Qingcheng Mountain is a famous Taoist mountain, and is one of the places where Taoism was originated. The mountain was enrolled into the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000. Qingcheng Mountain was portrayed in the DreamWorks animated film Kung Fu Panda 2.
The Qingcheng Mountain range towers above the Chengdu Plain, and the Mingjiang River flows down one of its slopes, creating a scenic area that covers 200 square kilometers. The mountain range has 36 peaks, and its tallest peak is Laoxiao Ding, at an elevation of 1260 meters above sea level. The peaks stand in a circle like a great wall protecting the city. Trees grow luxuriantly on the mountain, creating greenery all year round and giving it the name Qingcheng Mountain (literally translated as "mountain of green").
Qingcheng Mountain has a beautiful peak near the city, and another peak sits behind it. These peaks are called "Front Mountain" and "Behind Mountain”. Front Mountain has been a major travel highlight in the Chengdu area because of its numerous ancient Taoist and Buddhist temples and historic sites. It was once a religious pilgrimage destination, and the scenery is beautiful.
Fifteen kilometers away from Front Mountain is Back Mountain, which the government recently opened for hikers. A few temples and historical sites are at Back Mountain, but it is mainly a natural reserve with peaceful streams, quiet forests and a grand peak. The natural scenery is beautiful and magnificent, so Back Mountain is a good choice for recreational hiking, and Five Dragon Gorge has dramatic vistas. Back Mountain is also a major "Shu" Tea growing area. Tourists can take buses or taxis from Front Mountain to Back Mountain. Hiking up the mountain takes about four hours, and hiking down takes about three hours. (Have a look at our 4-Day Chengdu Tour which covers Qingcheng Mountain, Dujiangyan Irrigation Project and Panda Breeding and Research Center)
Qingcheng Mountain is a famous Taoist mountain because it is one of the places where the Taoist religion originated. A Taoist teacher named Zhang came to the mountain and preached during the Eastern Han Dynasty period. Since then, over the last two millennia, dozens of other temples were built on the mountain. Tianshi Cave is one of the main attractions since it is where Zhang is said to have preached. It is a good place to begin your tour, as from there you can see the dozens of other temples around, including Jianfugong Temple, Shangqinggong Temple, Zushi Temple, Yuanminggong Temple, Laojunge Temple, Yuqinggong Temple, and Chaoyang Cave. The sunrise, the misty "sea of clouds" and the Shengdeng are beautiful sights.
If you are walking up the mountain, Jianfugong Temple, which is under Zhangren Peak, is a major highlight and the starting point for a tour of the mountain. The temple was first built during the Tang Dynasty, about the year 730 AD, and it has been repaired and rebuilt many times since. Now, only two temples and three courtyards exist. One of the temples has three different areas for Taoist teachers and gods. Yuanyun Pavilion and a clear brook are in front of the temple. Behind it are scenic sights such as Chicheng Rock, Ruquan Spring, Shuixin Pavilion and Dressing Table. There is also a famous couplet about the temple written during the Qing Dynasty that has 394 Chinese characters. The surrounding grey-green forest provides refreshing shade while walking in the area.
Shangqinggong Temple is one of the most famous Taoist temples, and it sits near the top of Qingcheng Mountain. A structure was first built during the Jin Dynasty, while the existing temple was completed during the reign of the Tongzhi Emperor of the Qing Dynasty.
The main buildings are the gate, the main temple where Taishanglaojun is enshrined, a side hall and the Yuhuang building. The main temple houses an image of Taishanglaojun, and treasured wood boards are carved with the full texts of the Taoist Classic of the Virtue of the Tao and Huangdi Yinfujing. Behind the Shanqinggong temple are steps that go up 100 meters to the top of Qingcheng Mountain, where a covered observation platform allows visitors to see the sunrise and the clouds. If you are there at night, you can see the celestial lights. The area is beautiful when it rains and when it snows in winter.
Qingcheng Mountain is 16 kilometers southwest of Dujiangyan City in Sichuan Province and 68 kilometers northwest of Chengdu City.
How to Get There
Bus No. 101 goes directly from Dujiangyan to Qingcheng Mountain, taking about 30 minutes. There are also buses from Chengdu to Qingcheng Mountain every day, which takes about 2 hours.
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I updated this article on March 6, 2014
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