiting, i.e. former Chairman of Chinese Taoist Association comes from here. Too many colourful and beautiful Taoist myths and tales including A Lady Fluting with Phoenix Around, Playing Chess at Gaming Terrace, Mighty Magic Breaking Mountains and so forth are circulated here. I will expound to everyone when we get on the summit of mountain.
Huashan was listed as the First Batch of National Scenic Spots and Historical Sites in 1982, evaluated as National “Sanitary Mountain”, Provincial “Civilized Mountain” and “Safe Mountain” in activities of “Three Creations of Mountain”, ranked as Ten Top Demonstration National Cilivized Scenic Spots in Oct., 1999, later assessed as National “4 A Level Scenic Spots” in Dec., 2000 and rated one of “Fifty Scenic Spots Most Worth Visiting for Foreigners” in 2006. Moreover, Huashan passed ISO 14000 Environmental Management System Certification. To ensure continuous improvement of Huashan environment, I hope everyone could protect natural resources of Huashan with me, so as to reduce pollution against Huashan to the minimum for creating a beautiful environment for us.
This road we are driving on is approaching highroad led to Huangfuyu Valley, an auxiliary project of Huashan Cableway. It commenced in Nov., 1992 and fnishied in Apr., 1994. It, with a total length of 7.66 km (1.66 km length and 25 m width for several vehicles moving neck and neck outside the mountain with northern end connected to National Highway No. 310, and 6 km length and 6.5 m width inside the mountain) across 4 bridges, 6 big bends and 8 culverts at the expense of RMB 20,000,000 Yuan. Opening of this route breaks down the layout that there is only one way to ascend the Huashan Mountain since ancient times so as to facilitate visitors and reduce difficulty in mountain-climbing ， new vigor and vitality was put into Huashan tourism.
Huangfu Valley, known as Deity Huang Valley anciently, is well-known as Huangluzi is secluded here in Spring and Autumn and Warring Periods. Huangluzi is called Ge Qi, a citizen of Chu State at that time. It is believed he is a generous and obliging medical expert who could cure patients far away and relieve their pain on condition that he diagnoses their diseases and give prescriptions once patients say their names. In addition, he loves Taoist art of air inhalation and exhalation. He can even stop birds and beasts by air prohibition and make river flow upstream. Besides, he could even walk as fast as a running horse, overhead shrouded in a multicolored cloud. In drought, Ge Qi summons Draon from deep waters to command the clouds and rain in the sky to settle the burning problem for people. Later on, a woodman saw him riding on a yellow dragon to soar into the sky and vanish without return. Well, this story has ended. And we can enjoy the mountain scene on both sides through the window. What we see now is a part of Qinling Mountain Ranges, not the main peaks of Huashan.
Look to the right! This is the “Road to Circumvent Huashan Mountain” with a total length of 2 km, composed of 3999 steps, led to the Northern Peak directly. We’ve reached the bottom station of cableway before we know it. Here we’ll go onto Huashan Mountain via cableway. Attention, everyone, please follow me! Huashan Cableway is jointly operated by Huashan Administration Bureau and Singapore Sante Company after purchasing equipment from Austrian company Doppelmayr at the price of RMB 8,9090,000 Yuan. Through 3 years, it operated from Apr., 10, 1994. It has a total length of 1524.9 m, perpendicular throw of 760 m and average gradient of 59.2 . The technical difficulty is so high that its construction is unparalleled nationwide and even named “the First Cableway in Asia”. The time of Huashan Cableway opening marked turning a new leaf of Huashan tourism.
Equipped with cableway, the Northern Peak of Huashan Mountain could be conquered easily. Please notice this “Monument for Circumventing Huashan Mountain”. The inscription describes as follows: On May 25 ，1949, Han Zipei, a Security Brigade leader of Chinese Kuomintang, leading his men over 400 escaped onto Huashan to fight stubbornly as Huayin is liberated at that time. To eliminate the whole brigade, Liu Jiryao and other seven warriors of People's Liberation Army started from Liangchankou ,over precipices ,across Gorilla Ravine, through mountain pass like open mouth of tiger and eventually conquered the Northern Peak. The 8 warriors made a great miracle of crossing the natural defense and circumventing Huashan! Nowadays, a monument with two characters Jun Hun (military spirit) inscribed on the backside has been set up to commemorate their accomplishments. Jul.13 is the memorial day of liberating Huashan. On the same day in 2003, Liu Jiyao (one of the eight warriors), very old at that time, went up Huashan Mountain once again to memorize his seven late battle companions fighting together. At the summit of Huashan, what a heroic scene it is when he was heard to tell events on how they had braved difficulties and circumvented Huashan emotionally!
In Jun., 1949, Northwest Field Army liberated Xi’an. When Huanyin County is liberated, Han Zipei the Pseudo-security Brigade Leader together with a battalion and a brigade fled onto Huashan, with wishful thinking to contact Hu Zongnan continuously dependent on the natural defense of Huashan to come back at proper opportunities. By Jun. 13, the Eastern brigade of People’s Liberation Army decided to appoint six platoon-level or company-level cadres to organize a team so as to accomplish the mission of investigating Huashan led by the leader Liu Jiyao. At the starry night, under the guidance of a local guide named Wang Yinsheng, Liu Jiyao led the other soliders – Yang Jiandong, Lu Decai, Meng Junfu, Yang Dangcheng, Cui Chaoshan and Zhang Zifa went west from Liangchankou, across a cypress wood about 2 km and to the end of Gorilla Ravine with long rope and iron hooks. A towering precipice stands before them. Wang Yinsheng pointed to the crevice higher than 30 m, saying: “This is the natural well where we shall climb up.” With this he winded the rope on his back around his waist and went upward slowly by the support force of placing legs apart. 10 minutes later, an end of rope is hung from above, all the seven scouters came onto the natural well one by one. After climbing a steep slope, they are faced with an about 15 m high steep crag. At this time, Wang Yinsheng exercised his unusual skill in gathering herbs and firewood – climbing upside by the help of a stone crevice. Then he tied the rope to a post and pulling others upward. After a southward walk of 0.5 km, they came to Tiger Mouth. This is a precipitous crag piercing into the vault of sky. Scounters had to walk through the middle part of crag. There is a protruding rock with a smooth slope underside. Below this rock, there is a fathomless chasm. If their legs feel like jelly even a bit, they would drop into the chasm. To cross this pass, soldiers had only one approach -- going through slowly like an inserted wedge by the support of waist and shoulders. In the dead of night, then they slide along a 20 m stone ledge and reached the foot of the Northern Peak. After going upward 2.5 km, they crossed 4 row barriers of trees with the result that the task was finished finally.
As usual, they should return since their task of scouting the road was completed. However, they are confronted with two burning problems: First, the site is too near from enemies so that climbing up is hard but climbing down harder; second, they would surely expose themselves if they were not careful enough. However, they’d come here, so they grasp the chance to detect the situation of enemies. They found enemy sentries had been seated motionless by scouting. Up to 1 o’clock early in the morning, enemies living at the Northern Peak had fell asleep after lighting off lamps. An idea of sneakily attacking the enemy emerged in Liu Jiyao’s mind. He had no hesitation to gather all of them to hold a meeting to declare his idea with unanimity. And then, the Leader said his plan and made an immobilization and arrangement prior to action.
Natural defense of Huashan had anaesthetized the enemy. They took it for granted that they could be absolutely safe if only they held Thousand-Foot Precipice. However, completely out of their expectation, Liu Jiyao and his team had come before the enemy station, namely Zushi Temple at the Northern Peak. Liu Jiyao kicked open the temple door and shoot 5 times into the temple, exclaiming “Surrender or death? You can choose! Platoon 1, rush forward! Platoon 3, attack Blue Dragon Ridge…” The enemy became totally confused and in a real mess! One planned to set off a grenade outside to fight stubbornly. He was shot dead by Lu Decai before the pin was pulled out. Other enemies surrendered with their guns put down tamely right now. The battle lasted for but 20 minutes; however, the Northern Peak had been occupied by our army.
