Mt. Xiyuan Daoist Temple (Huangzhong, Qinghai)

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Located 15 kilometers to the southwest of Huangzhong city, about 3265 meters above sea level is Mt. Xiyuan, which, in the middle of peaks rising one upon another, commands a spectacular natural landscape.


Mt. Xiyuan is ranked sixty-sixth among The Seventy-Two Blissful Realms ( 七十二福地 Qishier Fudi ). According to some historical records, in the 17th Wanli year of the Ming dynasty, Shu and Wan, two Daoists, came to this place on a pilgrimage tour, and decided to settle down. They lived in the Green Willow Cave, exercising cultivation and refinement for dozens of years. Finally, they obtained the secrets of immortality from a carp and became immortals themselves. After their ascension to heaven, the place was visited daily by local people who, in later periods, had eight halls and six pavilions constructed just by the cliff.


Another well-known Daoist in Mt. Xiyuan was Yuan Shoudao, a twentieth-generation disciple of The Dragon Gate Sect ( 龍門派 Longmen Pai ), who was called Mingfa by his Daoist name, or Sanfeng by his title. Master Yuan was born in Xining in 1858, and passed away in 1953 at the age of 103. In local tales, he is described as an immortal who was often seen traveling on the back of a deer. He was also good at Daoist arts, martial arts, painting, and practicing calligraphy. Even today, stories about his magic skills are still heard now and then.


During the Cultural Revolution, the temple was totally destroyed, and the Daoists driven away from the mountain. It was not until the 1980's that they were permitted to go back to the temple. Since then, sponsored by local people, eleven halls as well as other facilities such as a dining house and cultivation house were reconstructed. In parallel with the new buildings, pines and willows were planted in a bid to recover its tranquility. Now the temple is one of the most popular destinations for tourism and pilgrimage in the summer.