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Surrounding Taihuai Town, Mount Wutai (Wutaishan) is standing in the Wutai County of Xinzhou City and it is said to be the dwelling place of Manjusri Bodhisattva and known as one of the four Chinese Buddhist Mountains. There were 360 temples built at Wutaishan scenic area in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), now only 47 of them exist. And the famous temples include the Xiantong Temple, Tayuan Temple, Bodhisattva Peak, Shuxiang temple, etc. Besides, here have two earliest Chinese extant wooden architectures: Nanchan temple and Foguang temple.
Apart from visiting various temples, you can have a hike around Mount Wutai, join some featured activities to meet the locals, and more things to do in Mount Wutai awaiting you.
Encounter a Fox during the "Da Chaotai" Hike
Buddhist Believers Kowtowing to the Peak
Wutai Mountain is not only a Buddhist holy land but also a well-forested national park with lush trees and alpine meadow. The best hiking season is from May to October every year. The temperature on Mount Wutai is moderate and the scenery is charming. Numerous Buddhist believers and hikers will come here to for their pilgrimage hike.
Wutai can be literally translated as "five terraced peaks". Hiking through all the five peaks to worship Manjusri Bodhisattvas is a named “Da Chaotai”, the great kora, while ascending atop to the Luodai Peak after 1080 steps is the short kora, “Xiao Chaotai”. The later one takes less time, and you can see many Buddhist believers kowtow and worship up the mountain along the way. However, it usually takes about 3 days to do the “Dachaotai”. Enjoying the beautiful natural scenery and encountering wildlife along the way, you do not need to worry about the steep road condition and the main crossing routes are mountain path, which is suitable for hiking enthusiasts.
• Popular Mt. Wutai Tour: ✔ 3 Days Mount Wutai Trekking Tour
Theater of "Encore Mount Wutai"
Encore Mount Wutai
• Ticket: CNY 238 (CNY 368 - 588 for VIP)
• Opening Hours: 14:00-15:30; 20:00-21:30
• Address: Wutai Mountain Wind Chime palace of Encore Mount Wutai, 100 meters east of the tourist center of Jingangku Township, Wutai Mountain scenic spot, Shanxi Province 山西五台山风景名胜区金岗库乡南线游客中心东100米又见五台山风铃宫
The famous Buddhist Show, Encore Mount Wutai has attracted a large number of Buddhists who come to visit Mount Wutai. The show is based on four Buddhist scriptures, including Diamond Sutra and 3 other famous sutras. The four Buddhist scriptures are presided over by master Jingshang of Bishan temple. In the grand hall, the master monk will hold a Buddhist ceremony bring the statue of Manjusri and give away sutra pamphlets, chanting the great compassion mantra with all the people, to bless the Buddhist believers. The performance combines several stories of people in ordinary life: Cao Huifen, who sells pancakes, a young man looking for his mother, and a middle-aged man who has never unloaded his burden. From their worries, doubts, and stories, the audience will be inspired to think about how to relate Buddhist wisdom with life.
• Popular Mt. Wutai Tour: ✔ 5 Days Datong & Wutaishan Discovery Tour
Monks Conducting a Buddhist Rite
Monks Chanting Scriptures
Mount Wutai is believed to be the ashram of Manjusri Bodhisattva. It is full of burning incense and lighting candles all year round. Every August, a grand tourism festival is held here, "Wutai Mountain Buddhist Culture Festival"(五台山佛教文化节). At that time, tourists and monks from all over the world gather to hold grand Buddhist activities. During this period, large-scale Buddhist activities and folk literary and artistic activities were held. In addition to the Buddhist Cultural Festival, a large number of Buddhists will also be attracted to offer incense and worship every Buddhist memorial day.
|Buddha Nirvana day||The 15th Day of the 2nd Lunar Month|
|The birthday of Guan Shiyin Bodhisattva||The 19th Day of the 2nd Lunar Month|
|The birthday of Puxian Bodhisattva||The 21st Day of the 2nd Lunar Month|
|The birthday of JunTi Bodhisattva||The 16th Day of the 3rd Lunar Month|
|The birthday of Manjusri Bodhisattva||The 4th Day of the 4th Lunar Month|
|The birthday of Sakyamuni Buddha||The 13th Day of the 5th Lunar Month|
|The birthday of Bodhisattva Weituo||The 3rd Day of the 6th Lunar Month|
|Guan Shiyin Bodhisattva Nirvana day||The 19th Day of the 6th Lunar Month|
|Dizang Bodhisattva Nirvana day||The 30th Day of the 7th Lunar Month|
|The birthday of Amitabha Buddha||The 17th Day of the 11th Lunar Month|
|The enlighten day of Buddha||The 8th Day of the 12th Lunar Month|
• Popular Mt. Wutai Tour: ✔ 6 Days Essence of Shanxi Tour
Vibrant Costume of Tiaobuza Dancers
Tiaobuza used to be an activity of Tibetan Buddhist temples in Mongolian areas. The fifth day of the sixth lunar month is the day. Before the event, the lamas and monks in the temple began to recite Dharma sutras, dance Vajra, and "suppress ghosts" at Bodhisattva peak. On the 15th, more than a hundred distinguished lamas walked out of the top of Bodhisattva Maitreya statue in the front. Then one Lama took a sedan chair and the two lamas rode horses. The rest of the monks played the temple music and went to Luoku temple to "dance for gods"; On the 16th, they "killed ghosts" at the top of Bodhisattva. The first and second lamas wore the clothes given by the emperor, and the outer monks wore masks for 28 nights. They drew circles on the spot and walked according to the circle, supplemented by body gestures. Through this activity, they believe that they can drive away evil spirits. In the meantime, monks should read the exorcism Sutra. Through this kind of activity, they want to achieve the purpose of carrying forward Buddhism.