After liberation of the Northern Peak, many reactionary soldiers occuping other three peaks felt depressed and downhearted, showing no fighting power. Besides, the only way toward there had been cut off by our army so that enemies no longer had courage to fight again. Then conditions to force Han Zipei to hold a negotiation were mature. Deng Yuan, Chief of Political Section of the Eastern Brigade came to the Western Peak and sent a letter demanding surrender to Han Zipei, one day later without reply however. And then let Wang YinSheng to urge him. He knew had no choice but to give in and let Wang Yinsheng bring back a surrender letter.
Negotiation took place in Emerald Cloud Palace at the Western Peak. After going on Huashan, Han Zipei had been living here for the sake of much safety. The temple is surrounded by 2-floor wooden houses with a square yard centrally. In the center of yard, 2 rows of desks and chairs are placed simply. Arms and ammunitions of Pseudo-security Brigade Six should be registed in detail and sent to the Northern Peak within 2 days as specified in treaty of the negotiation. Anyone of Brigade Six who wanted to work could be arranged for proper work, and those who wanted to go home would get travelling expenses. Moreover, Han Zipei along with his properties was specially protected.
After delivery, the whole Brigade Six surrendered down the mountain. Han Zipei riding on a burro was escorted to Dali County. Then the Huayin is totally liberated.
Presently, the place we stand is the crest of the Northern Peak known for lying on the north of main peaks. The Eastern, Central and Southern Peaks are like a full-blown flower with the Northern Peak resembling a lotus terrace supported by white clouds, called “Cloud Terrace Peak” accordingly. The great Tang Poet Li Bai writes lines to depict the above scene: “White King refines an elixir by applying his spirit, Beside lotus of stone, on the terrace of clouds.” This is the optimal site of sightseeing. Looking southward, the Eastern, Western and Northern Peaks as a whole tower into the clouds; Overlooking Yellow River northward, it resembles a wafting thread at the horizon. So we can read two lines from a masterpiece of Li Bai “Overlooking Yellow River like a wafting thread from afar, I know how magnificent Huashan Mountains are”!
In the north you can see Princess Peak. It is circulated Princess Nanyang, daughter of Liu Shuang (Emperor Yuan of the Han Dynasty) ever cultivated herself here. In the late Eastern Han Dynasty, the Princess had been tired of court life full of struggles and wanted to call her husband Wang Xian to cultivate themselves together in Huashan. Wang rejected. However, he suffered from overt and covert struggles and found his wife to Huashan only to find an embroidered shoe. When he picked it up, the shoe was transformed into this peak.
Let’s look westward, there are two natural rocks resembling A Lion Watching Treasure and Golden Turtle Playing With Jade Toad, which are vivid and lifelike. To the east, we can enjoy the spectacular scene of Huangfu Valley like a lying immortal. In a tale, it is transformed from Mighty Magic Spirit who rests here tiredly after a long time.
Everyone could see this Monument for Competition on Huashan. On Otc.8 ,2003, master of wuxia fiction Louis Cha came to Huashan and had a discussion with Yan Jiayan (Beijing University professor), Wei Minglun (Literary Wizard of Sichuan), Zhang Jizhong (Director of Wuxia Plays) Yang Zhengguang (Wuxia Scripter) and Kong Qingdong (Beijing University professor). As early as 1955, Louis Cha published his first wuxia novel the Book and the Sword and the last the Deer And The Cauldron in Sept., 1972. Through the 17 years, the 14 novels with far-reaching influence, written by Louis Cha, could be abbreviated in the following couplet (a wuxia novelette Rapier of Yue Maiden excluded): Shooting a white deer, snow flutters around the skies; Smiling, one writes about the divine chivalrous one, leaning against bluish lovebirds. Louis Cha found an ideal arena for martial arts competition among numerous mountains and rivers -- Huashan. It is because Huashan itself resembles a sharp blade piercing into the sky above. For chivalrous swordsmen far and wide, combat on Huashan is a challenge on the edge of blade. In Louis Cha’s works, Competition on Huashan was held for thrice. As Wang Luxiang says, three descriptions of this event reflect Cha’s different views of realm of chivalry, to be more exact, deepening and advancement. For the first time, all masters of martial arts were chosen to combat one another, only to prove there is no distinction between the five top masters. However, at the second time, no result be judged from Cha’s book. And when it came to the third time, Old Urchin (Zhou Botong’s nickname) got the first place, just opposite to Ouyang Feng. Old Urchin wanted to forget what he had learned, but failed. All this represents Mr. Cha’s some thoughts of realm of chivalry.
Ear-rubbing cliff standing in front is a dangerous path from the Northern Peak to Heavenly Ladder, with crag on one side and bottomless chasm on another side. Yuan Hongdao, a renowned Ming scholar once wrote the view in his poem: “Alas, passing through the path dangerous, Fills your face with green moss!” There are many inscriptions here, just like a corridor with many calligraphical works. Now the road is widened with guard rail set up for protection. So, visitors no longer rub their ears or cling to cliff-edge tightly. Thinking of the mountain difficult to climb anciently, we can pass through easily now. We would sigh naturally “Man can conquer nature”.
The rock we see now is called Crounching Ox Rock where Laotzi’s black ox plows a furrow (Laotzi’s Furrow) and rests in the legend.
This is a dangerous path “Heavenly Ladder” known as an approach to Sun and Moon Precipice. In the past, this site faces a bottomless chasm on the east and beside a crag on the west, with a small space at the bottom of the ladder. Formerly, there is only one Heavenly Ladder here. In 1985, a new one is set up to save time for visitors. Though steep, it is a bit higher than 3 m so that none feels dangerous but only has more interest.
Huashan is well known for its bizzare rocks,no matter how small they are. Every rock is related to a beautiful and touching tale. These two rocks, symbolizing the Sun and Moon separately, are called Sun and Moon Rocks. The four large characters written here are Yun Tian Hu Guang (Arc through the Clouds and Sky). At night, an glaring arc may be seen here in the sky. Here I’d like to tell you a tale: As is known to all, Empress Wu Zetian, a unique empress regnant in the Chinese History, created a character as her exclusive name Zhao. This character was created from two other characters: Ming (light or clarity) on top and Kong (sky) on the bottom. It is circulated the Empress created the character upon seeing these two rocks as she climbed Huashan. These two rocks close to the azure sky overlook a hollow valley with a supreme air, symbolizing light and prestige.
The house before us is Heavenly Queen Palace where Heavenly Queen is worshipped. Anyone who has interest can get in to worship her. And the cave known as Sanyuan Cave is a place with Emperor Yao, Emperor Shun and Emperor Yu, ie, Three Heavenly Lords of Heavenly, Earthly & Waterly Realms worshipped. Sanyuan is a Taoist term means three elements to form the world, ie, heaven, earth and water. Everything on this world, humanity included, are produced and nourished from it. Statues of the three Heavenly Lords are set up inside the cave.
The Royal Path in front is given such a name for Emperor Wu in the Han Dynasty and Emperor Xuanzong in the Tang Dynasty once came here. Stone rails are built on both sides with draperies as a shelter to secure emperor in climbing. The stone dents left now used to act as hold the guard rails. This event is written in poem of a statesman and poet Liu Ji in the early Ming Dynasty: “Along the Royal Path birds flying back, By jade slip Emperor Wu offer sacrifices to heaven and earth. ” Today, we tread on the stone steps, feel lucky enough.
