Located 68 kilometers northwest of the city of Chengdu and 16 kilometers southwest of the city of Dujiangyan in Sichuan Province, Mt. Qingchen has been an important Taoist site for centuries and is believed to be one of the places where Taoism was first born. The mountain, which is surrounded by numerous peaks and is shaped like a city, is dubbed 'the most peaceful and secluded mountain under heaven' and combines perfectly with its evergreen scenery.
Mount Qingcheng, dominating the Chengdu plains to the south of the Dujiangyan Irrigation System, is a mountain famous in Chinese history as the place where in 142 CE the philosopher Zhang Ling founded the doctrine of Chinese Taoism. Most of the essential elements of Taoism culture are embodied in the teachings of Taoism that emanated from the temples that were subsequently built on the mountain during the Jin and Tang dynasties. The mountain resumed its role as the intellectual and spiritual centre of Taoism in the 17th century. The eleven important Taoist temples on the mountain reflect the traditional architecture of western Sichuan and include the Erwang Temple, the Fulong Temple, the Changdao Temple built over the place where Zhang Ling preached his doctrines, and the Jianfu Palace (formerly the Zhangren Temple).
Divided into two main sections, Front Mountain and Back Mountain, Mt. Qingcheng is an ideal destination for those who are looking for combining historical sightseeing with nature related activities.
It was listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2000 and was the inspiration site for the set of the famous animated movie Kung Fu Panda 2 by Dreamworks Studios.
Although set in fascinating natural scenery, Front Mountain is mostly known for its historical and religious value. Once a pilgrim destination, it holds several Taoist and Buddhist temple sites and other historical relics and covers an area of 15 square kilometers. Some of the most important attractions include Tiansi Cave, Jianfugong Temple, Shangqinggong Temple, Yuqinggong Temple, Yuanminggong Temple, Zushi Temple, Laojunge Temple and Chaoyang Cave. Tiansi Cave is supposed to be the place where Zhang Daoling, a famous Taoist teacher in Eastern Han Dynasty, came to preach.
The altar, which was built during Tang Dynasty, houses statues of three legendary kings named Xuanyuan, Fuxi and Shennong and several ancient wooden and stone tablets. A stone statue of Zhang Daoling, dating back to Sui Dynasty, also stands in the cave’s site. A small singed path leading to the west will get you right at the entrance of the cave. Initially built in 730, during Tang Dynasty, Jianfugong Temple complex consists of two halls, three courtyards, and nearby Yuanyun Pavilion.
Back Mountain is situated 15 kilometers away from Front Mountain and is connected to it by a bus line. With much less historical interest, it is a good destination for hiking and meeting up with nature. Woods, streams, tea plantations and Five Dragons Gorge offer some peaceful moments and some fascinating views.
A visit to Back Mountain is the best way to relax in a calming natural environment after sightseeing at Front Mountain.
By visiting Mt. Qingcheng, visitors will be able to savor the pleasure of the perfect combination of the unique landform, moderate climate, natural beauty and cultural relics and historic sites of Taoism in this area, which will certainly make a unforgettable memory in your life.
Mt. Qingcheng of Sichuan
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