Mt. Emeishan, seven kilometers southwest of Emeishan City, 160 kilometers southwest of Chengdu, is like a huge green screen standing in the southwest of the Chengdu Plain. The mountain stretches more than 200 kilometers from south to north. Its main peak, Wanfo Top, is 3,099 meters above sea level. Its charming scenery has won it the name of "Mt. Emeishan, the Greatest Beauty under Heaven."
Emeishan literally means "Delicate Eyebrow Mountain" - it derives its name from two peaks which face each other and look like the delicate eyebrows of a Chinese classic beauty.
Mt. Emeishan is well-known for its enjoyable natural scenery, extensive Buddhist culture, abundant range of species and unique landform. Thus it gets such titles as 'Kingdom of Plants', 'Geological Museum', 'Animals' Paradise' and 'Buddhist Celestial Mountain'.
Going into the mountain, you can see continuous ranges of peaks and tall trees covering on them. Water flows swiftly as if it were flying. Birds are singing and pretty butterflies are dancing. In spring, all the creatures are burgeoning and the whole mountain is in a fresh green coat; in summer, beautiful flowers are blooming one after another in a way of competition; in autumn, the entire Mt. Emeishan is decorated by the red leaves which make the mountain so amazing that it is far beyond your imagination; in winter, it is covered by snow like a pure bride with white wedding dress.
Mt. Emeishan is one of the four celebrated Buddhist Mountains in China. It is said that Buddhism was brought to Mt. Emeishan in the first century BC. After nearly 2,000 years of development, Mt. Emeishan has become a place rich in Buddhist heritage, which has made it an influential sacred place in China and even in the whole world. There are vivid and exquisite statues of Buddha made of clay, wood, jade, bronze and porcelain. As one of the three genres of Chinese martial art in China, Mt. Emeishan has gained its reputation both at home and abroad.
Mt. Emeishan is covered with green vegetation all the year round. Its plentiful rainfall, peculiar landform, varied climate and complicated structures of the soil provide a perfect environment for a great number of species' growth and propagation. Among the plants, here you can have the chance to admire the rare trees, many different flowers and herbs. These plants not only endow the mountain with beauty but also create a natural fairyland for the animals here. Among all the animals there are many rare species.
The splendid Mt. Emeishan was created by the Himalayan mountain-building movement and the later uplift of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. It contains geological features of all the periods following the Cambrian period. The special geological feature is the precondition of the growth of various species and beautiful sceneries.
In Golden Summit, the sky before the dawn is amazing. The ground and the sky are in the same dark purple. Then gradually wisps of rosy clouds appear above the horizon indicating the coming of a pleasant day. Under the pink clouds, all of a sudden, a small mauve point comes out and rises slowly, and then little by little it becomes an arc and then a semicircle. The color turns from mauve to jacinth and then golden red. At last the semicircle makes an elegant jump thus the sun appears in the east sky.
After the sunrise, millions of sun rays shoot onto the ground. At this time the Mt. Emeishan is gold in color, from the head to the feet, showing all her glamour to the visitors.
When the sky is clearly blue, white clouds rise slowly among the mountains. Just in a moment, vast clouds sea appears above the horizon like a snowy white woolen blanket, smooth, clean and thick. When wind comes, the clouds sea is wafted to all the directions and then mountains become small islands floating in an ocean; when the clouds sea gathers together, peaks are invisible again.
In the afternoon, at the foot of the Sheshen Rock, every place is full of pure white clouds. Then an aura the color of red, orange, yellow, green, black blue, blue and purple extends within a radius of around one to two meters (about 3 to 7 feet). It looms and shines in the center like a mirror. Back against the sunlight from the west, sometimes you can find your own shadow in the aura.
And your every action is followed by the figure in the aura, as if you were facing a bright mirror. To your most surprise, even if millions of people were viewing at it or two persons hugging each other were enjoying it, they could only see themselves. And this is the magic Buddha rays, which are rare in other places but appear in Mt.
In the dark nights of Golden Summit, occasionally, you can see a point of fluorescence flowing between the valleys, then changing into several and step by step into numerous. This is the famous scenery saint lamps in Mt. Emeishan.
The saint lamps can be seen under four conditions: firstly, the weather must be fine right after the rain; secondly, there is no moon in the sky; thirdly, there are no clouds layers at the foot of the mountain; fourthly, there are no heavy wind and rain on top of the mountain. As for the conditions, it is clear that the saint lamps are really hard to be observed.