Standing here, we could overlook the entire Blue Dragon Ridge. It gains this name as this ridge in blue resembles a hovering dragon. The altitude difference are 500 or so between its top and bottom. Before the Tang Dynasty, this road is roughly opened without guard rails, stone dents dug so that people have to crawl across, like riding on the dragon-back. Though a bit improved, it is still dangerous till the Ming Dynasty. After liberation, the original fish-shaped ridge with guard rails erected on both sides, is levelled in 1964. And the path is widened by further excavation so that visitors no longer feel dangerous when coming here.
It is circulated, in the 14th year of Yuanhe Period of Emperor Xianzong in the Tang Dynasty (819 A.D.), Han Yu admonished the Emperor not to do so when Empeor Xianzong appointed officials to meet Buddha’s Sarira from Fengxiang. As a result, he was reduced to Governor of Chaozhou Prefecture after various official’s plead, escaped from death sentence. By the summer-time of the second year, Han Yu ascended Huashan in his journey to take up his post. He left many poems about scenes including the Western Peak. However, he was overcome with wail frustratedly upon seeing the steep cliff and thinking of harsh officialdom. Meanwhile, he threw all books he brought down the mountain, with a will farewell to his family members. The county magistrate led a group of people to meet him. Later, a busybody inscribed six characters “Han Tui Zhi Tou Shu Chu (Site for Han Yu Throwing Books)” on the Yishen Rock to despise Han Yu for his cowardice.
And in the Qing Dynasty, a hundred old man Zhao Wenbei who came from Wuxiang County of Shanxi Province sneered at Han Yu for his courage inferor to such an old man as him. Morover, he left a inscription: “Seeing the place where Han Yu wrote a will to his family, 100-year-old Zhao Wenbei bursts into laugher.”
After walking a while, we came to Yishen Cliff now. The signature below the inscription Yun Hai (Sea of Clouds) is Xiao. This character is bewildering. Let’s guess, what’s the hidden meaning? As a matter of fact, these four characters (Ri, mean Sun) is two characters. The two top Ri are combined to form Chang (mean prosperity). And the two bottom characters are combined to form Ming as the left character is smaller. We can guess this inscription is written by Xiao Chaoming.
This peak is known as Multicolored Cloud Peak. At summer and autumn every year, the peak is shrouded in cloud and mist. Furthermore, lofty mountain and rosy clouds are combined to be multicolored. This is why it is called Multicolored Cloud Peak. And it is an ideal site for us to relax ourselves.
Standing here, a gigantic palm is on the front cliff. This is Immortal's Palm Peak of Huashan, the first scene of Eight Scenes in the central Shaanxi Plain. According to tale, Huashan Mountain is connected to Shouyang Mountain in Shanxi Province. When Yellow River flows across here and is obstructed by Shouyang Mountain so as to overflow into Huayin County, Tongguan County, Chaoyi county and etc. to form a lake. It is Mighty Magic Spirit who treads on Shouyang Mountain and pushs Huashan to make a valley for Yellow River flowing through. So, his palm-print is left in the cliff and named Immortal’s Palm. Li Bai wrote two lines for this: “If the Spirit didn’t break the two mountains apart, How could Yellow River raced down fast!”
Now we face the last pass of Huashan -- Gold Lock Pass. As a proverb goes, once you go through the Gold Lock Pass, that will be another world, alas! Air temperature here drops sharply, with fresh breeze blowing now and then. Setting foot on top of mountains, we are in a fairyland, hearing chirpand twitter of birds on pine-trees with clouds drifting to and fro. Looking backward, you may find a stone called Golden Pheasant Watching Jade Casket. In a legend, Yin Changsheng, a Taoist priest put the secret of alchemy into this jade casket. The pheasant was appointed to guard it. Both Jade Casket and Gold Pheasant are transformed into stones. None can move them though the casket cover and body have been strewn so that till now the secret still cannot be known.
Gold Lock Pass, also known as Heavenly Gate, is the key to the Middle, Eastern, Southern and Northern Peaks. So, the great Tang poet D u Fu wrote as follows: “Once coming to Chexiang Ravine I found no return. Through Thousand-Foot Precipice I look up to the Gate to Heaven.”
According to Taoist doctrines, Huashan is an ideal place for immortal activities. Pilgrims come to the Gate .They can only be detached from death without vulgar thoughts in the heart by washing in immortal water to understand the essence of fairyland. Once passing the gate, the towering main peaks are in sight. And you could enjoy a different view. This is the reason why the proverb “Once you go through the Gold Lock Pass, that will be another world” is so popular.
The former gateway constructed by Hu Zhenhai, a Ming Taoist, is destroyed later. The present gateway is rebuilt in 1985.
The Central Peak, in the center of the Eastern, Western and Southern Peaks, is one of main peaks of Huashan. Famous for Jade Maiden who ever lived in seclusion here, the Peak is also called Jade Maiden Peak, with elevation of 2042.5 m.
As is documented historically, Jade Maiden is the daughter of Duke Mu of Qin State, one of Five Feudal Lords in the Autumn and Spring Periods. She, called Nongyu (enjoying jade), who’s extremely beautiful and bright, was good at musical rhythm, especially keen on playing reed pipe. Duke Mu summons craftsmen and artificers all over the country to sliver it to carve a Jasper Pipe. It sounded like a phoenix chirping. Moreover, the duke constructed Phoenix Terrace and Phoenix Pavilion for his daughter to practice playing pipe and dwell in.
At one night, a bright moon hung above in the cloudless sky, Nongyu played a tune of chirping phoenix. The tuneful music was resounded far and wide, like a heavenly melody. All of a sudden, a tune was heard, in harmony with that of Nongyu. This affair occurred in several succesive nights. At the beginning Nongyu took it for reverberations of her melody. However, she knew it was sound of Chinese flute from the east. One day, Nongyu plays the melody the Song of Courtship. And she went to sleep after finishing her playing. Suddenly she felt the southern heaven gate was open wide, pouring various lustres onto the pavilion. A ruddy-faced handsome young man fell down from a colourful phoenix slowly. Gently playing his garnet flute, the voice is like spring breeze and drizzle as well as strings of slender twigs of willow. It is as leisurely as white cloud, as gentle as murmuring brook. Nongyu’ s heart-strings were touched so that she was carried away to misty cloud. When he ended, Nongyu asked: “What’s the melody?” The young man replied: “Stanza One of Huashan Mountain!” Besides, he said: “My name is Xiao (the character of flute in Chinese) Shi, and I live in Bright Star Cliff of Huashan. We have some affinity so I come to meet you.” Then he got on the phoenix and vanished. Nongyu only dropped her jasper reed pipe onto the ground as she extend her hand to call her back. All was but a dream. However, what she see in dream is so vivid…The next day, Nongyu told the thing to her father. The Duke appointed his general Meng Ming to find the man in Huashan as Nongyu described in dream. When Meng Ming came down the foot of Bright Star Cliff in Huashan, he saw an urbane man free of vulgarity. When asked his name, the man replied Xiao Shi. So, the general invited him to meet Duke Mu Upon seeing him, Duke Mu knew that’s the one in his daughter’s dream. He chose an auspicious day to hold a wedding ceremony for them. After marriage, they lived a happy life, often playing music together. Nongyu asked her husband to construct her the way to quit food. Gradually, they ate less food and finally ate and drank nothing. One day, dragon and phoenix fluttered down beside the Phoenix Terrace as they played instruments together. Soon they rode on the dragon and phoenix to go to Huashan. Lost of his daughter, Duke Mu feel broken-hearted, and hurriedly dispatched many people to chase them. However, no trace was found when those people came to Huashan. And thus, Duke Mu set up a Jade Maiden Shrine to commemorate his daughter.