• Popular Mt. Wutai Tour: ✔ 3 Days Mount Wutai Buddhism Tour from Taiyuan
Tayuan Temple in Winter
Mount Wutai is the only Buddhist site in China where Mahayana Buddhism and Hinayana Buddhism coexist. As of 2017, there were 47 monasteries, 39 temples inside the five peaks, and 8 temples outside Wutai Mountain, of which many temples were ordered to be built and visited by emperors. Famous ones are Xiantong Temple, Tayuan temple, Bodhisattvas peak, Nanshan Temple, Dailuo peak, Guangji temple, Wanfo Pavilion, etc.
Foguang Temple: Among them, the Buddhist relics in Foguang temple are very precious, so it is called "Asian Buddha light". The main hall of the temple, namely the East Hall, was built in the 11th year of the Tang Dynasty (AD 857); Xiantong Temple & Tayuan Temple: Xiantong temple is the largest of many temples in Wutai Mountain and is the leader of Qingmiao Buddhist temple in Wutai Mountain. In the Ming Dynasty, the pagoda was rebuilt and became a single temple; Because there was a big white pagoda in the courtyard, it was named Tayuan temple. Towering into the sky, the white pagoda is the main symbol of the temple. People also take it as a symbol of Mount Wutai;Bodhisattva Peak: It is the largest yellow temple which was visited by Emperor Kangxi and Qianlong for several times and they even stayed at the Bodhisattva summit for days, which made the temple very famous; Shuxiang Temple: All the statues in Shuxiang temple are relics of the Ming Dynasty. The existing steles of Emperor Kangxi and Emperor Qianlong are connected in the temple. The temple is one of the top ten Chinese Buddhist temples.
• Popular Mt. Wutai Tour: ✔ 3 Days Mount Wutai Buddhism Tour from Taiyuan
Meat-like Vegetarian Dish
Stewed Mushrooms of Wutai
To experience the Buddhist culture, you shall not miss the Buddhist food here, which is mainly vegetarian Chinese food with specialties of Mt Wutai. It is usually made of mushrooms, ferns, vegetables, edible wild herbs, Chinese medicine herbs, flowers, wheat, naked oats, buckwheat, bean, cornflour, etc.
For those who want to have a meal in a temple of Mount Wutai. Generally, breakfast time starts from 5:00 a.m, and the lunchtime starts from 11:00 am, and the dimmer time is about 5:30 p.m. When eating, men and women are usually asked to sit separately. The front row of the dining hall is for the masters.
If you are not a fan of vegetables and want to try the specialties here to refuel yourself, you are recommended to go to Taihuai Town where most local restaurants are located. Do not miss the stewed Wutai mushrooms and chicken soup, and the popular mushroom sauce and souvenirs here are available in many small shops.
• Where to eat: Taihuai Town (Banruo Restaurant - 般若全素斋; Miaojixiang Restaurant - 妙吉祥餐厅)
• Popular Mt. Wutai Tour: ✔ 8 Days Ancient Beijing & Shanxi Culture Tour
How to Get to Mount Wutai: You can get there by flights from Shanghai (2.5hrs), Chengdu (2.5hrs), Hangzhou (2hrs), etc. or travel to Mount Wutai from Datong, Pingyao, and Taiyuan by driving.
Best Time to Visit Mount Wutai - May to September: Bring your extra layers and umbrella/raincoat always.
Where to Stay During Your Tour: You can accommodate in Taihuai Town which provides flexible choices of hotels from guest house to luxury 5 stars. If you want to hike the Da Chaotai (Big Kora), you have to stay a night in a temple or local guest house.
A classic Mount Wutai tour usually starts from Taihuai Town, the tourist center of the entire scenic area, then takes a day to visit the most important temples of Mount Wutai, such as Xiantong Temple, Pusa Ding Temple, Tayuan Temple, etc. which are conveniently located around Taihuai Town. If you are Buddhists, you can take the Xiao Chaotai (Small Kora) to Dailuo Ding Temple if you are short on time, or go to the high-altitude Five Terraces to worship Manjusri Bodhisattvas on the five peaks of Mount Wutai – East Terrace, North Terrace, Central Terrace, West Terrace and South Terrace, which usually costs two full days. If you prefer a hiking tour, you can find some amazing high plateau hiking trails among the Five Terraces. Below are most recommended Mount Wutai tours:
Mount Wutai is usually visited with other famous destinations in Shanxi Province, such as Pingyao Ancient City and Wang’s Family Compound in Pingyao, Yungang Grottoes and Hanging Temple in Datong, Jinci Temple in Taiyuan and Hukou Waterfall in southern Shanxi. Below are the most recommended Shanxi tours:
If your time allows, it’s strongly recommended to visit Mount Wutai with other sacred Buddhist sites in China, such as Mount Emei, Mount Putuo, Shaolin Temple, etc. If you want to explore more Chinese culture, you can also extend your tour to Xian, Beijing, Luoyang, Chengdu, etc. Below are some recommended China tours for you:
Top 3 Wutaishan tours chosen by most customers to explore Wutaishan in the best way. Check the detailed itinerary, or tailor your own trip now with us.
Datong / Wutaishan
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[Important] Travel News for Expats: China travel is reopening now! Travel with China Discovery and learn about where to visit & requirements for each destination! Read Details >