Mount Qingcheng - around Chengdu
Mount Qingcheng is one of the most famous Taoist mountains in China. With its fabulous scenery and typical Taoist background, it might well be called the most peaceful and secluded mountain under heaven. Situated 68 km (42 miles) south of Chengdu in Sichuan province, Mt. Qingcheng has become one of most frequently visited tourist destinations in China.
Mount Qingcheng is just southwest of the Dujiangyan Irrigation Project and is a combination of precipitous peaks and luxuriant green trees. To many tourists who have never seen Qingcheng before, there is almost the feeling that they are seeing a massive natural painting. Nevertheless, Mt. Qingcheng is not only a place for tourists to see a stunning view but also the mecca for many Taoist followers.
The front of Mt. Qingcheng is the main scenic spot, boasting many a famous sites of historical importance, including Jianfu Palace, the Shangqing Palace, and the Tianshi Cave. The back side of Mt. Qingcheng has retained its natural scenic beauty with winding streams, virgin forests, imposing mountains and mystical rock formations.
From the foot of Mount Qingcheng, one can see Laojun Pavilion built on the highest peak (elevation over 1,600 m. [5,249 ft]), which is known as Pengzu Peak or Laoxiao Peak. Climbing further, you will find the Jianfu Palace, originally constructed in the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Despite serveral restorations through the years, only two temples and three compounds are preserved to this day. The surrouding environment is extremely peaceful and serene with lush vegetation growing and a lazy river winding its way in front of the Jianfu Palace.
Continuing to the west, you will arrive at the Tianshi Cave, the primary temple on Mt. Qingcheng. In the cave proudly stands a stone statue of Celestial Master Zhang. Legend goes that Celestial Master Zhang, formerly known as Zhang Daoling, cultivated himself and preached on Mount Qingcheng around the end of the Eastern Han Dynasty (25AD-220AD) and is widely worshipped as the founder of Taoism.
The cave also houses three other buildings worth a visit: the Sanqing Palace, the Sanhuang Palace, and the Huangdi Temple. Sanqing Palace, the main hall of the Tianshi Cave, is for worship of the three supreme deities in Taoism, while in the Sanhuang Palace, stone statues of Fuxi, Shennong and Huangdi (the Three Sovereigns, legendary rulers of ancient China) are setup for worship.
Finally, leaving the Tianshi Cave and crossing the Fangning Bridge, you will arrive at the Zushi Palace, another building from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and finish up at the Shangqing Palace. All in all, this series of temples, caves, and palaces are among the most revered buildings in the Taoist philosophy.
The mountain is open from 8:00 to 17:30 and the admission fee is 90 RMB for adults and half for children. You can take a bus from Chadianzi Bus Station in Chengdu to get there.