This wonderful tale, was documented in detail in Chapter 47 Nongyu and Xiaoshi Rode on Dragon and Phoenix, Zhao Dun (a statesman of Jin State) Make Yigao Take the Throne (Duke Ling) of Stories of the Nations in the Eastern Zhou Dynasty. Up to now, this fairy tale has been still passed on. Nowadays, many related scenes such as Shampoo Basin of Jade Maiden Shrine, Dragon’s Nest, Phoenix-Inviting Pavilion bring everyone into reverie.
Please go forward after me! This stone pavilion, is called Phoenix-Inviting Pavilion where the couple ascended to heaven by riding on dragon and phoenix. Then, please look here. This steep path is called Ladder to Cloud, hung in the clouds high. You may ascend into the cloud accordingly. The path is excavated in the cliff of the Eastern Peak. With vertical crags on both sides, the bulge in the middle is the path. Anyone who pass it is great! In spite of not being the unique road, this is a short-cut to the Eastern Peak for sunrise view. Please don’t be afraid!
Now we came to the Eastern Peak, second highest peak of Huashan, which is known as being in the East. Again, it is mentioned as Facing Sun Peak of an elevation of 2,090m, as it is an ideal place to watch sunrise. The site we stand now is Sunrise Terrace, optimal to watch sunrise. In the early morning on each day, a lot of people would be crowded here to view magnificent sunrise. The scene changes transiently. And this tower, known as General Yang Hucheng tower is built to the memory of General Yang for his contributions to repair roads in Huashan. And another tower stands on the Western Peak. The four characters “Wan Xiang Sen Luo” (Myriad of Scenes) are his handwriting.
Then we came to a dangerous path in Huashan, Sparrow-hawk’s Cliff. Facing the high cliff, we have to climbing down by grasping iron chain and treading on dents. There are sky-high cliffs are both sides. To the end, even a sparrow-hawk may turn around, not alone to humanity. This is the second top natural defense of Huashan. Across this path and through bizarre rocks, we arrive at Gaming Terrace, namely Playing Chess Pavilion. There is a composition of chess on the stone table inside the pavilion. It is believed it is the endgame in which Zhao Kuangyin (Emperor Taizu of the Song Dynasty) lost Huashan. No one can save the result. This is known as the place where the Emperor lost Huashan to Chen Tuan. Now we could cross the dangerous path safely and smoothly to reach the fairyland via walking safety belt.
It is circulated Zhao Kuangyin wandered here and there out of utter destitution in his young days. He’s an adept in martial arts and loved gaming. One year, he came to Huayin County for escaping official pursuit. He became hungry and thirsty as he ran for a long time. Upon seeing an old man who were selling fresh peaches in two crates, he took the peaches to eat one another and went away. This man is the incarnation of Chen Tuan. Chen shouted: “Hi, buddy! You haven’t paid for it yet!” “How much?” “One coin!” Zhao thought it was really cheap as he had eaten too many peaches. However, he had no money after rummaging all his pockets hurriedly. Chen Tuan said you could roll over if you were penniless. Zhao had no hesitation to do so. Then Chen burst into laugher: “It is called a coin troubling a hero!” The saying might originate from here. Chen Tuan reminded that he should turn to Cai Rong who’s raising an army at Tongguan Pass. In this way, he could put down the war to benefit people. Because of dauntless fight, he soon became a commander-in-chief. To thank Chen Tuan, he came to Jade Spring Palace of Huashan. He see a Taoi Priest (incarnation of Chen Tuan as well) lost in contemplation beside a stone table with a board of chess put there. After a while, Zhao was defeated for several times with his some taels of silver lost already. Afterwards, Chen Tuan proposed to play a final at the summit of Huashan where both could enjoy the verdant pines and cypresses around as well as green mountains and sapphire waters. Unexpectedly, Zhao Kuangyin eneded in failure of several games to lose his weapon,all the taels of silver and steed. But, he still badgered Chen. And Chen Tuan asked: “What’s your stake?” Zhao replied casually “Huashan”. Chen Tuan demanded a contract from him. And then Zhao wrote one and pressed his fingerprint. Chen Tuan won once again. Chen Tuan waved his hand to adhere the contract to the opposite cliff when Zhao was about to escape. Zhao suddenly saw through it and exclaimed: “You’re an immortal!” “Many thanks, the future emperor!” He vanished after saying these words. So, it’s believed Huashan pays no taxation since the Song Dynasty.
Through a lot of efforts, we finally came to the Southern Heavenly Gate on Huashan. Inside the gate, the first natural defense Cliff-side Path is located. This is not inevitable for climbing Huashan. However, it’s a place for brave people to surpass nature and themselves by a challenge. The place erected on cliff-edge beside chasm is really perilous! Arriving here will give anyone the creeps as his or her heart may jump out of the mouth. If you are interested, just try! You could experience how dangerious it is! Now we could cross it safely and smoothly via walking safety belt and relevant protection facilities.
Few people is strange to the story that Liu Bei pays three visits to the cottage to invite a unparalleled strategist Zhuge Liang to help him with seizing state power. Likewise, Zhao Guangyi (Emperor Taizong of the Song Dynasty, younger brother of Zhao Kuangyin) once appointed emissaries to invite Chen Tuan to an official post. But it was against Chen’s will. Besides, Chen Tuan refused Emperor Taizong by two lines: “All my heart is filled with white cloud drifting along, No imperial order is wanted by bluebird bring from the court!” So, this place is called “Avoiding Imperial Order Precipice”.
Unconsciously, we’ve got on the summit of Huashan. The highest site of Huashan achieves 2160.5 m elevation, known as Wild Goose Perching Peak. Standing here to overlook afar, your feeling will be the same as what described in the following lines: “The Western Mountain towers into the sky high, with its various mountains like children who beside mother they lie!” Taking photos here makes you feel proud of conquering nature. The pool here, called Facing Heaven Pond, is a real wonder since its water is neither dry in drought nor spilt in flood. The Southern Peak consists of three small peaks. With the Pine and Juniper Peak filled with Pine forests on the East, Mountain with Three-Man-like Rock and Three-Phoenix Peak on the South and Filial Son Peak, Pine and Juniper Peak and Wild Goose Perching Peak, it resembles an old man sitting cross-legged.
Soon we’ve come to the site where Laozi once brewed elixir. That will be extremely beautiful with red maple-leaves like burning furnace-fire in the deep autumn every year.
Well, let’s go on. At present, we could see the Western Peak of Huashan. A natural gigantic rock forms this splendid peak. In the southeast, verdant pines and cypresses grow with streams gurgling like playing lyre. That will be a splendid view seen from anywhere. In addition, there is passed on a beautiful tale. This is the Whale Back of the Western Peak, namely an ideal site to shoot a full view of the Western Peak. The Western Peak of 2,082 m elevation is known as Lotus Peak because here a natural stone lotus-leaf covers the summit. The Emerald Cloud Palace located at the Western Peak is the longest and most intact Taoist palace in the world on the peak. The Third Holy Lady, youngest daughter of the Jade Emperor, fell in love with an ordinary scholar named Liu Yanchang to establish their marriage affinity. Later Yang Jian (Erlang Deity) knew this and sentenced his younger sister to imprisonment under the gigantic rock to maintain the order of the Immortal World. Afterwards, the lady was born a child called “Chenxiang” (Eaglewood in Chinese, a keepsake of love sent to the Third Holy Lady by Liu Yanchang). Through instruction of Great Immortal of Thunderbolt, Chenxiang break the rock into three pieces to rescue his mother from under the rock with the result the whole family are reunited.
