Cloudy Mountain Temple on Mt. Yuelu (Changsha, Wunan)
As the second highest peak on Mt. Yuelu, Changsha city, Cloudy Mountain, also known as Linlu mountain, boasts another title: “Blissful Realm of Pervasive Perfection” ( 洞真福地 Dongzhen Fudi ), highlighting its status as one of The Seventy-Two Blissful Realms. On the top stands Cloudy Mountain Temple, which was constructed in the 14th Chenghua year in the Ming dynasty by King Jijian, governor of Changsha in that period. During emperor Jiaqin’s ruling years, repair work sponsored by Changsha Governor Shun Fu was done by local Daoist Li Kejing who also had trees planted in the temple. During Ming emperor Longqing’s ruling years, Jin Shoufen, a Daoist, raised some money to get more reconstruction work done. Since then, the temple began to use the name “Cloudy Mountain Temple”.
In the end of the Ming dynasty, the temple was totally destroyed in the war. It saw its next reconstruction during emperor Qianlong’s rule in the Qing dynasty, when five more halls were built. Among them was the Hall of the Three Pristine Ones, the biggest building in the temple, which boasted its metal tiles and stone pillars.
Since then, warfare destroyed the temple in the 2nd Xianfeng year of the Qing dynasty and again in 1944, and reconstructions were followed in the 2nd Tongzhi year of the Qing dynasty and in 1957. In 1965, the Wanxiang Chamber was built. Today, the temple consists of the Hall of the Three Pristine Ones ( 三清殿 Sanqing Dian ), the Patriarchs' Hall ( 祖師殿 Zushi Dian ) , the Hall of the Five Sacred Mountains ( 五岳殿 Wuyue Dian ), Wanxiang Chamber ( 望湘樓 Wangxiang Lou ), and the Hall of the Heavenly Consort ( 天妃殿 Tianfei Dian ), etc. In front of the temple stands a large stone called Mountain Worship Stone. It is said that from here, worshipers’ eyesight can go as far as the Southern Sacred Mountain. From the branches of a tree outside the temple hang a bronze bell. According to the inscriptions on the bell, they were made in the 4th Wanli year of the Ming dynasty. After so many years, it still rings beautifully, reminding Daoists in the temple of their daily schedules. In some specific days, the bell sounds like reciting “return” in Chinese. For this reason, it is also known as the Bell of Return. On sunny days, the Wanxiang Building in the temple provides visitors a perfect view overlooking the Xiang river, the bustling boats upward to North. Further behind stands Changsha, a mixture of an ancient city and a modern metropolis.