Wudang Mountains

For centuries, the mountains of Wudang (武当) have been known as an important center of Taoism, especially famous for its Taoist versions of martial arts or Taichi.

The first site of worship—the Five Dragons Temple—was constructed at the behest of Emperor Taizong of Tang. Further structures were added during the Song and Yuan dynasties, while the largest complex on the mountain was built during the Ming dynasty (14th–17th centuries) as the Yongle Emperor claimed to enjoy the protection of the god Beidi or Xuan Wu. Temples regularly had to be rebuilt, and not all survived; the oldest extant structures are the Golden Hall and the Ancient Bronze Shrine, made in 1307. Other noted structures include Nanyang Palace (built in 1285–1310 and extended in 1312), the stonewalled Forbidden City at the peak (built in 1419), and the Purple Cloud Temple (built in 1119–26, rebuilt in 1413 and extended in 1803–20).

The monasteries such as the Wudang Garden were made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.

On January 19, 2003, the 600-year-old Yuzhengong Palace at the Wudang Mountains was accidentally burned down by an employee of a martial arts school. A fire broke out in the hall, reducing the three rooms that covered 200 square meters to ashes. A gold-plated statue of Zhang Sanfeng, which was usually housed in Yuzhengong, was moved to another building just before the fire, and so escaped destruction in the inferno.

TRAVEL INFORMATION

The most common route for students coming to study is from Beijing.From Beijing, one can travel by airplane or train to Wudang.The train, about a 20 hour ride, is much cheaper and more direct than flights.If you are planning on taking the train, purchase a ticket for the K279 train to a town called wudang shan.Wudang shan train station is located about 20 minutes from the school.If you cannot purchase a ticket to wudang shan train station, purchase one for Shi Yan.Shi Yan is a city located about 1 hour from the school.

The following are some directions and Chinese phrases to print out to help with your ticket purchase:

Take a taxi to the Beijing West train station.

  “Please take me to the Beijing West train station” – (beijing xi zhan)

Purchase a ticket for the train, K279, to wudang shan.

  “I would like to buy a ticket for the K279 train to wudang shan
.” – (wo mai yi zhang qu wudang shan de huoche piao)

Choose either a soft sleeper or hard sleeper ticket.

  “Soft sleeper” – (ruan wo)

  “Hard sleeper” – (ying wo)

If you are going to be flying from Beijing, purchase a plane ticket to Xiang Yang city.Xiang Yang is located about 2.5 hours away from Wudang.If you would like for a taxi to meet you at the airport, please communicate this to Master Yuan in a timely manner so that it can be arranged.

Longhu Mountain

Dragon and Tiger Mountain (Longhu Mountain 龙虎山) is a famous Taoism mountain with a long history. 16 km (about 9.94 miles) south of Yingtan City, Jiangxi Province, it has been noted as the ‘Residence of Celestials’ and ‘Blest Earthly Abode’ because of its beautiful scenery. As a cradle land of Taoism, Dragon and Tiger Mountain has been regarded as a Holy Land to which many pilgrimages are made every year.

Image result for longhu mountain

According to the record of Taoism, in the middle of the East Han Dynasty (25-220), Zhang Daoling, the first Tian Shi (a Taoist priest), started to distill elixirs at this historic mountain, originally named ‘Mount of Splendid Clouds’. As the elixirs were made, a dragon and a tiger would appear. Then the mountain’s name changed and became a birthplace of Taoism.

Shangqing Palace in Shangqing Old Town Scenic Area, first built in East Han Dynasty, is the place for Tian Shi to pray and the place where all gods received their official ranks. It was as large as the royal palace, but one Chi (about 1.094 feet) lower to show the respect for the royal prerogative.