All you can see this turtle-like rock, called “Sitting on Turtle Across the Occean”. In cloudy seasons each time, the cloud rising from valley-bottom is equally high to the mountain. It is just like a turtle floating on the azure ocean in misty daybreak.
Now let’s enjoy pine-trees of Huashan. Huashan pines are a beautiful sight among various Huashan scenes. Upright pine forest spreads widely like the ocean to represent a picturesque view. When breeze blowes gently, bursts of soughing of pine-trees are powerful and melodious. Wavering twigs and branches are just beautiful figures of dancers. If you enjoy this at a starry night with the moon hung above, what a fine scene it si! And you will feel a wonderful great power. Towering robust General pines, couple pines, sister pines, twisted pines like crouching dragon, guest-greeting pines and worriless pines taking root in crevice tightly are jointly to represent a culture of pine-tree.
Coming along a road with trees on both sides from the Western Peak, you will see the Mountain Guarding Temple, which was said to be built by Fan Youming, an eunuch in Ming Dynasty. In the courtyard of the temple is a jade well connected to the jade spring down the mountain reputedly. A princess once was making up near here and dropping her hair-pin into the well. At last the ornament was found in the spring down the mountain. The well water is sweet and magic. It nourishes your skin, enhance your beauty and prolong your life. Going down from here, you will see the Lotus Bridge on the Shiba Lake and General Pine Tree. Not far away is the Gold Lock Pass. After that we will come down from the mountain.
Today you must be very tired after climbing the mountain, but I guess you are all in a good mood. Thanks for all your support for my work. Our trip to Huashan Mountain is coming to the end. I hope it has left you a good memory. I wish you sincerely to pay another visit here. Wish everyone good health and good trip! See you!
“There’s only one path up Huashan Mountain since the ancient times.” Today we are going to walk along this road to explore its history and enjoy the beautiful scenery in the valley.
“There is only one way to ascend the Huashan Mountain since ancient times.” This is actually a kind of cultural selection. To an extent, this way was built by Taoists on the mountain. Huashan Mountain is such an ideal place for Taoists to cultivate themselves. The main summit is a huge barrier and in the west and the east is respectively a watershed from Xian Valley and Huangpu Valley, so Qi is accumulated and concentrated in this area. Moreover, the end of Huashan Mountain Valley is a flat area called Qingke Terrace, a place with good fengshui.
The same as Mount Tai, Huashan Mountain is a religious and royal mountain. Thus, the only way must be built along the main summit, looking like a central axis. According to this concept, Huashan Valley is better than the other two valleys for such a way. And also the main summit stands in the south, which is why the emperors in the ancient times selected this way to the top.
Now we arrive at Huashan Mountain Gate. From here to the North Peak is 6 km long. Now you all follow me. This exquisite gate was made in 1988. The two big Chinese characters “Huashan Mountain” on the front top was written by Peng Zhen and the two Chinese characters “The Greatest” on the back top written by a famous calligrapher Ru Gui. Please move on. It is a legend that there was a lake clear to the bottom, in which five dragons would change into the shape of five old men and fly to Wu Dang for the lecture of Book of Changes. One day, the five dragons said to the lecturer, “your ideal place should be in Huashan Mountain rather than Wu Dang.” Then they asked the lecturer to close his eyes and flew him to Huashan Mountain. Here was once a Five Dragon Palace. This bridge was built in 1985 and was named after the Five Dragon Palace. The sculptures of five dragons on the bridge are facing Huashan Mountain. Its name was written by Mr. Hu Qiaomu.
Look, these are the mythical patterns as well as illustration for the five greatest mountains in China. Ancient people referred to directions with “gold, wood, water, fire and earth”. These patterns formed in Western Han more than 2,000 years ago. The pattern for Huashan Mountain is a standing tiger, showing its steepness. After coming through the gate, you will see a huge rock with two Chinese characters meaning “root of clouds”. It is said that the mists in the mountain were coming from it. However, one day, a guy came to cut the rock into halves and killed himself. From then on, no mists came from it any more. Now see the two Chinese characters. They mean we have come to a fairy land and got away from the earthly world.
Now this huge rock is called Fish Rock because it resembles a fish. In Qing Dynasty, a flash flood happened and a big fish went with the flood water. Then suddenly the flood abated and the fish turned into a rock. Then see the two Chinese characters “Shou Shan”. They mean longetivity.
The three big Chinese characters “Wang Meng Tai” on the opposite cliff was written by a Manchu person called Dalishan in the Kangxi Reign of the Qing Dynasty. Wang Meng was an official in the Northern and Southern Dynasties.. He once lived in Huashan Mountain. He was born from a poor family. When he was young, he read lots of military works. In 354 A.D., he got a chance to show his talent before Huan Wen who defeated Fu Jian (King of Former Qin Dynasty). Then the king appointed him as the premier, and later he made great contributions to the prosperity of this country. In 368, with the order from his emperor, Wang Meng stationed his soldiers here, which is why it has such a name. When he died, he was buried in the northwest of Xiguan Village in Huayin City.
The frist pass to Huashan Mountain is called Wu Li Pass. In the third month in the lunar calender, flowers are in blossom and grass is growing green in spring. It is really such a wonderful place depicted in a well-known idyllic prose Peach Blossom Land by Tao Yuanming in the Eastern Jin Dynasty. Later a poet wrote a poem to describe the picturesque scene here: “Wonderful fragrance assails men, flowers with red calyx run riot as spring advances. Blow here and there by heavenly breeze, they fall to the earthly world never.”
Look, what does the stone cave look like? It is a legend that Laozi—the founder of Taoism—tried his chisel when making the path up Huashan Mountain. This valley is called Xi Yi Valley, because Xi Yi, another name for Chen Tuan—a well-known hermit, was buried here. And many names of sights are related to his story. And look here, this is the second pass called Stone Gate. Passing it, we will see the Western Peak. Hurry up.
This place we are at is called Pipal Terrace. It was named after a pipal tree transplanted from Hanzhong in the southern Shaanxi Province. Pipal Tree Park was built in 1995 with the donation of some Taiwan compatriots. It is a North China style park reflecting the concepts of Taoism.
Look at that cave on the opposite cliff. It is called Hunyuan Temple. “Hunyuan” is a Taoist term, meaning beginning of everything, known for Laozi was conferred Emperor Hunyuan in the Tang Dynasty.
Then look at the summit on the left. Does the rock look like a glossy ganoderma? If you are feeling thirsty, then please see this huge peach. Legend has it that it was stolen from heaven by Monkey King.
The houses and caves we see there are the Small Shang Fang, and the above is the Big Shang Fang. Shang Fang is a Taoist term, meaning heaven. The Big Shang Fang was a place for Princess Jinxian to cultivate herself in the Tang Dynasty. If you get up there, you will see beautiful flowers, hear charming bird songs and gurgling brooks. In the Anti-Japanese War time, a master Li Hanjing was living here. In the 1990s, he donated USD $100,000 for building a Pipal Tree Park and a Shang Fang Bridge.
Have you heard of the King of Medicine in China? His name is Sun Simiao. He was born in the Tang Dynasty. He had found lots of herbs that could cure diseases. Thus, he was reputed as the King of Medicine. He often picked up herbs in Huashan Mountain. And the sculpture enshrined in the cave is him, hence the name of the cave called “King of Medicine Cave”.
This huge rock is called Hunyuan Rock. Legend has it that the rock was here when the heaven and the earth was separated. In the Chinese myth, the rock was selected to mend the sky, thus it was called Hunyuan Rock.
In this crevice, you will see a white rock in the shape of a snake. It is a legend that the White Snake was killed here. In a story of Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio, A boy fell in love with a girl, then the snake killed him. So the girl’s father saved him with his Taoist attainments and killed the white snake.
