Hengshan Mountain is located in Hunyuan County of Shanxi Province in northern China. It is the Northern Mountain of the Five Sacred Mountains. Boasting 108 peaks and spanning 150 kilometers, it has an average elevation of 2,017 meters. The Tianfeng Peak, the highest peak, is 2,190 meters above sea level, the highest among the Five Sacred Mountains.
Legend has it that 4,000 years ago when King Shun visited the mountain and saw the lofty peaks, he named it the "Northern Sacred Mountain". During the Qin Dynasty (221-206BC), Emperor Shihuang named 12 famous mountains, and Hengshan was regarded as the "Second Mountain in the World". In ancient times, many emperors and celebrities visited Hengshan and left quite a lot of stone inscriptions of poems.
Hengshan is famous for steepy ridges, splendid peaks, exotic-shaped temples, and gushing fountains, together with oddly-shaped stones and forests of ancient trees, which constitutes a beautiful landscape.
It is called "The First Mountain Guarding the North Borders", depicting its magnitude and wonder. The mountain links with the Taihang Mountain Range in the east, and to the north it faces the vast expanse of a plateau, thus forming a natural screen for Shanxi Province. The Great Wall winds up the mountain, forming many ancient strategic passes; thus, passes, ancient castles and beacon towers constitute a unique landscape differing from that of the other four mountains.
Hengshan is a very good summer resort. It has a semi-arid continental climate, with cold winter, dry and windy spring, humid summer and sunny but short autumn. It has an annual temperature of 6.1°C -- the hottest month, July, averaging 21.6°C and the coldest month, January, 12°C.
Hengshan's main peak, Tianfeng (Heavenly Peak) Ridge, rises 2,190 meters above sea level. Its steep northern slope is covered with pine trees, and located on its southern slope are temples and monasteries built by ancient kings and emperors to worship their ancestors. Hengshan was once famous for its "Eighteen Sites of Interest", and there still remain a dozen sites such as the Xuankong (Suspending or Mid-air) Temple, Zhaodian Hall, Jiutian (Nine Heavens) Palace, Huixian (Celestial-Meeting) Mansion and Flying Stone Cave, etc.
Hengshan boasts many cultural relics like temples, sites of academy, steles and engravings, some of which occupy important positions in the development of China's ancient architecture, such as the Hanging (Xuankong) Temple, Yuanjue Brick Pagoda and Yongan Temple. The Hanging Temple, built 1,400 years ago, hosts worship for the Taoists, Confucians and Buddhists. The temple is hung on the middle of the cliff and is still in perfect conditions after so many years. The Xuankong temple is 65 km north of Datong.
Besides the Hanging (Xuankong) Temple, many other temples are constructed on the cliffs or caved in just like castles in the air, adding to steepness and grandiosity. Standing high in the mountain, with the clouds floating under your feet and the wind in the pine trees resounding above your head, the mountain peaks occasionally appearing and disappearing in the clouds, one will be reluctant to leave. On the sides of some cliffs are full of stone inscriptions eulogizing the beauty of Hengshan by celebrities in history.
Lingtong Temple: Situated between Tayuan Temple and Bodhisattva Temple, Lingtong Temple is the largest temple in the Wutai Mountains and enjoys the longest history among the temples around Taihuai.
Foguang Temple: a structure of Tang Dynasty (618-907), is situated 30 kilometers away from Tai-huai County. The west-facing temple was built in conformity with the shape of the mountain. Surrounded by pines and cypresses, the temple enjoys a quiet and secluded atmosphere.
China tours inclusive of visiting Hengshan Mountain