Mt. Hua is located in South Huayin county, Shanxi province. It is the Western Mountain of the Five Sacred Mountains and the fourth grotto heaven among The Thirty-six Lesser Grotto Heavens in Daoism. The highest peak is 1997 m. above sea level. It is second to the North Marchmount--Mt. Heng--in height. It is precipitous and its craggedness is superior to the other four sacred mountains. It is praised as "the first odd mountain of the world."
Laozi, the founder of Daoism, visited Mt. Hua. There is a perilous part to the Northern Peak called "Old Sovereign Furrow". It was said that Laozi cut it using a plough. The earliest Daoist priest to retire to Mt. Hua is Kou Qianzhi. The History of the Wei, Records of Buddhism and Daoism, states that Kou Qianzhi met the immortal Cheng Gongxing and followed him to Mt. Hua. He didn't feel hungry after only taking his herbs. He went to Song Mountain later to continue his cultivation. During the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) periods, Daoism flourished and large numbers of Daoist priests retired to Mt.Hua for cultivation. The most famous legendary figure is Chen Tuan. In the Jin (1115-1234) and Yuan (1271-1368) periods, Liu Daoning, Mao Yangsu, He Zhizhen, Shi Zhijian and He Zhitong retired to Mt. Hua. In the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1840) dynasties, Gao Pengtou, Cheng Huale, Liu Xuzhong and Fan Yangmin all went to Mt.Hua for cultivation. Daoism certainly flourished on Mt. Hua.
The most ancient of the temples is the Temple of the West Marchmount, the historical record indicating that it was built at the time of Wu emperor Han. The Yuntai Temple, finished at the time of the Wu emperor of the Northern Zhou (557-581) is also an old temple. During the Tang (618-907) and Song (960-1279) periods, Queen Mother Temple, Simple Spirit Temple and Jade Spring Temple were built. In the Jin (1115-1234) and Yuan (1271-1368) periods, Master Xiyi Shrine and Qinghua Temple were constructed. In the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1840) dynasties, most of the mountain's temples fell into disrepair.
At present, there are Temple of the West Marchmount, Jade Spring Temple at the base, as well as Eastern Temple, Guardian Temple, Jade Lady Shrine and Green Cloud Temple, which are all on the mountain. Temple of the West Marchmount, Jade Spring Temple and Eastern Temple are nationally significant temples.
Temple of the West Marchmount
Temple of the West Marchmount is also called Huayu Temple and is the site where emperors worshipped the god, Huayu. It is 2.7 kilometers from the capital of Huayin County. It was named Spirits Collection Temple when finished at the time of the Wu emperor Han. The present construction imitates that of the Imperial Palace in Beijing, and people, thus call it Junior Forbidden City.
Jade Spring Temple
It located at the valley mouth of Mt. Hua. It was said that Chen Tuan cultivated himself here. The main building is Xiyi Shrine, which is a quadrangle. The main hall enshrines Chen Tuan. There is as a cloister, a stone boat, Worry-free Pavilion, Cherish Clearness Hall, Xiyi Cave, and Mountain Bamboo Pavilion, on the grounds of the temple. Mountain Bamboo Pavilion stands on a large stone and legend has it that it built by Chen Tuan. The trees besides it were also, supposedly planted by Chen Tuan. The sleeping statue of Chen Tuan was carved in the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Hua Tuo's tomb is east of the temple.
It originally called Nine Heaven Palace and located at Qingkeping. It was built during the reign of emperor Kangxi. Its back is to the east and its front faces the west. This is a small temple enshrining the Mysterious Maiden of the Nine Heavens( 九天玄女 Jiutian Xuannu ).
Mountain Guardian Temple
It originally called Upper Temple and located among Jade Maiden Peak, Lotus Peak and Falling Swallow peak. It looks grand and enshrines the Great Emperor of the Western Marchmount. To the west is Medical King Cave enshrining the Medical King.
Jade Maiden Shrine
It is on the middle peak of Mt. Hua and stands on a natural stone tortoise. The Jade maiden was said to be Nong Yu --daughter of Duke Mu of the Qin (221B.C-207B.C).
Green Cloud Temple
It also called Holy Mother Temple. It enshrines statues of three holy mothers. There is a large stone cut into three parts outside. It is the well-known "Ax Cutting Stone" for it looks as if it is being cut by an ax. Beside the stone, there is a huge ax. According to legend, it was used by Chen Xiang to save his mother.
Mt. Hua has many places of historic interest and scenic beauty, as well as many fantastic and legendary stories. Its fascination will last forever.
Address: Huayin County, Shanxi province
Touring route: arrive Xian first, and then take train or bus to Huashan.