Apart from the sacred place for Taoism, Dragon and Tiger Mountain is also full of beautiful and special landscapes. As a typical Danxia landform characterized by its cliffy scarp, the red terrestrial clastic rock can be seen everywhere in Celestial Water Rock Scenic Area. There are a total of ninety-nine peaks, twenty-four boulders, one hundred and eight natural and artificial sights and over twenty wells, ponds, streams and waterfalls. ‘Ten cannot’ rocks in this area are famous for the vivid guise and attractive stories. They are: the nun carrying monk cannot pass by; the jade comb that cannot comb the hair; the water lily that cannot be wore; the test-sword stone that cannot be put to the test; the celestial peach that cannot be eaten; the stone drum that cannot be beat; the splendid silk that cannot be wrapped; the fairy cannot be married; the scoop that cannot be used and the Taoism Hall that people cannot sit in. Sitting in a raft and drifting in the winding Lu Xi River which meanders westwards through the whole mountain area and links sights scattered along the banks, visitors can take in all the beautiful scenes, blue skies, white clouds, green water and red mountains.

Another marvelous sight in Dragon and Tiger Mountain is the Cliff Tombs. Most of the tombs are about 50 meters (160 feet) above the water, and some are more than 300 meters (984 feet) high. Floating in the Lu Xi River, Cliff Tombs of the Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC) and the Warring States Period (476-221BC) can be seen along the river banks. Because of its expansive area, large quantity, dangerous location and unique shape, the tombs got the title ‘the best natural archaeological museum of China’. No one is quite sure why or how the ancient site was built, so it’s still a mystery waiting for you to discover.

Qiyun Mountain

Anciently called Baiyue(白岳, the mountain of the white), Qiyun Taoist Mountain (齐云山)was the site for worshipping Zhenwu Dadi(真武大帝, a superior god in Taoism also known as Xuantian Shangdi, or Xuanwu Dadi, was said to be the earthly aspect of Taishan Laojun or Laozi), who was also called Zhenwu Dijun in classics of Taoism. Qiyun Mountain and Wudang Mountain were both the site to worship Zhenwu Dadi, and Qiyun Mountain boasts the Little Wudang Mountain of Jiangnan. During the reign of Yuanhe in Tang Dynasty, Taoism spread to Qiyuan Mountain. And in Song and Yuan Dynasties, the influence of Taoism was further consolidated. During the Jiaqing and Wanli reigns of Ming Dynasty, Zhang Tianshi, the successor of Zhang Daoling and his crown, followed the order of emperor to stay in Qiyun Mountain for spreading Taoism. Finally, it gradually becomes a center of Taoism in China. The Taoist building complex on the Qiyun Mountain centers on Xuantian Taisu Palace(玄天太素宫), which is located on Yuehua Street and originally built due to the order of Emperor Jiajing in Ming Dynasty.

Image result for qiyun mountain
Qiyun Mountain is close to Huangshan Mountain. Railway runs through the foot of Qiyun Mountain. A stone penetrates the sky, and it is as high as the clouds, hence, the name of Qiyun Mountain. It is a scenic area of mountain with the characteristics of Taoist culture and red morning and evening glow. Qiyun Mountain consists of 9 peaks, including the Qiyun Peak, Baiyue Peak, Qishan Peak, Wanshou Peak, etc. The scenic area is 110 square kilometers. Qiyun Mountain is famous for its steep mountain, clear water, oddly shaped stones and tranquil caves. The scenic spots include the Yuehua Street, the Yunyan Lake and the Loushang Building. Qiyun Mountain has 36 steep peaks, 44 oddly shaped stones, 18 tranquil caves, 27 waterfall caves of springs, 14 pools, 16 pavilions, 537 inscriptions and stone tablets, 3 stone decorated archways, 5 stone bridges and 33 temples and monasteries.

