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Wutai Mountain Travel Guide

Wutai Mountain Travel Guide

Wutai Mountain is one of the places where China’s oldest Buddhist temples were built. Ever since the Yongping Period of the Eastern Han Dynasty (58-75 AD), a myriad of splendid temples, Buddhist pagodas and magnificent palaces have been constructed in successive dynasties, making Wutai Mountain the gathering place of architectural complexes from various dynasties. Statues, stone steles, murals and calligraphy works are everywhere to be found in the temples and they are all rich in artistic values. During the booming period of the Tang Dynasty, there were altogether over 300 temples in Wutai Mountain. Subject to vicissitudes of time, some of the temples have been damaged. Presently, there are altogether 47 temples in Wutai Mountain. Amongst them, Foguang Temple and Nanchan Temple are China’s two oldest wooden structures in existence. Xiantong Temple (Lingjiu Temple), Tayuan Temple, Pusa Temple, Shuxiang Temple and Luohou Temple are known as the five most famous places for practicing Zen. Taihuai County is the gathering place of temples and center of Buddhist activities and economic life. Legend has it that Wutai Mountain is the place where Bodhisattva Manjushri once preached sermons and promoted Buddhist Dharma. In history, a number of Buddhist discipleship from India, Nepal, North Korea, Japan, Mongolia and Sri Lanka went on a pilgrimage to Wutai Mountain for Buddhist sutra. Today, Wutai Mountain is China’s only place with a combination of Chinese and Tibetan Buddhism. Every summer in the middle, a continuous stream of tourists from home and abroad would pay a visit to Wutai Mountain, and burn incense to worship the Buddha. Every June, the grand mule and horse trade fair is held there. In the fair, there are exchanges and performances. It’s an ideal summer resort for visitors. The population of Taihuai County is 6,954 (according to the record of 1989).

Wutai Mountain is one of the shifting continents that first came on the surface of the ocean. Its emergence can be traced back to the Achaean Era 2,600 billion years ago. Later, in the Sinian Period it was known for the famous “Five Mountains Upheaving Crustal Movement,” giving rise to the most spectacular mountains in North China. In the Quaternary Period, icebergs covered Wutai Mountain, leaving rare landforms there. Wutai Mountain is rich and complete in stratums. It is an important place for national geographical investigation as it’s home to unique Precambrian stratums. Most of the stratums in Wutai Mountain are named after local mountains, rivers, villages and towns. They play an important role in the field of geography.

Wutai Mountain is 624 meters above sea level at its lowest point and 3,061 meters above the sea level at its highest point. It’s the highest mountain in Northern China and has long been crowned as “the roof of North China.”The view at the top of the mountain is majestic and spectacular as peaks thrust on one another. This unique and magnificent picture is considered a masterpiece of nature. It’s cold in Wutai Mountain. So it’s also called “Cool Mountain.” Its annual average temperature is -4 degrees Celsius. Its hottest months are July (with an average temperature of 9.5) and August (with an average temperature of 8.5) and its coldest month is January with an average temperature of -18.8 degrees Celsius. Spring is a month earlier and autumn is a month later in Taihuai County at the top of the mountain. The daily temperature difference in Taihuai County is around 6 degrees Celsius. Its annual average temperature is 2-3 degrees Celsius with a lowest temperature of -30 degrees Celsius and the highest being 30 degrees Celsius. In summer, clouds there are low and often rain is heavy as it’s very humid.