Friday, September 3, 2010

Mount Tai or Taishan (泰山)

After writing about Huashan(华山), in my heart I have the longing to write about Mount Tai or Taishan(泰山). I was there in 1994, where I stand on the highest peak in Mount Tai. At that time, there were few Malaysian visit Shangdong Province, it was not a popular tourist destination. When you stand at the peak, with the sea of clouds surround the mountain, you feel like what Confucius felt long time ago, after climbing up the Taishan, the world become small (登泰山而小天下), including oneself. But this is not Himalaya, Confucius is talking about ancient kingdom of Lu, the world at his era, not now. But you really feel like in heaven, when the clouds and mountains are around you, the feeling of greatness, of Taishan; the smallness of "I".

The thrill of climbing up the 18 bends, the coldness of night at the peak, the sea of cloud, and the disappointment of waiting for sunrise early in the morning; that is my experience in Taishan.

Map of Tai'an(泰安)and Taishan(泰山)

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Mt Tai((泰山)

Mount Tai or Taishan or Daishan(泰山) is a mountain of historical and cultural significance located in Shandong Province(山东省), China. The tallest peak of Mount Tai is the Jade Emperor Peak (玉皇顶,Yùhuáng Dīng), which is commonly reported as 1545 metres (5069 ft) tall, but is described officially by the Chinese government as 1532.7 metres (5028.5 ft). Mount Tai is located just north of the city of Tai'an(泰安)and to the south of the provincial capital Jinan(济南). It is also close to Qifu(曲阜), at the south of Taian, which is the birth place of Confucius. Mount Tai's south foot of mountain begins from Tai’an city and its north foot of mountain stops in Jinan City, the distance between which is 60kms.

Please do not confuse the English name of Taishan(泰山) with Taishan(台 山) or Toisan, which is the coastal county-level city in Guangdong Province, a city which is ancestral land of oversea Chinese, especially American Chinese in California. They are having different Chinese character. Mt Tai or Taishan at Shangdong Province is a mountain, Taishan at Guangdong Province is a coastal city.

Mount Tai has many names in ancient times,in ancient time it was known as Daizong(岱宗) which means the principal mountain of China(岱宗:万代山岳之宗). In Spring Autumn period, it changed the name to Taishan(泰山). Other names included Tashan(大山)、Taishan(太山)、Daishan(岱山)、Daiyue(岱岳)、Taidai(泰岱)、Dongshen(东盛)、Dongsheng(东神)、Dongdai(东泰)、Dongyue(东岳)、Dongshen(东圣)、Taiyue(泰岳). Never have a mountain with so many names. Dai means the primary, zong the senior; and yue the reverend. These respectful epithets denote Taishan’s supreme position among all mountains under Heaven.

Mount Tai has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987. In 2003, it attracted around 6 million visitors. A renovation project was completed by late October 2005, which aimed at restoring cultural relics and the renovation of damaged buildings of cultural significance.

The Five Sacred Mountain((五嶽 or 五岳)

Mount Tai or Taishan(泰山) is one of the "Five Sacred Mountains"(五嶽 or 五岳). It is also call Dongyue(东岳)or East Mountaiin. It is associated with sunrise, birth, and renewal, and is often regarded the foremost of the five(五岳之首). Mount Tai has been a place of worship for at least 3,000 years and served as the foremost ceremonial center for eastern China during large portions of the historical period.

The 5 Sacred Mountains(五嶽 or 五岳) are:-

1. Dongyue(东岳)or East - Mount Tai or Taishan(泰山) from Shangdong Province;
2. Nan Yue (南岳)or South- Mount Heng(衡山)of Hunan Province;
3. Xi Yue(西岳)or West- Mount Hua or Huashan(华山) of Shaanxi Province;
4. Beiyue(北岳)or North- Mount Heng or Hengshan (恒山) from Shanxi Province;
5. Zhongyue(中岳)or Central - Mount Song or Songshan(嵩山)of Henan province

The 5 sacred mountains(五岳) are also the 5 sacred mountains of Taoism or Daoism(道教名山). Coincidentally two of the mountains are with the same English name, due to pronunciation, Mount Heng; but in Chinese they are actually two different mountains, 衡山 & 恒山. Huashan(华山)is one of the most difficult and dangerous mountain among the 5 sacred mountains(“奇险天下第一山”之称). Within ancient philosophy the east is considered the most important, as it is where the sun rises and where the yin and the yang meet to create all forms of life in the universe; it is the place of hope, vitality and auspice. Mount Tai, therefore, was honored as leader of the five sacred mountains and always remained in this supreme position(五岳独尊,天下第一山; 泰山是中国五岳之首).

