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Mt Qingcheng

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Overview
Located to the southwest of Dujiangyan, Sichuan Province, Mount Qingcheng can claim to have some strong roots for China's Taoism (Daoism). It is a famous historical mountain and one of the nation's major scenic areas.

The mountain faces the Chengdu Plain, at the back sporting the Minjiang River, and stretches over an area of 200 square kilometers (20,000 hectares). It has 36 peaks, 8 large caves and 72 small caves. Its main peak, Laoxiao Peak, rises up to 1,260 meters. Many temples can be found in the area.

History & Background
Mount Qingcheng is one of the birthplaces of Daoism. During the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220), Celestial Master Zhang Daoling founded Daoism on Singing Crane Mountain in today’s Sichuan Province and preached his religion mainly on the neighboring Mount Qingcheng. Daoism developed vigorously for a thousand years after the Han Dynasty. Mount Qingcheng’s palaces and temples have been kept basically intact since being rebuilt during the Qing Dynasty. The buildings mainly include Jianfu Palace (建福宫, Establishing Happiness Palace), the Temple of Eternal Dao, the Hall of Patriarchs, the Palace of High Purity, and the Pavilion of the Supreme Master.

Jianfu Palace lies below Mount Qingcheng’s Zhangren Peak (丈人峰, Elder’s Peak). It was first built in 730, the 18th year of the Kaiyuan reign period of the Tang Dynasty, and was originally called the Elder’s Temple (丈人祠). The names of both the peak and the temple came from the legend of Master Ningfeng, the Elder of the Five Sacred Mountains. Legend has it that Ningfeng, an official in charge of producing pottery during the Yellow Emperor’s reign, lived in seclusion on Mount Qingcheng’s Northern Rock after attaining Dao. Learning this, the Yellow Emperor went there to seek advice from Ningfeng and received the Book of the Risen Dragon (Longqiao Jing 龙跷经) from him. After reading it, the Yellow Emperor was able to travel to the remotest areas of the earth on a cloud or dragon. So he had a tower built and ceremoniously gave Ningfeng the title of Elder of the Five Sacred Mountains, allowing him to command the mountains.

Jianfu Palace was rebuilt in 1888, the 14th year of Guangxu’s reign of the Qing Dynasty, making it into the palace known today. The three Chinese characters for the palace name on the upper part of the door lintel were written in 1940 by Lin Sen, the president under the National Government. The palace now has three lines of temples. The temple at the front has a shrine for the worship of the Jin Dynasty’s Fan Changsheng, the Heavenly and Terrestrial Elder Master of the Four Seasons and Eight Solar Terms. In the main hall is worshiped Elder of the Five Sacred Mountains Perfect Sovereign Ningfeng and Du Guangting. The temple at the back is for worshiping the Supreme Master, the Imperial Sovereign Donghua, and Patriarch Wang Chongyang. Hanging on the pillars of the rear temple is a 394-word antithetical couplet poem, which is one of Mount Qingcheng’s cultural wonders.

Climbing the stairs away from Jianfu Palace, the visitor passes the Rain Pavilion, the Natural Pavilion, the Shelter of Happiness, and the Pavilion Leading to Victory, and eventually reaches the Natural Painting Archway. Situated on the ridge of Dragon Dwelling Peak (Longju Shan 龙居山), the archway is a ten-cornered Qing Dynasty pavilion with a double-eaved roof. Towering over the long stone steps, the magnificent archway occupies the gap between the two peaks, forming an outstanding view from halfway up the mountain. Ahead in the distance can be seen the Dragon Dwelling, Celestial Granary (Tiancang 天仓) and Celestial Primodium (Qianyuan 乾元) peaks covered with layers of luxuriant green plants. Close by can be seen egrets playing with water, with birds chirping on the mountain for long periods, as if it was all a natural painting.

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Walking up from the Natural Painting Archway, the visitor will reach the Temple of Eternal Dao (Changdao Guan 常道观) after passing Encountering Immortality Cliff (Yuxian Ya 遇仙崖). The cave behind the temple, in which Celestial Master Zhang Daoling used to live, is generally known as the Celestial Master’s Grotto. The temple’s main buildings include the Hall of the Three Pristine Ones, the Yellow Emperor Temple, and the Hall of the Three August Ones.

The Hall of the Three Pristine Ones (Sanqing Dian 三清殿) is the main hall of the Temple of Eternal Dao and was rebuilt in 1923. Here, there are shrines for the worship of the Three Pristine Ones, who are the supreme Daoist gods – the Primeval Lord of Heaven of the Jade Purity, the Heavenly Lord of Numinous Treasure of the High Purity, and the Heavenly Lord of Dao and Its Virtue of the Supreme Purity.

In 2000, UNESCO included Mount Qingcheng, together with the Dujiangyan Irrigation System, on its World Heritage List.

How to Get to Mount Qingcheng

Getting There
By Flight: Mount Qingcheng has no airport, and the closest airport to it is Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport. After arriving at the airport, travelers can take direct bus from the airport to Dujiangyan City (about 70km) and then transfer to public vehicles to Mount Qingcheng.

By Train: from Chengdu, travelers can take bullet train of ChengGuan Line to Mount Qingcheng. ChengGuan Line starts from Chengdu North Railway Station and ends at Mount Qingcheng, and it’s about 30 minutes to one hour ride. At present, this is the most convenient way to get there. After get off the train, take bus 101a can get to the Front Mountain, and travelers can take mini bus to get the Rear Mountain. The ticket for the train is tight in holidays and weekends, so book the ticket in advance.

By Bus: from Chengdu, tourists can also take direct bus from Chadianzi Bus Station to Mount Qingcheng. The departure time is from 8:00 to 10:00. If you can’t catch the direct bus, then you can take bus to Dujiangyan from Chadianzi Bus Station first, then after arriving Dujiangyan Bus Station, transfer bus 101 to get to the mountain.

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