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Mount Emei, or Emeishan Mountain, is one of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains of China and regarded as the ashram for Samantabhadra Bodhisattva. At 3099 meters, Mount Emei is more than 1000 meters higher than the other three Buddhist sacred mountains.
Mount Emei has been inscribed as a World Heritage site for its enchanting scenic beauty, and the great spiritual and cultural importance because of its role in the introduction of Buddhism into China. It is believed that the first Buddhist temple in China was built on the summit of Mount Emei in the 1st century CE. There are 30 Buddhist temples in Emei Mountain, and some of them are large and very old in traditional style and built on hillsides, including Baoguo Temple, Fuhu Temple, Qingyin Pavilion, Wannian Temple, Hongchunping, Xianfeng Temple, Xixiangchi, Huazang Temple. Among these temples, there are 8 temples with greatest importance. Let's take a view of these significant temples and start a cultural discovery.
Altitude: 3,077 meters History: over 700 years Admission: Free
Opening Time: 07:00 ~17:50 (Nov. ~ Feb.) / 06:00~18:30 (Mar. ~ Dec.)
Huazang Temple was originally built in 1377 during the Ming Dynasty. It is mainly composed of Maitreya Hall, Daxiong Hall and Bodhisattva Samantabhadra Hall. With an altitude of 3,077 meters, it is the highest Chinese Buddhist Temple. Out of Huazang Temple, Buddhists never miss the Ten-faced Puxian Stupa which stands 48 meters tall, weighs 660 tons and is surrounded by urns containing the ashes of Buddhists. This stupa is the highest golden Buddha in the world.
Golden Summit, called Jinding in Chinese, is the main peak of Mount Emei at an elevation of 3079 meters. Besides the Ten-faced Puxian Stupa and Huazang Temple, Jinding is known as the “Four Wonders” – the sunrise, the sea of clouds, the Buddhist Halo and the divine light. For a Buddhism Pilgrimage visit, you'd better spend one night on Golden Summit, trying to catch the best time to see the Four Wonders and have a spiritual talk with Bodhisattva Samantabhadra.
Warm Tips: 1) The best time to watch sunrise is 07:30-08:00 in winter and 06:00-06:30 in summer; the best time to enjoy sea of clouds is 09:00-10:00 and 15:00-17:30; to see the Buddhist Halo is 09:00-10:00, 15:00-16:00. 2) If you want to get to Golden Summit quickly, you can take an Eco-bus from the tourist center to Leidongping, then walk to Jieyin Hall and take a cable car to Golden Summit.
Altitude: 1,020 meters History: over 1,600 years Admission: CNY 10/person
Opening Time: 07:00 ~17:50 (1st May ~ 7th Oct.) / 06:00~18:30 (8th Oct. ~ 30th April)
Wannian Temple is the largest temple of Mount Emei at a height of 1020 meters, about 15 kilometers from Baoguo Temple. It was first built in Eastern Jin Dynasty (397~401). Wannian Temple is featured for worshiping the bronze statue of Samantabhadra. It has many Buddhist halls, including Maitreya Hall, Hall of Avalokitesvara Buddhisatva, Samantabhra Hall, Bell Tower, Drum Tower, Xingyuan Hall, etc. In Samantabhra Hall, there is the bronze statue of Samantabhra Bodhisattava. In Xingyuan Hall, there are the three treasures of Wannian Temple – tooth relic of the Buddha, Palm-leaf manuscript and the royal seal with 4 kilograms.
There are various vegetarian restaurants in different temple of Mount Emei, vegetable dishes in Wannian Temple are the most famous one. Here you can taste fresh and delicious dishes.
Warm Tip: If you want to have a quick transfer to Wannian Temple, you can take an Eco-bus from Tourist Center (near Baoguo Temple) to Wanniansi Station and then take a cable car to Wanian Temple.
Altitude: 533 meters History: about 400 years Admission: CNY 10/person
Opening Time: 07:00 ~17:50 (1st May ~ 7th Oct.) / 06:00~18:30 (8th Oct. ~ 30th April)
Baoguo Temple is the first temple of Mount Emei during your travel. It is located at the piedmont of Mount Emei at an altitude of 551 meters. First built in Ming Dynasty (1368 ~ 1644), Baoguo Temple has four major halls at present, including Maitreya Hall, Mahavira Hall, Seven Buddha Hall, Samantabhadra Hall. A Ming-dynasty porcelain Buddha and 14-floor Copper Tower decorated with more than 4700 images of Buddha in Depository of Scriptures.
As the portal of the whole mountain, it's the center of various Buddhist activities, and the Emei Buddhist Association is also here. If you travel on Buddhist “big days”, like the birthday, enlightenment day and renunciation day of Buddha, you are able to join in many religious activities.
Warm Tip: Baoguo Temple is always the first sight of Mount Eemi, and you take an Eco-bus to middle or upper mountain from the Tourist Center near Baoguo Temple.
Altitude: 710 meters History: over 1000 years Admission: Free Opening Time: 9:00-17:00
Qingyin Pavilion, at an altitude of 710 meters, is located in the core area of Mount Emei, 30 minutes' walk from Wuxiangang Parking lot. It was first called Woyun Temple, later the master Guangji in Ming Dynasty renamed and gave “Qingyin” to this pavilion. The temple is not big, however, it's very beautiful, and it's a classic garden architecture of Buddhist temple in China. There is only one hall to worship Three Saints of Hua-yen, Shakyamuni Buddha in the middle, Manjusri Bodhisattva in the left and Samantabhadra Bodhisattava in the right. Qingyin Pavilion connects Hongchunping, Xianfeng Temple in its left hand and Bailong Cave, Wannian Temple in its right hand, making it a must-visit place during your pilgrimage travel.
