Took a train to Taian from Beijing, stayed in an inn for one night, and started my Mount Tai trip the next morning.
Previously called “Daishan Mountain”, Mount Tai is also known as “the Great Peak”, “the Great Mountain” and “the Eastern Mountain”. It is in the central part of Shandong Province. Located in the middle part of Shandong province spanning two cities (Tai’an city and Jinan city) with total area of 426 square kilometers, Mount Tai was called Daizong (means the principal mountain of China) in ancient time and then was renamed as Mount Tai in Spring and Autumn Dynasty went by the name of Dongyue (the Sacred Mountain of East China) that ranks No.1 among the five most important mountains in China. In 1987, Mount Tai was listed as Cultural and Natural World Heritage site and honored “World Geopark” in 2006. In China, Mount Tai is among the first group of “National Parks of China”, the state 5A-class tourist attraction, the top 10 best National Civilized Spot in China. Its main peak Jade Emperor Peak is 1,545 meters above sea level. Mount Tai is ranked as the No. 1 of all mountains in China. Comprised of natural and humanistic landscapes, the scenic area of Mount Tai is within the radius from the main peak. The scenery of Taishan Mountain is best known for its magnificence. Layers and layers of grand mountains surrounded by green pines and giant rocks, as well as the ever-changing clouds and mists make Taishan Mountain majestic, bright, beautiful, quiet and mysterious.
Mount Tai is China’s only famous mountain that used to be the place for the emperor to hold a grand ceremony to worship the heaven and to pray for peace and prosperity. Therefore, the mountain was deified. Throngs of Buddhist and Taoist practitioners, scholars and celebrities all came to Mount Tai, leaving the place lots of historical sites and humanistic landscapes. The main cultural sites spread from Sheshou Mountain’s memorial site to Haoli Mountain and all the way to Jade Emperor Peak, creating the three dimensions of “Hell”, “World” and “Heaven”. Daimiao Temple is the main building on the medial axis of Taicheng City at the foot of Mount Tai. The temple connects Tongtian Street in the front and the winding path at the back, bringing the mountain and the city together. Ascending the mountain from this spot is a good choice, because it symbolizes going from “this world” to the “divine heaven”.
The natural scenery of Mount Tai is grand and imposing. The mountain is not only a snapshot of the spiritual culture of the Chinese nation, but more of a precious world heritage.
Mount Tai is one of five sacred Taoist mountains in China.
Cultural relics on Mount Tai include memorial objects, ancient architectural complexes, stone sculptures and archaeological sites of outstanding importance. There are 22 temples, 97 ruins, 819 stone tablets, and 1,018 cliffside and stone inscriptions.
What to See:
Mount Tai was also an important centre of religious activity for both Buddhism and Taoism. In 351 B.C. an eminent monk named Lang was the first to come to the mountain, and he set up the Lang and Divine Rock temples. During the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420-589 A.D.), Jade Spring Temple, God's Treasure Temple and Pervading Light Temple were built. Prime Minister Li Jiefu of the Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.) regarded the Divine Rock Temple as first among China's four temple wonders.
Places for Taoist activities included the Temple to the Heavenly Queen Mother, Palace of Goddess Doumu, Azure Cloud Temple, Rear Rock Basin Temple and Supreme Lord of Heaven Temple. The Temple to the Heavenly Queen Mother, built before the period of the Three Kingdoms (220-280 A.D.), is the earliest while the Azure Cloud Temple is the most influential, its influence extending over more than half of China. During the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Azure Cloud Temple received several hundred thousand worshippers annually.
Stone inscription along the way