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Songshan Mountain

Located in Dengfeng County of Henan Province, Songshan Mountain is called the Central Mountain of the Five Sacred Mountains. It has 36 peaks and stretches 60 kilometers, composed of Taishi Mountain and Shaoshi Mountain. The highest peak is 1494 meters above sea level.

Mt.Songshan got its fame from being the place where the Indian monk Batuofounded the Shaolin temple in 495 a.C. Few years later in 527 a.D.another Indian monk, Damo (or Bodhidharma) moved to the temple to teachthe Chan sect of Buddhism, best known as Zen Buddhism (Zen is the wayJapaneses read the Chinese ideogram for Chan). Buddhism was beenalready introduced in China during the first century b.C., but the manycultural differencies between India and China made the strict Hinayanaform to be not well accepted. The Chan version was instead more adaptto the Chinese culture and became rapidly the most influential Buddhistschool in China.

The lofty Mt. Songshan is located in the center of the other four sacred mountains.

    When the surface of the earth was covered all by water 2.5billion years ago, Mt.Songshan stuck up into the sky out from the water. After three motions of orogeny and epeirogeny: it lay like a grand dragon of more than 100-km long from east to west in the central plains. It mainly consists of 2parts:h4t.Taishi and Mt. Shaoshi, with each having 36peaks and each peak having name and story, forming colorful natural sceneries.

  Mt. Songshan was named "Waifang"in ancient times, "Chonggao "and "ChongShan" in the Xia and Shang dynasties, "Yueshan" in the Western Zhou Dynasty. It began to be caned" Central Sacred Mountain” when King Ping of the Zhou Dynasty moved capital to LuoYang because Mt. Songshan is situated in the middle with Mt. TaiShan in the east and Mt.TaiShan in the west.

    Gathering all the essences from other mountains, Mt. Songshan is broad and profound with deep mystery. According to" Royal Music · Classic of Poetry", Mt. Songshan is high and lofty to the sky-"Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty wrote in his poem, "Mountains and rivers are always beauti111,Mt.Taishi and Mt. Shaoshi are mystic indeed". According to “Chorography”, “chonggao is the central sacred mountain. It gathers all the adjacent essences and sits in the middle” With its position among the Eve sacred mountains in China, attractive mountains and rivers, profound cultural inside information , Mt. Songshan is a precious encyclopedia of Chinese civilization. Approaching Mt. Songshan means to set foot in research on historic development of thousands of years of the Chinese nation.

Mt. Songshan is famous for its beautiful natural scenes, numerous cultural relics, precious geological remains and rich forest resources. It is an idealist place for sightseeing, leisure holidays, scientific research and education. It is a scenic spot in the first group approved by the State Council in 1982, and one of the 10forest parks approved by the State Council in 1986.It was named national geo1ogical park in 2001, and world geological park by United Nations Educat10nal,SCIeIlune,and Cultural Organization in 2004.

The Central Mountain has rich forest resources, some of which are rare ancient trees with odd figures and literary quotations, such as the General Cypress in the Songyang Academy, the Fifth-rank Chinese Scholar tree in the Shaolin Temple, the Han (206BC-220AD) Maidenhair Tree in Fawang Temple, the Cypress Forest in the Zhongyue Temple, and the Bodhi tree in the Yongtai Temple, etc. The forest resources of Songshan Mountain are praised as rare treasure for their large quantity, antiquity, abundant literary quotation and vivid shapes.   

The mountain also boasts a large number of showplaces and cultural relics. The most famous Shaolin Temple is located here, where Shaolin monks exercise Qigong, Qinggong and other Shaolin Kong-fu (martial arts).     

shaolin Temple Scenic Spot

Shadin Temple is hidden among deep mountains with a clear stream flowing before its entrance. Shaolin Temple Scenic Spot is located behind Mt.Shaoshi It consists of Shaolin Temple, Pagoda Forest, Ancestor's Monastery, Dharma Cave, Second Ancestor's Monastery, Yongtai Temple and Shaoshi Tower. Surrounded with mountains with clear streams, green cypress and pine trees, and elegant landscapes, it is one of the scenic spots of AAAA Class of the first group published by Nationd Tourism Administration. First built in A.D.495in the Northern Wei Dynasty 1asty , Shaolin Temple is situated in the forest at the foot of Mt. sbaoshi, and hence the name. It is the ancestor??s house of Chan Sect of Buddhism and the birthplace of Shaolin Gong11. Pagoda Forest at the west side of the temple covering an area of 20,OOO square meters has 231pagodas respectively built in the dynasties of Tang, Song, Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing and is the largest group of ancient pagodas currently preserved in China.

