Mt. Heng (Northern Shanxi Province and Northwest Hebei province)
Mt. Heng is also called Chang Mountain and is located in Northern Shanxi Province and Northwest Hebei province. It is the Northern Marchmount of the Five Sacred Mountains. The Xuanyu Peak, the highest peak, is 2017 meters above sea level. In Daoism, Mt. Heng is the fifth grotto heaven among The Thirty-six Lesser Grotto Heavens. It is called the General Mysterious Grotto Heaven.
It is hard to give a detailed introduction to Mt.Heng, as there aren't many materials concerning its history. Tradition has it that Mao Yin stayed on Mt. Heng for cultivation in the Han Dynasty. Zhang Guo (Old Master Zhang Guo, one of the eight immortals), an eminent Daoist priest of the Tang Dynasty, retired here for some time. There is Guolao Range. In Song and Yuan times, Du Zhimiao, Sun Daowei, Zhao Daoxiang and Peng Zhengzhong came to Mt. Heng. Daoism declined after the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Sacrifice to the Northern Marchmount began from the Han dynasty to the Ming dynasty and was held in Quyang county, Hebei province. The large Temple of the Northern Marchmount still remains in Quyang. Since the Qing Dynasty, sacrifice to the Northern Marchmount was held in Hunyuan county, Shanxi province where the Temple of Mt. Heng was constructed.
The Northern Temple
The earliest temple on Mt. Heng was the Northern Temple, built in 435. It was destroyed several times throughout history, and changed into a bedroom palace. It enshrines the Great Emperor of the Northern Marchmount.
Out of the bedroom palace, there is White Cloud Hall (i.e., Official Receiving Pavilion) where officials stopped for food and rest. To the East side is Mysterious Well Pavilion. West of Mysterious Well Pavilion is Ten Kings Hall, Horse God Hall and decorated archway. The Purple Tenuity Pavilion is in the North, and the Three Maos Hole is above the Purple Tenuity Pavilion. It is said that this is the site where the Three Mao Perfect Sovereign Brothers ( 三茅真君 Sanmao Zhenjun ) attained the Dao.
The Chunyang Temple
The Chunyang Temple is above the Horse God Hall and enshrines Immortal Master Chunyang. Going upward, there is Nine Heavens Temple enshrining the statue of Mysterious Maiden of the Nine Heavens. There is Cloud Reaching Pavilion and Big Dipper Mother Pavilion in the north, Mountain God Temple and Sore God Temple in the south, and Supreme Oneness Temple in the East.
The Hengzong Temple
The main temple on Mt.Heng is the Hengzong Temple, located on a cliff of Hengzong Peak. Hengzong Peak is also called True Origin Temple, Original Spirit Temple while common people refer to it as Pilgrim Temple. It was built in 1501 to enshrine the golden statue of Great Emperor of the Northern Mountain. Many inscribed boards are collected in it. There is an iron Cloud Board made in the Yuan (1271-1368) in its front and several stone tablets outside, which are very valuable for the study of Daoism's history on the Northern Marchmount.
Immortal Gathering Cliff
The cliff northwest of Hengzong Temple is called Immortal Gathering Cliff. At its waist, there is a platform in a hollow; people built an Immortal Gathering Mansion that is also called Immortals Collection Mansion. There are lifelike immortals of eight caverns. The Jade Emperor Pavilion and Imperial Tablets Pavilion were built besides the Immortal Hall. Two sides of the cliff are full of stone inscriptions eulogizing the beauty of Mt.Heng by celebrities in history. Immortal Gathering Mansion is the highest building on Mt.Heng. Standing here, with the clouds floating under your feet and the wind in the pine trees resounding above your head, the mountain peaks occasionally appearing and disappearing in the clouds, one will be reluctant to leave.
Address: Hunyuan County, Shanxi Province, P.R.C
Touring Route: take train to Datong, Shanxi, and then take bus to the Mt.Heng