Located 68 kilometers from Dujiangyan City of the Sichuan province, Mount Qingcheng (Chinese name: Qing Cheng Shan) stands above the earth with a height of 1,260 meters above sea level. It is the famous birthplace of Taoism and is very popular worldwide. It was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 2000.
Because of the calming sound of nature in the mountain such as water running, birds singing, and winds blowing, the Qing Cheng Mountain is being admired as one of the most peaceful on earth under heaven. It boasts its 36 peaks, Laojun Pavilion being the highest which can easily be seen from the foot of the mountain. Also named Zheng Ren Mountain in the past, Qingcheng mountain has a total of 80 caves (8 big and 72 small) and 108 scenic views.
The Mount Qingcheng is composed of two parts, the posterior and the anterior parts. The posterior part is the Rear Mountain that features a breathtaking and peaceful natural scenery with a total area of 100 square kilometers. The anterior part, on the other hand, is the Front Mountain which is the main attraction of Qingcheng. It covers a total area of 15 square kilometers and it is where the many historical and cultural ruins are located like the Jianfu Palace, Shangqing Palace, and Tianshi Celestial Cave.
The Mount Qingcheng in History
Many artists and scholars are attracted to the Mount Qingcheng because of its seclusion. Du Fu, the well-known poet during the Tang Dynasty, visited the mountain once and wrote down one of his famous verses to give praise to the tranquility of the mountain (Related Article: Du Fu Thatched Cottage Chengdu). One famous contemporary Chinese artist moved to live in the Qingcheng Mountain during the 1960’s. He was captivated by the magnificent natural views of the mountain that became his subjects for his paintings. He even drew a map of the area for all the locals and tourists to see. He called the place a sanctuary of green trees, tranquil silences, and natural beauty.
The mountain first became a tourist area open for the public to visit and see in the year 1982. Due to its stunning natural beauty, it has won several national tourist titles and was categorized as a 5A tourist area in the year 2000.
With a history of more than 2,000 years, the Mount Qingcheng has famously birthed Taoism. An emperor of the Han Dynasty came to the mountain to study Taoism and later found his Taoist way in the fifth cave. Due to this, the palaces and towers such as the Jianfu Palace, Zushi Palace, Laojun Pavilion, and others were constructed around the fifth cave, making it the heart of the area. One of the great masters of Taoism, Zhang Daoling, also known before as Zhang Ling, went also to the mountain and created the earliest sect of Taoism, the Wu Dou Mi Dao. He was then recognized as the father of Taoism.
It was during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) when Du Guangting, a famous Taoist, came to the mountain. He later became one of the great masters of Taoism who made significant contributions to the Taoism development.
Mount Qingcheng Attractions
As the mountain’s visitors begin to climb up the Qingcheng Mountain, they will discover the Jianfu Palace. The palace was initially constructed during the Tang Dynasty and took 18 years to complete. The current building that stands there was constructed during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). It has been restored several times through the years. Today, the palace is composed of two temples and three compounds which are all surrounded by lush ancient vegetation. A lucid stream is found in front of the Jianfu Palace which adds more beauty to the whole setting.
The Natural Picture
If you go west of the palace, about one kilometer away, you will be presented with a wooden pavilion that erects between an abundance of trees and steep rocks. Many visitors who had been to the pavilion felt like they are in a large natural painting. The Natural Picture pavilion is located on top of a ridge, 893 meters above sea level. It was built during the reign of Emperor Guangxu (1875-1909) during the Qing Dynasty and has a shape of a decagon. The pavilion overlooks the Jianfu Palace as well as the Tian Shi Cave.
Shang Qing Palace
Originally built during the Jin Dynasty (265-420), the Shang Qing Palace is the highest palace in the park. It was reconstructed during the Tang Dynasty and undergone reconstruction a few times thereafter. Many artifacts are housed in the palace over the years and it has been the home of thought and tranquility for several generations.
Located on the first peak of the mountain, the Laojun Pavilion has an altitude of 1600 meters above sea level and covers a base area of 400 square meters. Its levels were built with an octagonal shape to concur with Chinese beliefs. Many statues made by different sculptors and artists over the years are located here in the pavilion. Each of the statues is carved with intricate details that made it extremely life-like.
Yuan Ming Palace
The Yuan Ming Palace has a courtyard flawlessly designed with flowers, plants, water, and bamboos. It was the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) who built it. The palace is a masterpiece where the guests can experience a kind of tranquility that is hard to find anywhere else.
The Tianshi Cave was initially constructed during the Sui Dynasty (581-618) and later completed by the Ming Dynasty. On its three sides are mountains and a water on one side. It is an oasis for many Taoists because of its splendor and stillness.
Close to the Tianshi Cave is the Zushi Palace that was founded during the Tang Dynasty. It is a famous sanctuary for poets as it gives them inspirations in writing their masterpieces. It also became an escape for the Tang Dynasty princess Yu Zhen. It was known that she comes here under the beauty of statues, inscriptions, and sacred pictures, it is where she felt immortal. Indeed a place of legends and stories.
Chao Yang Cave
Located on the east side of the Qingcheng Mountain, Chao Yang Cave can accommodate one hundred people at once. Huang Yun Ge of the Qing Dynasty once lived here. He wrote about his daily musings and the beauty of the place. There were also painters who would come to the cave to think and paint.
More about Mount Qingcheng Tourist Area
A town called Du Jiang Yan is located at the back side of the Qingcheng Mountain. It has an area of 100 square kilometers and has a distance of 70 kilometers from Chengdu. There was once a mountain paradise situated in the town. Wo Long is positioned northwest of Du Jiang Yan, in the north is the Zhao Gong Mountain and situated to the east is the Qingcheng Mountain. The town is placed in the middle of many old mountains, tombs, and scenes that are well-known worldwide. If you would visit the Mount Qingcheng, having a side trip to the town will definitely make your trip more satisfying. Staying in town for a couple of days is also a good idea for convenience.
For food lovers, Mount Qingcheng has special dishes that the locals offer to their guests. One of the Bai Guo Chicken which is a thick white soup that has a smell that would entice your appetite. There are also places in the mountain that offers fruit and vegetable pickling wherein ancient methods are still applied. Dong Tian Gong Tea is the famous tea of Qingcheng Mountain which can be enjoyed while eating the authentic Chinese dishes in the area.
Though considered a tourist area where many people go and explore, the Qingcheng Mountain is still the best place to go to if you are looking for an escape from the dirty air of the big city and if you need time for peace, tranquility, and breathtaking natural views.