Mt. Shaoshi Scenic Spot

Mt. Shaoshi Scenic Spot has special natural scenery, rich cultural relics and elegant forest environment. It is grand and magnificent for steep peaks and various shaped rocks. Liantian Peak, the main peak, with an elevation of 1512meters above sea level, is the highest peak of Mt. Songshan. It has 7cultural sceneries including Sanhuang Stronghold, Lotus Temple, AnYang Palace, Qingwei Palace, Qindiang Temple, Jade Emperor Temple, and 40 attractions like monkey-shaped stone, tiger-shaped Stone, falling sun on Yuzhai Peak, beautiful autumn scene, waterfalls, eagle-shaped stone, Immortal Gorge, Lingxiao Gorge, Waterfall Cave, camel-shaped stone, etc.

Mt. Taishi Scenic Spot

Mt.Taishi is an important pad of Mt. Songshan. Its hid1est peak is Junji Peak with an elevation of1494meters above sea level. Mt. Taishi is long and wide, grand and magnificent, with most attractions on its south side.Looking up from the south, you can End it is like a sleeping dragon. There are many steep cliffs in the south, slopes in
the north, separated peaks in the east and linked peaks in the west. Since ancient times, people have taken it as a pleasure to climb up Junji Peak in the sightseeing and admiring the central plains. Fan Zhongyar, a famous scholar in the Song Dynasty wrote," You Won’t know our earth is so small if you don't climb up junji peak."
Zhongyue Temple Scenic Spot
Zhongyue Temple was first built in the Qin Dynasty as a shrinefor the mountain god. It is the earliest place at Mt Songshan for Daoism and regarded as the sixth cave-world in Daoism-Facing south, Zhongyue Temple has seven yards on its axis- There are more than 450 rooms in halls, palaces, pavilions, platforms, corridor and

other buildings, more than33O cypress trees respectively planted in dynasties from Han to Qing and more than 100pieces of ancient metal castings and stone carvings-It is called Imperial Palace in the central plains for it was overall arranged following the later. As the largest group of ancient architectures protected intact of the Five Mountain Temples, it is under state-level protection.
Scenic Spot of SongYang Academy of Classical Learning
SongYang Academy of Classical Learning is one of the four highest academies in the Song Dynasty. The other three academies of classical learning are Yuelu in Human, Bailudong in Jiangxi and Suiyangm HenaI1.Representatwepersonages of Neo- Confucianism Cheng Ha0, Cheng YL Sima Guang and Fan Zhongyan lectured here." Tablet of the Great Tang Admiring the God's Virtue", cypress trees honored "Generals" in the Han Dynasty and ancient stone carvings are main attractions.
Fawang Temple Scenic Spot
Surrounded with mountain forests and peaks, Fawang Temple Scenic Spot is one of   the most attractive spots atMt.SongshaI1.It has Fawang Temple, one of the earliest Buddhist temples, built in the 14th year of Yongping of the Eastern Han Dynasty (AD70,SOIlgyue Temple Pagoda, the earliest Buddhist pagoda, built in the Northern
fI  mrei Dynasty 1ast31,under state-level protection, and bfaster Jingzang's Pagoda, the earliest octagonal pagoda current preserved in China. In the western part there is HuiShan Temple with beautiful surroundings where Master Yixing, a monk and astronomer of the Tang Dynasty and world celebrity practiced Buddhism.
Luya Waterfall Scenic Spot
Located in the eastern part Mt. Taishi, Luya Waterfall Scenic Spot is a typical natural scene with mountains and waters in the northern pad of China. Lu Hongyi, a hermit of the Tang Dynasty 1asty once lived here in reclusion, and hence the name. Waterfalls from the middle of Xuanliar Peak and Jiming Peak drop down and then now along valleys, froming many waterfalls and pools. Water here is clear and pools are deep. Climbing up against the current will take you into a natural idyllic picture.
Astronomical Observatory Scenic Spot
Built in A.D.1276, Astronomical Observatory is located at Gaocheng Town (namely ancient Yangchen).It is the central one of the 27astronomical observatories in China built by famous astronomer Guo Shoujing in the Yuan Dynasty. It is of great value of history and scientific research, and under state-level protection. Lord Zh011's Shadows Measuring Platform in its south is the remains of the oldest astronomical observatory in the world.
With the Observatory as center, ruins of Peiligang Culture,Yangst1ao Culture, Longshan Culture and other cultures are scattered around. It is especially worth mentioning that the excavation of WangChenggang, ruins of the capital of the Xia Dynasty, has proved the record "Yangcheng, Capital of the Xia Dynasty", in a book of pre-Qin Dynasty. It is of important significance for historical and cultural research.
Songshan World Geological Park
 Songshan World Geological Park has a total area of 464square kilometers. In  the park, aggradation and structure, such as magmatic rock, metamorphic rock and sedimentary rock of the 5periods of geologic history, namely 二 Archean Eon, Proterozoic Eon, Paleozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic, continuously and completely crop out, relics of angular discordance interface and structural feature fwature by 3 global Precambrian orogeny and epeirogeny respectively called SongYang motion, Zhongyue motion and Shaolin motion taking place 25billion years,1.8billion years and 546million years ago. This park is called by geologists as" natural geology museum ,of" five generations under one roof” .Time brings a great change to the worlds, leaving traces in the earth history. Songshan World Geological Park is m animated "Encyclopedia in Geoscience", an ideal place to study crustal evolution r111es and ascend to geoevolution history
There are some other temples in the mountain, such as the Zhongyue Temple, which is nicknamed the Little Palace; the Fawang Temple and the Huishan Temple, the oldest temples extant in China; two earliest and well-preserved astronomical observatories extant in China; etc.
Songshan Mountain abounds in stele carvings, totaling more than 2,000 pieces, left by famous calligraphers like Yan Zhenqing, Su Dongpo, Huang Tingjian and Mi You, etc.