This is Green-haired Girl Cave. It is said that in Qin Dynasty, a palace maid escaped to Huashan Mountain because she was selected for burial sacrifice. Then she ate pine nuts and drank spring water and finally she got green hair all over her body and walked extremely fast. She was about 170 years old in Western Han Dynasty, and a legend has it that she became an immortal. She is seen as a goddess for keeping babies and ladies safe.
That is Liu Xi Terrace on the opposite hillside. In the story “Lotus Lantern”, when the Third Holy Lady was inprisoned under the Western Peak, Liu Xi came and lived here to accompany her soul.
This is called Three Emperor Terrace, enshrining the Emperor of Heaven, the Emperor of Land and the Emperor of Human beings with a wish that the three emperors give people more fortune, less punishment and longer life.
Come and listen to this. Then you can hear the voice of water in the rock, so it is called “Water Sound Rock”.
This is called Qingke Terrace. It sits against the main peaks and faces cliffs of thousands meters deep. Water falls into the deep bottom of valley and makes thundering noise. When watching around from the terrace, you will feel something quite different. Hills are all around, trees verdant and temples and caves here and there. Now we are at West Taoism Temple, enshrining the Goddess “San Xiao”. In the Ming Dynasty, it was a school and there were 300 scholars here to follow a renowned scholar Feng Congwu. And here is the end of Huashan Mountain Valley. Now we are going to walk along the path to Huashan Mountain. It extends to the Gold Lock Pass, above which are the main peaks.
Now we arrive at the East Taoism Temple, also named Jiutian Palace after the Goddess Jiutian. When the Yellow Emperor and Chi You were in war, the Yellow Emperor was not as powerful as Chi You as Chi You could use magic to create fog and swirl rocks and sands. Then the Goddess Jiutian gave the Yellow Emperor some special tools so that he could fight against Chi You. Nowadays some people from Taiwan would like to come and worship on a good day.
Watching around Qingke Terrace, you will see the wonderful sights of Huashan Mountain. A powerful waterfall falls from half way of the main summit and passes the cave, thus this cave is called Water Curtain Cave. Above the cave you can see two yellow patterns of human being. They are called Stone Immortals. In the southwest of the terrace, a tree and a rock on the summit look like two men playing chess. Not far away is a huge elliptical rock in the shape of an old man watching to the east. See there, that hill looks like a vivid phoenix and there the rock looks like a horse on a flyover. On the Lion Ridge, you can see some rocks in the shape of lions, and there, the two gigantic rocks on the north of the terrace look like a vivid tortoise chasing a toad.
Now we come to Mind Changing Stone. It is located in such a perilous area Thousand-Foot Precipice that some people may be frightened away. It is a legend that in the Yuan Dynasty, a Taoist master was making caves with his apprentices. However, the caves they made were occupied by others one by one, so the two apprentices was complaining to each other, thinking their master could only teach them to make caves. Then one day when their master was making caves in the cliff, the two malicious apprentices cut the rope and killed their master. Then they hurried to get down the mountain to get a new master. When they arrived here, suddenly they found their master was approaching from the opposite direction. Then they realized their master had been an immortal, so they changed their mind and followed their master to make caves. Thus, this rock is called Mind Changing Stone.
This perilous path is called “Thousand-Foot Precipice”. It has 370 steps in 70 degrees. It was originally built at the end of Han Dynasty. In Tang, Song and Yuan Dynasty, a straight furrow formed. In Ming Dynasty, wooden sticks were fixed between the sides of the furrow, and later iron chain was added. In the middle and late Ming Dynasty, rock steps were built. They were strengthened in Qing Dynasty and the later times. In 1985, another path was made on the north, ensuring the safety of visitors.
Now this 91-step path is called “Hundred-foot Crevice”. It is 46 m high. The rock over there seems as if it would fall down. When people come across here, they would fear that rock would fall. Then after that, people are relaxed. This is a special feeling you can have here.
Now this place is called Two Immortals Bridge. Legend has it that it was the place where the immortal Lu Dongbin enlightened He Xiangu.
This Taoist temple is called “Immortals Temple”. It was once a place for Taoist nuns to cultivate themselves and now it enshrines the immortal Lu Dongbin. Lu Dongbin was a person in Tang Dynasty who became immortal later. He is the creater of two schools of Taoism.
This path is the last difficult part before getting to the Northern Peak. It is a legend that Laojun—a Taoist God—made a furrow here as there was no path here. According to the concept of Taoism, this is where people get away from the earthly world and get to the fairy land.
Now this vertical precipice is called “Heng Cui Precipice”. There are lots of inscriptions on the precipice, among which “nature of nation” was written by Chiang Kai-shek in 1936.
That high platform over there is called Immortal Gathering Platform. A story goes like this. In the ancient times, a woodcutter surnamed Wang was living near Huashan Mountain. One day, when he was on the way to cutting wood, he heard some people were playing chess on the platform. So he went there and found two old men were playing chess. He was a chess fan, so he put down his tools and began watching them interestedly. Then he was feeling hungry and picked up a fruit stone from the ground and put into his mouth. Suddenly he felt no hunger any more. When the old men finished playing the chess, the woodcutter suddenly realized he needed to cut wood. To his surprise, the axe he put on the ground has turned ash already. Then he hurried back home but it was quitely different from what it was before. So he asked an old man in the village about his wife and son. To his big surprise, the old man said the son of the woodcutter was his grandfather and told him about the story that happened. Then the woodcutter realized his staying with the two immortals playing the chess was almost a hundred years. Then he returned to Huashan Mountain and became a Taoist, and the village he used to be living in was renamed after him as “Wang Dao Village”.
After coming along the perilous path up Huashan Mountain, we are going to enjoy the wonderful natural scenery. Come on! Please follow me!
Explanation words on Xi Yue Temple:
Hello everyone! I am a guide here. You are welcome to visit the Xi Yue Temple. First, I will give a brief introduction on the overall profile of the Temple. Xi Yue Temple is the place that the ancient imperial worshipped God of Huashan Mountain Shao Hao. It was built in 134 years BC and had a history of more than 2,100 years. Expansion and renovation have been conducted in all the past dynasties, and it was until to the Qian Long 42th year in Qing Dynasty that the architectural pattern of renovations was entirely modeled on Imperial Palace in Beijing. Therefore, so the Xi Yue Temple is also called the small Forbidden City in Shaanxi. The Temple, facing the south, covers an area of 186 acres , 525 meters from north to south, and 225 meters from east to west. The temple is the axis of the layout of which the symmetrical ends of east and west, and surrounded by city walls. In 1988, Xi Yue Temple was awarded a national key cultural relics protection unit by the State Council. In 1994, the Temple was formally transferred from military management to local cultural relics management department. In 1998 the State Cultural Relics Bureau, the provincial government and Bureau of Cultural Relics jointly invested about fifty million yuan on conducting a four-year large-scale renovation in order to make it even more magnificent and elegant.
Now, we are located in the front plaza area in the Xi Yue Temple. First of all, let us look at the screen wall. It just plays a role of decoration in the Temple. On both sides of the screen wall, we can see that there are some stone railings, symbolizing the hierarchy in ancient times, and only an imperial temple can have such stone railings. This stone-slab road treaded by our feet is called Chessboard Street. Aren’t the white stripes and the blue squares like the chess board? Only does the Temple here have a Chessboard Street in terms of the temples of the whole country. Therefore, it was further proved that Xi Yue Temple has the highest hierarchy.
Now, the building we are looking at is Hao Ling Gate. It is the first gateway into the West Yue Temple. There is a square stone plaque with five craved characters ‘Chi Xiu Xi Yue Temple’. ‘Chi’ means imperial order, so you can see this Temple was built in the order of the emperor.
