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Huangshan Attractions

Sightseeing Huangshan


Mount Jiuhua

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Mount Jiuhua

Mountain Jiuhua is one of four famous Buddhist Mountains in China, which is the first batch of key national scenic spots. It lies in the southeast of Chizhou City, Anhui Province. At the northwest is opposite Tianzhu Mountain separated by Yangtze River and at the southeast is opposite Mountain Huangshan separated by Taiping Lake. They are the northern main entrance and scenic spots of Golden tourist area, whose total area occupies 120 square kilometers and the scope of protection is 174 square kilometers. The Jiuhua Street lies in the center situation. Its east longitude is 117 centigrade and north latitude is 30 centigrade. Now Jiuhua Mountain is the state-level tourism zone and national civilized tourist area. It is known as the international Buddhist temple.

The representative scenic spots are: sunrise at Tiantai Platform, evening bell of Huacheng Temple, sitting on East Stone with pleasure, fairy mark of Tianzhu, Taoyan Waterfall, clouds around Lotus Peak, snow at Pinggang, moon reflected in Shu Pond, sound of Jiuzi Spring, mountains at five streams, Longchi Waterfall, bamboos in Minyuan Garden, Ganlu Temple, Mokong Palace, flowers at Hua Platform, Lion Peaks, blue valley, Fish-and-Dragon Cave, and Phoenix Pine. Mount Jiuhua is famous with the reputation of "incense and candle is the best in the world" and "First mountain of Southeast". The Buddhism believers worship the Holy Land.

Mount Jiuhua's scenery is very famous, the old record says "Jiuhua ten sceneries": Tiantai dawn, Huacheng night clock, sitting on the east cliff, high pole with immortal trace, peach crag waterfall, lotus peak cloud sea, flat hillock with snow, Shutan against moon, Jiusishan springs sound and five brooks mountain color. In addition, there is the Longchi Waterfall, MinYuan garden and bamboos, the manna is attractive, skyscraper palace, the gathering of beautiful flowers, the lion peak forest, the clear ditch, fish and dragon cave, phoenix ancient pine and so on.

History of Mount Jiuhua
Mount Jiuhua was called Mount Lingyang in Han Dynasty. It was called Mount Jiuzi in Liang and Chen Dynasties of South Dynasties. A legend says that the great poet Li Bai of Tang Dynasty travelled here and wrote down "Magic is divided to two branches, sacred mountain generates nine glories." Thus it was named Mount Jiuhua.

The history of Buddhism at Jiuhua Mountain can be divided into five periods: founded in the middle of Tang Dynasty; decayed from the late Tang Dynasty to the Five Dynasties; slowly developed in the Song and Yuan Dynasties; and greatly developed in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. In the Ming Dynasty, the emperors granted money to rebuild Huacheng Temple for three times and two emperors bestowed inscriptions. The number of temples and nunneries was over a hundred, and many monks and nuns came. It was listed as one of the four famous Buddhist mountains, besides Wutai Mountain, Emei Mountain, and Putuo Mountain.

Structures of the Temples
Mount Jiuhua thus became the domain of Ksitigarbha Buddhisattva and had then triggered a large scale of temple constructions on the mountain, lasting from the Song Dynasty through Qing Dynasty. As the saying goes,"Scattered in the clouds and mist of Mount Jiuhua are a thousand temples", the mountain is called "Celestial City of a Buddhist Kingdom". Today, 78 ancient temples still survive, with a total of 6,300 Buddhist statues and more than 2,000 Buddhist artefacts. Representative temples are the Ganlu, Qiyuan, Huacheng, the Hall of Sacred Remains, the Hall of Longevity, Minyuan Nunnery and the Temple of the Heavenly Terrace.

Huacheng Temple
The Huacheng Temple is the oldest of all the temples of Mount Jiuhua. It is located at the hub of the entire mountain and surrounded by the Baiyun Mountain to the north, the Furong Ridge to the south, the East Cliff to the east and the Shenguang Ridge to the west. The temple consists of four parts: the lobby, the grand hall, the back hall and the Scripture Tower. The ground slopes up with each part and the whole layout is natural. The doors, windows, brackets. beams, columns, steps and the cornerstone are carved with exquisite designs, In the hall are preserved horizontal boards inscribed by emperors: "Sacred Land of Jiuhua" by Kangxi, "Fentuopujiao" by Qianlong, and "Beneficence Most Enjoyable" by Chongzhen.

