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Mt. Hengshan

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Mt. Hengshan, also called “Ziyue”, “Hengzong” or “Changshan Mountain”, is the northern one of the five famous mountains in China, its highest peak having an altitude of 2017 meters.

Mt. Hengshan has long been the place for Taoist activities. The legend has it that Zhang Guolao, one of the eight famous Taoist immortals in Chinese mythology, secluded himself and practiced Taoism right on the mountain.

Hengshan features beautiful scenery. Here, differently-shaped ridges and peaks, steep and precipitous cliffs, grotesque and fantastic caves, dense and verdant trees, wreathing and mysterious clouds, gurgling streams, and all kinds of singing birds—all are so fascinating.

Tianfeng Hill and Cuiping Hill stare at each other soulfully, their escarpments and verdant trees seeming evidently divided and picturesque. Golden Dragon Gorge, situated between the two hills, looks deep and dusky, the narrowest point being less than ten meters wide. The gorge has been a natural barrier of strategic importance long since. In the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127), it was in the gorge that General Yang Ye and his sons guarded against the invaders from the Liao Dynasty.

Other scenic spots such as Guolao Hill, Sisters-in-Law Cave, Flying Stone Cave, Huanyuan Cave, Tiger Wind Gap, and Big Character Sinus are full of mysterious color. Besides, the most fantastic natural wonder is the Sweet and Bitter Wells in the halfway of Henshang Mountain. The two wells are only a meter away from each other, but their water quality is totally different. One well’s water is sweet, cool and refreshing, while the other’s too bitter to drink. The Sweet Well is only several feet deep; however, its water is surprisingly inexhaustible. In the Tang Dynasty (618-907), Emperor Li Longji once named it as “Dragon Spring View”.

The pines on Mt. Hengshan are grotesquely shaped, especially the four pines called “four great men” which date back to the Tang Dynasty. These four pines stand straight proudly and elegantly, their roots peculiarly hanging out but clinging firmly to rocks.

Beiyuan Temple is situated on the West Hill and conceals itself among dark green pines.   And Hanging Temple is regarded as “the first view of Mt. Hengshan”. The proverb “Hanging Temple is just like three horsetails in the midair” best describes its image.

The clouds here are changeful and capricious. Clouds Out Cave is just a case in point. When it is clear and sunny, the entrance of the cave will remain quiet as usual; when it is rainy, white clouds will blow gently and continuously out of the entrance, making it a fairyland.