Well, please go ahead. After entering the first gate, the second gate to the Xi Yue Temple, Meridian Gate, is in front of us now. At the top of the Meridian Gate is Wu Feng Lou (Five Phoenix Tower). The original Tower was destroyed in the Tong Zhi first year in Qing Dynasty (in AD 1862), and a renovation was conducted based in the original foundation after 2000 years. If you are interested, then you can ascend it.
Through the Meridian Gate, we will enter the small Forest of steles. Due to much natural and man-made destruction, only an incomplete stele was left. The imperial nameplate in Huashan Mountain was made by the Emperor Xuanzong-Li Longji. It is recorded in the books on the Tang Dynasty that the stele is more than 50-foot-high. It is probably fifteen meters tall according to today's conversion unit, and was called the best monument in the world. In 880 A.D. in the late Tang Dynasty, the peasant uprising of Huang Chao passed by the Temple and set fire on it. It was surrounded by the tall wooden buildings at that time. Because the steles were burnt and the body of steles was in it, it was baked rosily. Unfortunately, the rains fell down suddenly, as a result, the steles broke into pieces between the hot and cold temperatures, so they are commonly known as the Five Sacred Mountains of Stone.
Here, we can see an old nostalgic building block, Ling Xing Gate, which is the third gateway into the Xi Yue Temple. In ancient times, the bumper grain harvest and good weather can be obtained by the worship of God of Ling Xing. There are nine carved wooden dragons in an inverted trapezoidal arrangement in the brackets of Ling Xing Gate. If you are interested in the dragons, you can count them. If you look at them carefully, you will find that there are two dragons with their mouth semi-closing among the nine dragons. The reason is that there is a very strict hierarchical system in the ancient system, and also this Temple is regarded as the second-class temple which can not be represented by the figures symbolizing the highest level. Such a smart combination neither makes the Xi Yue Temple lose its king's demeanor nor commits the sin of hierarchy, so we call this combination seven obvious ones and nine hidden ones. Let us take another look at the nails on this gate with nine ones horizontally and seven vertically in a total of sixty-three. It also has seven obvious ones and nine hidden ones
The stone archway, decorated in front of us was built during the Wanli Period in the Ming Dynasty, and it has a history of more than four hundred years since then. It’s one of the most complete, the highest-level and the most abundant ones among three existing stone archways. The whole archway entirely models on the structure of the wooden archway with the triangle-stabilized composition in the form of four-column and three-bay. First, let’s have a look at the top of the arches. It is carved circularly the pattern of the lion packing the treasure vase. Under the archway, the stone plaque surrounded by the two dragons is carved with two characters ‘Chijian’--- the imperial order, showing the higher hierarchy of the archway is just like that of the West Yue Temple. Then the following eight characters on the Dragon Door Lane were written by the autography of Yan Song, a prime minister in Ming Dynasty, representing the highest dignity and the heavenly might close at hand. Since he is a traitor, his inscription was scraped with a sharp object by later generations. In the eight characters was also sandwiched in a row of round sculptures of stone figures with the realistic modeling. They are the legend of the Eight Immortals, as well as Nanji Immortal, constituting the picture of congratulating the birthday by the Eight Immortals.
Next let us look at the pillars of the archway. Firstly this is the outermost group of pillars. The stone figure on the right pillar holds a gourd in hand, symbolizing the more children, more happiness. On the left side of pillar, the figure carries a monkey, a symbol of granting titles and territories to the noblest in generations. Inside this group also has two stone figures on the inside pillars, the right dragging an official hat, and the left dragging a deer. The combination of the both sides symbolizes dignitary and wealth. Then here is a couplet on the left. It means that with the care of God of Huashan Mountain, the people are outstanding and the substances are abundant. Well, let’s continue to enjoy the back of the arch. The upper square is a picture of three emperors, that is, the heavenly emperor, land emperor and human emperor. There are several rows of orderly carved stone figures, comprising the life situations on the Empress Palace. Here you can see the picture on a lion rolling embroidery ball and cranes playing, representing the wealthy and auspicious patterns. In the back of the arch is also a couplet. Its means that God of Huashan Mountain has governance over four provinces -- Yu, Chu, Qin and Ji, and the situation of the growth of crops in four seasons. Here Yu, Chu, Qin and Ji individually refer to Henan, Hubei, Shaanxi, and Hebei, There are some questions in front of the archway and answers at the back of it. They are very clear. Here again you can see one realistic group of stone lions with the smart sculpture at upper and down. They are playing together happily.
Please go ahead. The fourth gate of the Temple is Golden Gate. This gate was kept very completely. Through the golden gate, we saw this group of bridge. It is a replication of Beijing's Gold Water Bridge, so it is also known as the Gold Water Bridge. Standing on the Gold Water Bridge, we can see Hao Ling Temple, the main building of the Temple. It is kept completely and covers an area of 842 square meters. It is the largest temple in our province, so it is known as the first hall in Shaanxi. God of Huashan Mountain Shao Hao is enshrined in this hall. Maybe you will feel a bit strange. Why there is no statue? Because Xi Yue Temple plays a role in praying to the mountains in the form of overview and remote worship, only the memorial tablets is enshrined instead of god statues. Also Xi Yue Temple is the only temple without statues of god. There are not only the memorial tablets for God of Huashan Mountain, but also three imperial plaques handed over from the Qing Dynasty. There is also a plaque carved with Chinese characters “Xian Zhang Lin Yun” by Empress Cixi hanging above the top of door. On the opposite side of the wall, the plague ‘Jin Tian Zhao Rui’ written by Emperor Guangxu and the one‘Rui Ning Xian Zhang’by Emperor Tongzhi were hung.
On the platform outside the hall, there is a complete diagram stele through Xi Yue Temple. The stele was created in the fourty-second year of Qianlong Reign in the Qing Dynasty. In 1777, Bi Yuan (governor of Shaanxi), petitioned silvers from the Emperor Qianlong to rebuild the Temple. Then the emperor allocated 120,000 silvers to rebuild the Temple and the stele was created by Bi Yuan based on the construction of the Imperial Palace in Beijing at this time. The Temple on the diagram can be described as a microcosm of Beijing's Forbidden City. Such maintenance can be said that it’s the last and also the first large-scale restoration in history. You can try to find our location of our exposure from the diagram.
Well, please see the monument in Stele Tower. It has a certain association with the whole diargram of stele that we have just seen. Just now we saw a complete diagram of the new temple, and knew Bi Yuan petitioned the emperor for allocating the silvers, but nobody knows how the emperor allocated the twelve thousand silvers. Here I will tell you the truth about the stele. After reading Bi Yuan memorials, Emperor Qianlong asked the Ministry of Internal Affairs to allocate 120,000 silvers to Bi Yuan for handling the matter, but the request was that the construction should be firm and new. This stele was erected after its contents were copied by Bi Yuan when they are approved by the emperor, so it was not written by Emperor Qianlong but an autography of Bi Yuan. After reading the inscription, we look at the base of the stele with the head of dragon and body of turtle. It is a legend that the dragon has nine sons with their own strengths. The ninth son has the vast power, and is good at weight-bearing, so it is supposed to pack the monument.
Next let us visit the fifth part, the emperor’s chambers. In the past, it was a separate courtyard surrounded by the protecting city, but today we can only see the newly-built chambers. The exhibitions and arrangement of the chambers are simulated by the past environments. If you are interested, you can go inside to have a look.
We shall go for a walk in the emperor's imperial garden after going out of the chambers. Today's Imperial Garden holds another one archway during the years of Wan Li, the archway of Shaohao, and only from the literal meaning, we know that this arch was created for the mountain god of Huashan Mountain. The god's name is Shao Hao. The arch is inferior to the previous ones from its content and technology, so the ancient hierarchy is very rigid.