The Fascinating Places and Happy Lands(洞天福地, a classic term exclusively used in Taoism script) include three cliff inscriptions (inscriptions on the Qizhen Cliff, the Zhonglie Cliff and the Shouzi Cliff). As it is said, the Qizhen Cliff is the cultivation place of Qixia Immortal in the Tang Dynasty (618-907); the Zhonglie Cliff is the place used to fete the Guangong Immortal; and the Chinese character Shou (longevity) on the Shouzi Cliff is the handwriting of Dowager Empress Cixi of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The diameter of the large Chinese character Shou (longevity) is up to 230 centimeters. After going across the Shouzi Cliff, tourists can see and pass through a capacious stone cave that is completely formed by nature. The cave is a hollow under the Shouzi Cliff and it is known as the No. 1 Heaven Gate. There are many stone inscriptions and tablets in the cave, and they are called the Baiyue Stele Forest.

Qingcheng Mountain

Mount Qingcheng (青城山), located in the southwest of the Dujiangyan Irrigation System of China in Sichuan Province, is one of the most famous Taoist mountains in China. It is also a very attractive and intriguing scenic spot that is covered by luxuriant and verdant trees. The mountain, which is surrounded by numerous peaks and is shaped like a city, is dubbed ‘the most peaceful and secluded mountain under heaven’ and combines perfectly with its evergreen scenery.

The Mount Qingcheng can be divided into two parts – the anterior part and the posterior part. The anterior part is the main part of the scenic spot, covering an area approximately 15 square kilometers (about 3706 acres) that possesses alluring natural beauty and an abundance of cultural relics and historic sites. Among them, the Jianfu Palace, the Shangqing Palace, and the Tianshi Cave are some of the most famous destinations which you are bound to be engrossed by.

Looking up at Mt. Qingcheng from its foot, you will see that Laojun Pavilion is located on the highest peak, which is known as Pengzu Peak, it is also called Laoxiao Peak, which has an elevation of over 1,260 meters (4,134 feet).

As you begin to climb up Mt. Qingcheng you will discover the Jianfu Palace, which was originally constructed in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and was restored on several other occasions through the years. Now, two temples and three compounds also exist here, surrounded by lush ancient vegetation. In front of the Jianfu Palace, a lucid stream winds its way, adding more beauty to the whole environment. Going west for one kilometer (about 0.6 mile), visitors will suddenly be presented with a wooden pavilion that protrudes between a profusion of trees and steep rocks. As a result, most of visitors will have misconception impressions that they are in a large natural painting.

Mt. Qingcheng, Chengdu
Entrance of Mt. Qingcheng
Mt. Qingcheng, Chengdu
Ciyun Tower

Going west, you will arrive at the Tianshi Cave. It is the major temple here. In the cave, a stone statue in the style of Sui Dynasty (581-618), proudly stands of Zhang Tianshi (the Celestial Master Zhang) who is worshipped. According to the legend, Zhang Daoling, later known as Zhang Tianshi, cultivated himself and preached here around the end of the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220). Hence, Zhang Tianshi is known as the founder of Taoism on Mt. Qingcheng. We also recommend that you visit the three other buildings that exist in this area – the Sanhuang Palace, the Sanqing Palace and also the Huangdi Temple. The Sanqing Palace, the main hall of the Tianshi Cave, worships the three supreme deities in Taoism; while in the Sanhuang Palace, the stone statues of Fuxi, Shennong and Huangdi (the Three Sovereigns of legendary rulers of China in remote antiquity) are worshipped.

Then, leaving the Tianshi Cave and crossing the Fangning Bridge, visitors will arrive at the Zushi Palace which is preserved from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). By continuing along the path, visitors will reach the next famous temple – the Shangqing Palace, and one by one a series of natural scenery and revered buildings of Taoism will present themselves to visitors. The Shangqing Palace was originally built in the Jin Dynasty; however, only a part of the buildings that were constructed in the Qing Dynasty remain. Fortunately, it is still an attractive sight where you can enjoy the unique natural scenery and historic heritages of China.

Shangqing Palace
Shangqing Palace
Sanqing Hall
Sanqing Hall

By visiting Mt. Qingcheng, visitors will be able to savor the pleasure of the perfect combination of the unique landform, moderate climate, natural beauty and cultural relics and historic sites of Taoism in this area.

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