Mountains have been a prominent motif in the progress of Chinese civilization. They traditionally represent divinity and are believe to exist -- both in the spiritual and physical sense -- on Earth, in Heaven, and the nether world. Mountains, therefore, command great reverence within traditional Chinese culture.


Religious Significance(also Political)

Religious worship of Mount Tai has a tradition of 3,000 years, it has been practiced from the time of the Shang to that of the Qing Dynasty. Over time, this worship evolved into an official imperial rite and Mount Tai became one of the principal places where the emperor would pay homage to heaven (on the summit) and earth (at the foot of the mountain) in the Feng ( 封; Fēng) and Shan ( 禪; Shàn) sacrifices respectively. The two sacrifices are often referred to together as the Fengshan sacrifices (封禪). Carving of an inscription as part of the sacrifices marked the attainment of the "great peace". In 219 BC, Qin Shi Huang(秦始皇), the first Emperor of China, held a ceremony on the summit and proclaimed the unity of his empire in a famous inscription. During the Han Dynasty, the Feng and Shan sacrifices were considered the highest of all sacrifices.

泰安 - 泰山安,天下安,四海皆安,国泰民安之意!

Ancient emperors pay homage to Taishan, because they believed in the saying that " Taishan an,shi-hai jia an"(“泰山安,四海皆安”), which means "If Mount Tai is stable, so is the entire country". Even the name of the city at the foot of the Mountain is called Tai'an(泰安), which is attributed to that saying, both characters of Tai'an, Tai("泰") and An("安"), have the independent meaning of "peace". Tai(泰) literally means that the country is prosperous and people lead a peaceful and happy life. To control China, the peace of Taishan is necessary, as the ancient emperors believed. It was the symbol of power for emperors(being son of heaven), and immediately after the enthronement, they will begin the Fengshan sacrifices to Taishan. This is to obtain the blessing of Taishan, that the country and the people controlled by him will be in peace(国泰民安). No other mountain have the honor like Taishan.

Emperor Qinshihuang of Qin Dynasty, after unification of China , was the first emperor to pay homage to Taishan in 219 BC, the blessing of heaven and earth. It become a tradition for the future emperors, as symbol of confirmation for political power, and not merely religion ritual.

Cultural Significance

Taishan Mountain is one of the birthplaces of the ancient Chinese civilization along the Yellow River. Evidence of human activities includes two flourishing cultures -- the Dawenkou Culture(大汶口文化) to the north and the Longshan Culture(龙山文化) to the south of the mountain. Dawenkou Culture is a group of Neolithic communities who lived primarily in Shandong, but also appeared in Anhui, Henan and Jiangsu, China. The culture existed from 4100 BC to 2600 BC, co-existing with the Yangshao culture. The Longshan culture is named after the town of Longshan in the east of the area under the administration of the city of Jinan, Shandong Province, dating back to 3,000 to 2,000 BC. It is also the centre of Qilu culture(齊魯文化), one of the birthplaces of the ancient Chinese civilization. Thus Taisan Mountain is truly the birthplace of Chinese culture.

During the Warring States Period, a 500-kilometer-long wall was built from Taishan Mountain to the Yellow Sea. Scenic spots related to the famous ancient sage Confucius are the Confucian Temple, places where Confucius climbed Taishan Mountain and viewed the scenery, etc.

Mount Taishan was listed as the world natural and cultural heritage site in 1987 by UNESCO. It is also an UNESCO Geopark, a China National AAAAA Tourist Attraction and China National Important Landscape and Famous Scenery. In Mount Taishan Scenic Area, there are 156 grotesque peaks, 138 towering cliffs, 72 jagged rocks, 2500 stone inscription sites, 72 mysterious caves, 130 winding valleys, 64 deep pools, 72 charming springs, 41 historic sites, 13 historic tombs, 58 ancient buildings, tens of thousands of ancient and famous trees, 14 grottoes and rich cultural relic

The currently preserved 97 sites and 22 ancient building complexes provide materials for research into China's ancient architecture.