Through the Stele Tower, we can see Yu Shu Building-the Imperial Book Building. It was restored after 2,000 years, and inside the Building, there is the biggest lying monument in Shaanxi. We went inside to take a look. The monument is put together by four bluestone planks with 4.67 m long and 1.05 m high. Four characters are engraved on the surface of the monument ‘Yue Lian Ling Shu’. They are the Qianlong emperor's handwritting. In the past they are gilt characters with the glittering light, but the gold disappeared after the period of the Republic of China. The reverse side of a stone tablet recorded that there happened the rare drought in Shaanxi in the fourth decades of Qian Long. Bi Yuan, the governor of Shaanxi, personally boarded Huashan Mountain to pray the rains, and the God of Yue made its presence, even the heavy raining was continuous for three days and three nights, and the people cheered up for the rain. Bi Yuan attributed this to the emperor, and begged the emperor to erect the stele with words for expressing thanks to the God of Huashan Mountain. So the four characters ‘Yue Lian Ling Shu’ we see today are inscribed especially by the Emperor Qian Long for expressing thanks to the timely rain given by God.
After hearing my guide on the stele, I want to show you the highest place of Xi Yue Temple, Wan Shou Loft. It is the post-2,000 newly built up. In 1931 the original building was destroyed. The patriotic general Feng Yuxiang garrisoned the troops in Xi Yue Temple, and he put the arms in Wan Shou Loft with the careful guard. Unfortunately, the arsenal fire destroyed it. Now Wan Shou Loft has restored completely in accordance with the original model. Boarding Wan Shou Loft, you can have a panoramic view of the three peaks in the south of Huashan Mountain. If you are interested, you can ascend it for a panoramic view. I believe that the scene will give you a golden memory. Now my guide will be over, and thank you for your support of my work and wish you a nice trip, bon voyage!
Yu Quan Temple (Jade Spring Temple)
Yu Quan Temple is one of the famous Taoist temples in the north of China, and it’s also one of the most important venues for Chinese Taoism. It was built in the periods of Song Shenzong, that is, from 1049 to 1051, by Taoist Jia Deshen for his master Chen Tuan. After several destructions and renovations, the current scale didn’t come into being until to the Ming and Qing Dynasties. It is called Xi Yi Temple, as the name is originated from Xi Yi brought by Emperor Taizong to Chen Tuan. Later the name is changed into the Yu Quan Temple.
“Mountains are famous not for its height but for the immortal soul”. Over the two thousand years, there are many celebrities converged to lecture the practitioners, such as Gu Yanwu and Wang Hongzhuan in the periods of the Ming and Qing Dynasty, leaving some inscriptions. There are also some monument inscriptions by the General Feng Yuxiang at Yuquan Garden in the modern times : ‘get rid of superstitions,’ ‘construct water conservancy that are beneficial to the country and people,’ The font is powerful. The inscriptions reflect the vision of General Feng and his patriotic advanced ideas. Through the one-hundred-lion platform, we came to the main building district. It took the garden style of architecture in the south of Yangzi River. The pond is in the center surrounded by the booths, platforms, and pavilions, giving the impression of a larger view. The existing main buildings are Wu You Pavilion, seventy-two windows, Quanzhen Hall of Seven Taoists, and Tong Tian Pavilion.
Wuyou Pavilion means carefree. There was a forest of peach and bamboo in front of the pavilion in the past. The west is the sites of Great Wall of Wei in the ancient Warring States periods. The pavilion is spacious and elegant. Visitors can have a sense of worry-free. The pavilion is located in the northwest of Yuquan Garden, so a saying goes like this, ‘In the northwest corner of Yu Quan Garden, you can sleep sound with things in mind.’
Seventy-two window gallery is a corridor around the Yu Quan Temple. If you are interested, you can count the number of windows. Even though these windows are not spectacular for its long ages, it is unique in the history of our country. It is well-designed according to 72 phenological phenomena. The phenology believes that a year is divided into a five-day climate, a solar term with three-designate, a total of twenty four orders and seventy two climates. The windows, as well as the flowers, insects and fish, are in different shapes.
Quanzhen Hall of Seven Taoists: Taoist of Huashan Mountain is Quan Zhen School. Seven Taoist priests are enshrined from the middle to both sides of the hall. The middle one is Qiu Chuji, and the rests are respectively Ma Danyang, Tan Chuduan, Liu Chuxuan, Wang Chuyi, Hao Datong, Sun Bu’er.
Guoshui Pavilion: it is said that one year, Li Longji (Emperor Xuanzong) and his sister, Princess Jinxian practiced Taosim in Huashan Mountain. One day, she went to the Huashan Mountain with a few maids. When they came to the Zhenyue Palace in the Western Peak, there appeared a well with clear water and the princess stood beside the well to see her shadow. Suddenly she fell her jade hairpin into the well with carelessness. When they rested and washed their hands in the Guoshui Pavilion after climbing down the mountain, they found her hairpin. And they also found out that the springs under the pavilion were intertwined with the well at the top of the mountain. The spring at that time indeed flew through the Na Liang Pavilion to the outside of the temple. It was a pity that the well was buried by the flash floods and river diversions during the years of Qing Dynasty. Descendants have changed its name of Xi Yi Temple to Yu Quan Temple according to the legend.
Then, who on earth is Xi Yi? Xi Yi is another name for Chen Tuan, one of the celebrities in Quanzhen Sect of Taoism. Xi Yi, also called Fu Yaozi, is a hermit during the late Tang and Five Dynasties, and he was born in 871 and died in 989 with a life of 118 years in Haozhou of Anhui. He was proficient in alchemy and sleep power. It was said that he could sleep for eight hundred years without waking, so the local people called the lazy people who loved sleeping "Chen Tuan Lord." He often picked herbs to treat common people when he was alive, latter then he attained immortality and people all believed in him. His lying stone figure was oblate in Xi Yi Cave. In each March 15 in the lunar calendar, believers will come to worship him in Huashan Mountain Temple, saying that Chen Tuan figure can cure sickness, and seek a safe if you touch it. Whether you believe it or not depends on you. If you are interested, you can touch it for safety and health.
Through this corridor, we come to the main building part of the Yu Quan Temple– main hall of a Taoist temple. It consists of two major parts, the Front and Rear Hall. The Front Hall is dedicated to the founder of Huashan Sect of Taoism, namely Hao Datong. A number of steles were erected outside the Hall with the praising poems on steles of Huashan Mountain by the ancient celebrities, the general diagram on Huashan Mountain, and the ‘first mountain’ by a calligrapher called Mi Fu in the Song Dynasty, as well as the ‘old pines thousands of years’ on the lintels by the Emperor Guangxu. It is in this Hall that the Taoist masters celebrated their holidays and preached in every Taoist holiday. The rear hall is dedicated to Chen Tuan's seated sculpture. There are two paintings on both sides of the lintels. The one on the left is the picture of chess-gambling on Huashan Mountain between Zhao Kuangyin and Chen Tuan in the east peak of Huashan Mountain. The one on the left is the painting that five dragons carry Chen Tuan to the Mountain. It tells you how Chen Tuan came to Huashan Mountain.
“Tong Tian Pavilion” is named so because it is opposite to the Tong Tian Gate of the Gold Lock Pass at the top of the mountain. When you go out of Yu Quan Temple from here, the only road in Huashan Mountain will extend to your foot, so there is a saying “there is only one path up Huashan Mountain since the ancient times”. It covers the length of 25 meters with a total of 9,567 steps. You can see the fascinating natural scenery and have an attractive adventure along the road.
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