There were once more than a hundred temples and monasteries on the mountain, but only about twenty remain today, including the following better-known ones: Devotion to the Country Temple (Baoguosi), Ten-Thousand-Year Temple (Wanniansi), and Immortal Peak Temple (Xianfengsi), and the temple at Elephant Bath Pond (Xixiangchi).
The Temple is the center of Buddhist activities in Mt. Emeishan. The climate here is mild and trees are verdant and serried. Visiting this temple, you can enjoy either the renowned ancient buildings and precious Buddhist cultural relics or peculiar natural attractions and rare animals and plants.
Facing the east, it awaits the arrival of the rising sun in the morning and sends off the setting sun in the dusk. In front of the temple gate there is a pair of stone lions carved in the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). They are lively, grand and mighty, like door guards protecting the temple as well as the Mt. Emeishan. A large engraved stone slab hangs above the gate with the name of the temple on it which was written by the Emperor Kangxi (1654 - 1722) of the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911).
The scenery in Ten-Thousand-Year Temple is pleasant all the year around but especially in autumn. In autumn there is heat of summer at the foot of the Mt. Emeishan even though snow has fallen on the top, but it is the best season to visit the Temple. Here red leaves are reflected in the water and when a breeze comes the leaves dance in the pond forming red waves glistening in the sunlight. So thrilling! Also in the temple scenic region, there are mountain villages creating a peaceful and intoxicating picture.
Looking around beside the White Water Pond, the wind touches the mountains, wobbling the trees making a howling sound; red leaves have a dance to the wind in the air; the ripple stream water goes rightly through the temple and is crooning and echoing the wind.
It was built 1,700 meters above sea level on the slope of Mt. Emeishan. Next to the temple is a big cave where, as the legend goes, the Yellow Emperor who was visiting the place met a white-haired old man who had a young face. The emperor asked him if he had any company, and the old man replied, yes, there are eight others in the cave. Since then, the cave has been called the Nine Elders Cave (Jiulaodong).
Qingyin Pavilion is in the middle part of Mt. Emeishan. It is no exaggeration to say that the whole area of the pavilion is a fine picture with green hills and blue water. At its high point there are towering exquisite and refined pavilions. Two gloriettes stand in the middle of the region of Qingyin Pavilion.
There is one stone bridge crossing on the Black Dragon River (The color of the water is dark green.) and the White Dragon River (The color of the water is ivory.) on each side of the gloriette. The two bridges are like a pair of wings, so a beautiful name was given to them: Double Flying Bridges. In the lower point, you can see the Black Dragon River on the right of the Cattle Heart Pavilion and White Dragon River on its left.
The billowing waves strike the huge stone in the green pond giving out the roaring sound time and again and echoing around the surrounding valleys and woods. The water splashing in all directions like broken pieces of crystal pearls and jade and forms a series of water drops flying in the air and then drop into the pond. How amazing it is! In the night with full moon and soft wind, all is quiet and there is only the melodious sound of water resounding in the air. Listening to the clear sound, your heart will be in a state of quietness and you will forget the existence of yourself.
Golden Summit gets its name from a bronze house which was there. The weather here is cold in all year round but its natural scenery is wonderful. The four great spectacles of Golden Summit and also of Mt. Emeishan are sunrise, clouds sea, Buddha rays and saint lamps. They are the essence of the beauty and mysterious charm of the Mt. Emeishan. In the following paragraphs detailed descriptions of the four great spectacles will be given.
Hawkers sell straw or bamboo poles and crampons to attach to boots, which will be necessary when paths are slippery in the winter and spring.
The monasteries all offer delicious vegetarian fare. However, if you want a meat based Chinese meal, there are restaurants close to the tourist temples.
Mt. Emeishan lies 150 km away from Chengdu, 130 km from the Shuangliu International Airport and only 28 km from Leshan city. Access to the mountain is via Emeishan town, 7km from the base. Minibuses and public buses leave from Emeishan's main street depot to the trailhead at Baoguo.
It is five kilometers to the top of Emeishan, much of it consisting of stone stairs. If you walk it all, plan for a full day up and a full day down (around 10 hours on foot). Monasteries along the way offer reasonably-priced lodging, and there are several comfortable lodges on the summit.
Minibuses and cable cars can take tourists most of the way up the mountain. Most opt for tours from Chengdu, about three hours to the mountain base, then another two hours to Jieyin Dien, where you already feel the air at 2,540 meters.
A Swiss-style cable car soars over pines to Jinding, and a final hike of about an hour, huffing and puffing in the high altitude, to the peak. Some spend the night to see the sunrise; others quickly turn around and head back.