It was said that this temple was first built as the residence for Kim Gio Gak. Later the temple was inaugurated as the bodhimandala of the Ksitigarbha Buddhisattva in 781, the second year of the Jianzhong reign of the Tang Dynasty. The entire temple, looking venerated in a solemn design, rises layer upon layer according to the contour of the mountain slope. The front door of the temple opens on a stream, the farmland and a street, and the centre of the square is a crescent moon-shaped pool in which the captive fish are set free. The Tripitaka pavilion in the rear has been converted into an exhibition of more than 1,300 Buddhist cultural artefacts, which include 6,777 volumes of Buddhist scriptures given to the temple by the Emperor Wanli of the Ming Dynasty, with the scriptures inscribed on pattra leaves, and a nine-dragon square seal of Kim.

Tiantai Temple
Tiantai Temple, or Ksitigarbha Buddhist Temple, was built in the early Ming Dynasty and renovated during Guangxu's reign(1875-1908) in the Qing Dynasty. Towering on a precipitous cliff of the Tiantai Peak, this five-storied run-on architectural complex resembles a magnificent castle from a distance. Over the arched front door are inscribed "Culmination World" in huge charactcrs and "Not This World" beside them. The chief attractions in the temple are the Ten-Thousand-Buddha Tower and arched doors.

The mummy of Monk Wuxia in the Longevity Palace
During the Wanli years (1573-1619) in the Ming Dynasty, a roaming monk named Wuxia came to the Jiuhua Mountain. He built himself a hut on the top of Dongya Cliff and practiced Buddhism piously. He spent 28 years copying 81 volumes of Buddhist scripture with the blood of his tongue and gold powder. He died at the age of 126, and for three years his body did not decay. The other monks, believing that he had been the incarnation of the Living Buddha, gilded his body and referred to him as "Monk Longevity". Emperor Chongzhen of the Ming Dynasty granted him the title "Incarnation of Buddha".

Customs of Residents
The monks and nuns usually chant scriptures in the morning and evening. Their daily life varies with the size of the temple or nunnery. At a small one they lead their daily life and do Buddhist service in the same place. In a big one they live according to the beating of bell, drum and other Buddhism instruments. They accommodate travelling monks or nuns. If any of them broke the rule, he would be driven out of the temple. Their life is simple. They wear clothes with many patches on, have vegetarian meals, sleep in bed simply made of a board and two supports. They also work in the fields in hot summer, sit in meditation at cold winter nights.

July 30 of lunar calendar is the birthday of Earth Buddha, and a Great Buddhist ceremony is held on this day. A large number of monks, nuns, pilgrims and visitors come to burn incense, chant, and sacrifice food. Colourful flags fill the mountain area. The activities of each year are different.

The celebration of Spring Festival by the residents at Jiuhua Mountain is very special. They celebrate it twice. On December 28 of lunar calendar, they eat all kinds of meat dishes, including chicken, duck and fish. On December 30 of lunar calendar, they burn incense to worship their ancestors. On Spring Festival, January 1 of lunar calendar, every family goes to Roushen Palace to worship Buddha. The vegetable dishes will be ended on January 3 of lunar calendar.

Important Buddhist Ceremonies on Mount Jiuhua

Sakyamuni's Birthday
Sakyamuni's Birthday falls on the eighth day of the fourth moon. It is the most important festival for Buddhists to observe. It was said that when Sakyamuni was born a sacred dragon sprayed balmy water on him. So on Saykyamuni's birthday all the monks gather in the grand hall of their monastery, offering sacrifice to Buddha, chanting sutra and bathing the image of Sakyamuni with balmy water. The occasion is therefore called "Bathing-Buddha Festival".

During the festival, alms are given to monks and rites are held to remember the dead --giving alms to "starving souls" and burning paperboats--which are believed to be a way of releasing souls from purgatory.

Introspection Day
The Introspection Day falls in the fifteenth day of the seventh moon. It is an important Budddhist festival, also referred to as Ullambana, when monks self-examine the Buddhist practice of the past year. On the day the monks and other Buddhists offer sacrifice to Buddha, make confessions and introspection. Among other rites are worshipping the images of Emperor Liang and Ksitigarbha so as to release the departed ancestors and starving souls from purgatory.

Ksitigarba's Birthday
Ksitigarba's Birthday falls on the thirtieth (or twenty-ninth in a 29-day month) day of the seventh moon. It is believed to be the immortalization day of Jin Qiaojue, the Korean monk. On this day grand ceremonies are held on the Jiuhua Mountain.


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