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Huangshan Mountain Tour 
-- Tour to Mt. Jiuhua

     Bordered on the Yangtze River in the north and overlooked the Mt. Huangshan in the south, Mt. Jiuhua covers an area of 100 square kilometers southwest of Qingyang County, Anhui Province , not far from the picturesque Mt.Huangshan. Mt. Jiuhua boasts 99 peaks and 18 scenic spots in its area. With its marvelous landscape and pleasant climate, Mt. Jiuhua is considered one of the best summer resorts in China. In addition to its popularity as a tourist destination, it is a holy site where Buddhists assemble-- it has been established as one of the four sacred Buddhist shrines, along with Mt.Wutai in Shanxi, Mt.Emei in Sichuan, and Mt.Putuoshan in Zhejiang.

     According to historical records, Buddhism was first introduced to Mt. Jiuhua in the year 401. In 719, a Korean monk named Jin Qiaojue arrived and practiced Buddhism here for 75 years. Upon his Nirvana in 794, Jin Qiaojue was respected as the Earth Buddha by the locals, hence Mt. Jiuhua has become the place where religious rituals were held to worship the God of Earth.

     Mt. Jiuhua has always been a place that attracts men of letters throughout the ages. The story goes that Libai(701-762), the famous poet of Tang Dynasty, once came to visit the mountain. The verse slipped out when he was intoxicated with the scene of lotus blooms-like peaks of Mt. Jiuhua, 'From the azure skies above descends a jade-like flow, and nine fascinating lotuses rise out of the hills below'. Later, poet Liu Yuxi (772-784) in Tang Dynasty, litterateur Wang Anshi (1021-1086) in North Song Dynasty and many other scholars, politicians and monks also made the journey to the mountain, and thus Mt. Jiuhua got its fame. Just as a Chinese saying goes 'A mountain is famous not for its height but for its holiness'.

     Visitors to the temples on Mt. Jiuhua are always impressed with the exquisite architecture and grand structure. Now there are no more than 90 temples in existence in Mt. Jiuhua, most of them restored in Ming and Qing Dynasties. Among the most well known are the Incarnation Hall, Huacheng Temple, Zhiyuan Temple, Longevity Hall, Zhantanlin Temple, Ganlu Temple and Tiantai Zhending Temple.

     Huacheng Temple is the oldest and holiest temple on the mountain. It is located in the center of Jiuhua Street. Though it first appears simple and solemn, the structure and decoration of the building are truly artistic. The engravings on lintels, brackets and roofs reinforce the brightness and liveliness of the building. The picture, 'Nine Dragons Playing with Pearls' on a panel in the Main Shrine Hall is a consummate piece of ancient Chinese art.

     Precious sutras and other cultural relics in the temples are displayed in the Historical Relics Museum of the Jiuhua Mountain. The most valuable are the Buddhist canonical literature left from the Tang Dynasty, the Tripitaka left from the Ming Dynasty, and Emperor Kang Xi and Emperor Qian Long's handwritings left from the Qing Dynasty.

     It is also worth mentioning the Corporeal Body Hall houses the skeleton of Monk Wu Xia that has been well preserved for more than 350 years. Wu Xia once wrote sutras with a mixture of gold powder and his own blood in a cave of Mt. Jiuhua during Ming Dynasty. After hard practice of sutras for a hundred year in Mt. Jiuhua, Wu Xia passed away at the age of 126-- his body found in the cave three years after his death. Monks on the mountain believed Wu Xia was the reincarnation of Rinpoche. From then on, Buddhist believers have been keen to visit the mountain to pay homage to the monk. 

 You can include this tour with your Huangshan tour.

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