Heavenly Capital Mountain Daoist Temple (Haiyuan County, Ningxia)

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Located 7.5 km west of Xi’an Town, Haiyuan County, Ningxia Autonomous Region, the Heavenly Capital Mountain had many caves excavated for Buddhism and Daoism in the Northern Wei and Tang periods. In the Northern Song, people had built temples there. According to Vol. 510 of the Supplementary Long Compilation of the Comprehensive Mirror for Aid in Government ( 《續資治通監長編》Xu Zizhitongjian Changbian ), on the Date of Bingwu, the 5th lunar month, the 2nd year of the Yuanfu Era of Zhe Emperor of Song, Zhangci, the leader of the local ethnic people, supplicated to build the Heavenly Capital Mountain Temple. The emperor bestowed on the god of the Temple the title Marquis of Acclimation ( 順應侯Shunyiong Hou ) and gave the temple a stele inscribed Acclimation. The temple fell into decadence since the Yuan and was rebuilt in the 26th year of the Wanli Era of the Ming. Destroyed in wars during the Tongzhi Era (1862-1874)of the Qing, it was recovered through six years’ work lasting through the year Guiwei(1883)to the year Wuzi(1888)in the Guangxu Era. Ruined again in an earthquake in the 9th year of Republican China (1920), it was rebuilt again from 1938 to 1944. In the nationwide iron-refining movement in 1958, the temple was completely pulled down for the copper produced in the mountain. In 1980, Daoist priest Zhang Liqiong went to the mountain and rebuilt the temple named Heavenly Capital Mountain Daoist Temple.

Three platforms formed naturally in tiers in the Heavenly Capital Mountain. The Daoist Temple is correspondingly constructed in three courtyards. The upper courtyard, almost at the top of the mountain, is small and exquisite with the Tower of The Supreme Sovereign as the loftiest building on a cliff. In the stone wall below excavated side by side are three caves. The upper is the Cave of Jade Emperor excavated in the 8th year of the Kangxi Era of the Qing. Below is the Cave of Guanyin, rebuilt in 1980. Still lower is the Cave of the Patriarch, a square cave of 9 meters in length, 5 meters in width and height, which is the biggest cave in the mountain. Down along the stone peak lie the Bell Tower and the Hall of the Thunder Patriarch. The second courtyard consists of three stone caves. The left is the Palace of Offspring, the right the Shrine of the Loyal and the Righteous, the middle the Cave of the Buddha. To their right is the Hall of Great Completion. Beside the cliff is a 2-sotried pavilion whose upper floor is the Pavilion of the Kui Star and the lower the Hall of Wenchang. The third courtyard is being built. Below the third courtyard are the Pavilion for the King of Law ( 法王閣Pavilion fot the King of Law ), the Hall of the Numinous Officer, and the Hall of the King of Medicine. Down the mountain there are some small temples for the locust, dragon and mountain god, etc.