Mt.Tai is also called Daizong and Daishan. It is the first of the Five Sacred Mountains, and is called the Eastern Marchmount. It is located in the middle of Shandong province and lies across Jinan, Changqing, Licheng and Taian. It is 400 square kilometers in circumference. It is the second grotto heaven among The Thirty-six Lesser Grotto Heavens ( 三十六洞天 Sanshiliu Dongtian ) in Daoism.
It is hard to know when Daoism came to Mt. Tai. The Biography of Hermits in the History of the Jin Dynasty recorded that Daoist priest Zhang Zhong retired to Mt.Tai, which was the earliest record of Daoism here. Daiyu Monastery, built from 386-534, is the earliest temple. Li Daoyuan's Comments on Water Scriptures recorded that Daiyu Monastery was divided into lower, middle and upper temples. It was rebuilt during years 618-907. The middle part was changed into Daiyu Temple; people called it Old Sovereign Hall. It is where offerings were made when the emperors sent priests to Mt. Tai. Since the Tang and Song dynasties, the Black Emperor Temple, Queen Mother Pond, Origin Ascension Temple ( 升元觀 Shengyuan Guan ) , Temple of Primordial Lady of the Emerald Cloud ( 碧霞元君洞 Bixia Yuanjun Dong ), Jade Emperor Temple, Perfection Assemble Temple ( 會真宮 Huizhen Ging ) were built in succession. During the Ming and Qing periods, Daoism flourished as usual. Nowadays, the main structures are Daiyu Temple, Queen Mother Pond and Temple of Primordial Lady of the Emerald Cloud.
The Daiyu Temple
It is called Dai Temple for short and is located in the northwest corner at Daian. It covers an area of 96,000 square meters. Worship to Heaven and Earth ( 封禪大典 Fengchan Dadian ) and offering sacrifices to Mt. Tai by emperors in the past dynasties have been held here. The whole temple is North-south axismetrically arranged, the north being higher than the South. It backs on to Mt. Tai and faces the plain. Mountain and temple forming an integrated whole, look imposing; red wall and yellow tiles look sublime. The bounding wall is 1.5 kilometers in length and 15 meters in height.
The Queen Mother Pond is located at the North of Daiyu Temple and the mouth of the Middle Brook. In antiquity, it was named Collected Jade Nunnery and was one old temple in on Mt. Tai. It enshrines the Queen Mother of the West.
Temple of Primordial Lady of the Emerald Cloud
It located between Daidingtian Street and Daguan Peak. There is Constellations Observing Platform in the West, connected to Immortal Bridge in the East, with Lion Peak in the South and the Jade Temple above. It was built in 1009 and called Perfection Declaration Shrine at first and Perfection Declaration Temple during 1115-1234 in the second, then changed into Efficacious Temple of Primordial Lady from 1488-1505 and was named Temple of Primordial Lady of the Emerald Cloud after reconstruction in 1770, the name that is still used.
Temple of the Primordial Lady of the Emerald Cloud is composed of a group of magnificent ancient architectural complexes in the mountain and covers an area of 3,900 square meters. It has twelve large buildings including a main hall and a fragrant pavilion. Bronze Statue of Primordial Lady of the Emerald Cloud is enshrined in the main hall. She wears phoenix coronal and a cloudy mantle, looks kind, peaceful and dignified. At the right and left sides are the Eastern and Western accompanying halls. The Eastern accompanying hall enshrines Eyesight Auntie ( 眼光娘娘 Yanguang Niangniang ) and the Western accompany hall enshrines Auntie Who Delivers Babies ( 送子娘娘 Songzi Niangniang ). The Fragrant Pavilion stands between them and enshrines Primordial Lady of the Emerald Cloud. In imperial China, the main hall opened at unusual occasions. Only emperors and ministers were able to worship the Primordial Lady, common people worshiped her in Fragrant Pavilion.
In 1983, the State Council authorized the Temple of Primordial Lady of the Emerald Cloud as one of the important Daoist temples. In 1985, this one thousand year old temple once again returned to the Daoist organization and re-opened for religious activities.
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization listed Mt. Tai in the "World Cultural Heritage".
Address: Taian, Shandong, P.R.C.
Route: take train to Taian, the root of the Mt.Tai
Telephone: 86-538-82226947 86-13805385389