Altitude: 630 meters History: over 1,000 years Admission: Free Opening Time: 9:00-17:00
Xixiang Chi, literally “Elephants' Washing Pool”, also known as Tianhua Chanyuan, is one of the most important Buddhist temples on Mount Emei. The name of the temple comes from a legend which says the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra once bathed his steed, a white elephant, in a pool near the temple. “Night Moon over the Elephant Washing Pool” is one of the famous ten sceneries of Mount Emei. When the moon is shining brightly at night and is reflected in the water, it creates an illusion where the viewer feels like he/she is in the heaven. Besides the Buddhism legend, Buddhist can see some architectures including Maitreya Hall, Daxiong Hall, Hall of Avalokitesvara Buddhisatva and porcelaneous Avalokitesvara Buddhisatva in Depository of Scriptures.
Xixiang Chi is at a height of 2700 meters, about 13 km from Golden Summit. This is a high and cold area, and snow and rainfall are normally heavy, please take care when you hike up from Xixiang Chi to top.
Altitude: 630 meters History: over 1,000 years Admission: CNY 10/person Opening Time: 9:00-17:00
Fuhu Temple (or Crounching Tiger Temple) was originally built in Tang Dynasty (618~907) and it took about 20 years to construct this temple. It is the largest nunnery in Mount Emei. In the first pavilion is worshipped with a golden statue of Maitreya. The only Arhat Hall of Mount Emei is located in Fuhu Temple. It houses a magnificent four-face Buddha statue of the Arya Avalokiteshvara (Goddess of Mercy), surrounded by 500 Buddhist Arhats. All Arhats are sculpted according to different traditional Chinese Buddhist figures. The 7-meter-high Huayan Pagoda is a must-see of Fuhu Temple as well. This copper pagoda is stamped with over 4,700 small Buddhist figures and inscribed with a complete version of the Avatamsaka Sutra.
Altitude: 1,725 meters History: over 700 years Admission: Free Opening Time: 9:00-17:00
Xianfeng Temple, once called Ciyan Temple, was firstly built in 1281 and sits in front of Huayan Hill. It is backed by rugged cliffs and surrounded by fantastic landscape. In fact, Mount Emei was originally a Taoist Mountain but developed to a Buddhsit Mountain with the prosperity of Buddhism. In Xianfeng Temple, you can still explore some Taoist relics. The first palace of Xianfeng Temple is God of Wealth Temple which once housed the statue of the god who is in charge of wealth in Taoism. Now Maitreya Buddha was worshiped there. Mysterious Jiulao Cave - a Taoist cave is just close to Xianfeng Temple. Many pilgrims visit to pray and burn incense.
Xianfeng Temple offers basic accommodation to travelers. If you stay overnight in Xianfeng Temple, you can travel to Huayan Hill for the beautiful sunrise in the next morning.
Altitude: 1,120 meters History: over 1,000 years Admission: Free Opening Time: 9:00-17:00
Hongchunping Temple gained the name from three 1,200-years-old Ailanthus altissima (Hongchun in Chinese) trees. It was originally built in Song Dynasty (960–1279) and extended in late Ming Dynasty (1368–1644). The whole temple occupies an area of 5,000 square meters and the retained buildings contain Front Gate, Hall of Four Heavenly Kings, Hall of God of Mercy, Mahavira Hall, Meditation Hall and monks' residence. Mahavira Hall enshrines a statue of Samntabhardra with 18 Arhats sitting before both sides of the gable walls. An ancient litterateur once ranked 10 beautiful scenes of Emei Mountain, Morning Rain in Hongchunping is one of them. Hidden in the luxurious forest and surrounded by beautiful nature, it becomes a great Summer Resort.
To know more Emei Mountain info, please read Mount Emei Travel Guide >>
Route A: Dafo Temple – Baoguo Temple – Fuhu Temple – Leiyin Temple – Chunyang Palace – Shengshui Temple – Zhongfeng Temple – Guangfu Temple – Qingyin Pavilion – Hongchunping – Xianfeng Temple – Yuxian Temple – Xixiangchi – Leidongping – Jieyin Hall – Taiziping – Golden Summit Huazang Temple;
Route B: Dafo Temple – Baoguo Temple – Fuhu Temple – Leiyin Temple – Chunyang Palace – Shengshui Temple – Zhongfeng Temple – Guangfu Temple – Qingyin Pavilion – Wannian Temple – Xixin Temple – Chu Hall – Huayanding – Xixiangchi – Leidongping – Jieyin Hall – Taiziping – Golden Summit Huazang Temple;
Route C: Dafo Temple – Baoguo Temple & sightseeing bus to Qingyin Pavilion – Bailong Cave – Wannian Temple – Xixin Temple – Chu Hall – Huayanding – Xixiangchi – Leidongping – Jieyin Hall – Taiziping – Golden Summit Huazang Temple;
Route D: Dafo Temple – sightseeing bus to Wannian Temple – sightseeing bus to Leidongping – Jieyin Hall – cableway to Golden Summit Huazang Temple.
Please note: 1) If you are in good physical condition, you can spend 3 days taking either Route A or Route B hiking all the way to Golden Summit of Mount Emei. 2) For other travelers, you'd better choose Route C or Route D for 2 days to finish your pilgrimage visit.
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