Cultural Heritage
The Zhongyue Temple is nicknamed the Little Palace. The temple is one of the oldest of its kind in China, originally built in the Qin Dynasty over 2,200 years ago, and moved to its present site in the Tang (618-907). Along the center line of the temple lie about 400 constructions of various kinds including archways, pavilions, terraces, gates, halls, and towers, as well as many (over 300) tall, gnarled and weather-beaten cypresses, mostly in the large courtyard. It covers an area of 370,000 square meters.
The Songyang Academy, one of the most famous ancient academies, is also located here. Celebrities of ancient times like Sima Guang, Cheng Yi and Fan Zhongyan all gave lectures here. The building of the academy is old and elegant, but mostly broken. At the west side, there are two high and old cypresses named Great General and Second General, they are the oldest cypresses with over 4,000 years of history.

The Tower of Songyue Temple is the earliest Buddhist tower existing in China. It was built in the Northern Wei Dynasty (520). It has 15 storeys and a height of over 40 meters. With superb craft, it is the oldest polygonal tower in China.

How to get to Mt.Song
Dengfeng is located in the middle of Mt.Song, you can first reach Dengfeng, then go to the tourist attractions you would like to go.
Dengfeng is not far from Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan Province. You can take a bus to Dengfeng in any bus stations in Zhengzhou.

1. Admission Fee
Zhongyue Temple: RMB 25
Songyang Academy: RMB 25
Mt.Taishi: RMB 25. But you can bargain with the people who sell the tickets.
Luya Waterfalls: RMB 25
Fawang Temple: RMB20

2. The distance between Songyang Academy and the entrance of Mt.Taishi is a little long, so you'd better take a bus (NO2), or taxi. As it is a tiring job to climb the Mt.Taishi.

3. It is a tiring job to climb the Mt.Taishi, it will take about 5 hours to climb the mountain, especially the road between the Xanadu and Junji Peak. What's more, there's no cable way in Mt. Taishi, so those people who are not often exercising had better don't have a try. You can get down to the Luya Waterfalls after you visit the Xanadu.

4. You have to take enough food and water with you. Maybe you can not get the food and water in the Mt.Taishi.

Other tips
1. Things you need to prepare before climbing up the mountain:
Thick sweater or overcoat and Sport shoes
Medicine (according to your own situation)
Suntan oil, topee and sunglasses: the sunlight is very strong in the mountain
Raincoat: Remember don't take umbrella; there is often strong wind in mountain when it is raining, so it is very dangerous if you are holding an umbrella.

2. There are lots of monks and nuns in the mountain, so you have to pay attention to the manners.
When you see the monks or nuns, you can put the palms together and slightly lower your head, in order to show your respect. Do not embrace or shake hands with them.
When you talk with the monks or nuns, please do not mention the kill and marriage.
When you come to the Buddhist ceremony, please keep quiet or leave away.

3. The local food in Dengfeng is very delicious, but you'd better not eat street food, as it is not so healthy.

Admission Fee: CNY 110 (including CNY 10 for electric bus)
Opening Hours: 08:10 to 17:30
Recommended Time for a Visit: Two Hours

Related Link:

 Mt. Songshan  Private Tour: 
 Chinese Kungfu Tour

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