Taishan and Confucius


Confucius was born in Qufu(曲阜), not far from Taishan. He was very familiar with the mountain and the people that lived in the area. It is recorded that Confucius and his disciples often e traveling around the mountain. During his lifetime, he ascended Taishan several times, and the majesty and magnificence of the mountain purified his mind and sublimated his soul. He once exclaimed from the mountain summit, “The world is dwarfed when seen from Taishan(登泰山而小天下).” People today have the same uplifting experience on Taishan, where they can free themselves from earthly worry and desire about material gains and losses, as Confucius did 2,000 years ago. Taishan is as great a source of wisdom and spiritual support today as it was for Confucius. Its influence is apparent in his thinking and philosophy.

Rock inscriptions at Mount Tai(泰山石刻)

There are many inscriptions on the cliffs, rock carvings, and stone tablets. Stone carvings include the Buddhist Diamond Sutra in Jing Shi Valley, the Scripture of Mt. Tai and the Mo Ya Tablets.


Literature, poem, calligraphy and painting

Since ancient times, there have many poems and sayings praising Taishan Mountain. Poets and literary scholars of each dynasty visited Taishan Mountain. Numerous rock inscriptions and stone tablets bear testimony to such visits. Renowned scholars, including Confucius(孔子), Sima Qian(司马迁), Cao Zhi(曹植), Li Bai(李白), Du Fu(杜甫), composed poetry and prose and left their calligraphy on the mountain.

Confucius once said: "Standing on Taishan Mountain, one gets the feeling that the world below is suddenly belittled" (孔子的名言是“登泰山而小天下); Poetic Sage Tu Fu wrote: "I must ascend the mountain's crest; it dwarfs all peaks under my feet."(杜甫“会当凌绝顶,一览众山小")







The proverbs

In Chinese proverbs, people normally refer to Taishan as stability, e.g as stable as Taishan(“稳如泰山”)、as heavy as Taishan(“重如泰山”). This revealed the singificance of Taishan to the Chinese culture, Taishan signify greatness, stability. Even the great historian, Sima Qian(司马迁), had the quotation "Though death befalls all men alike, it may be weightier than Mount Tai or lighter than a feather"(“人固有一死,或重于泰山,或轻于鸿毛”). Life can be as heavy as Taishan to mean life is significance or have meaning.

"If you look down at the people of greatness, you are "having eyes but cannot recognize Taishan"(有眼不识泰山). Yǒu-yǎn-bù- shí- tàishān((有眼不识泰山) which translate as "having eyes but cannot recognize Taishan"(有眼不识泰山), it literally means you do not know the greatness or capability of the person in front of you.

Yī-yè-zhàng- mù,bù-jiàn-tài shān(“一叶障目,不见泰山”), this proverb means that leave cover the eyes, and cannot see the Taishan, ht eproverb means just because you see the small part, you cannot see the whole or big or complete picture.

The Chinese idiom, "Taishan bei-dou"(泰山北斗) which means "Mount Tai & Big Dipper" is an epithet for a person of great distinction.

Confucius said, "after climbing up the Taishan, the world become small"(孔子登泰山而小天下).

From the many Chinese proverbs, early Chinese were using Taishan to describe greatness and capability; Taishan is significance culturally in the eyes of Chinese, and to their civilization. Taishan is the spirit of China, and Chinese civilization.

Tourism significance

The beauty of the Mount Tai, like other Chinese mountain is in the combination of art and literature, with the natural surroundings. It included trees(松,柏) e.g cypress, locust, Pine Trees; Peaks(顶, 峰); temple(祠, 庙, 观, 寺,殿);Pavilion(亭), Gate & Arch(门); Cliff(崖); bridge(桥); Rock(石), clouds(云海) and sunset/sunrise, and the golden bend of Yellow River .... a natural art of Chinese ink painting....

In the different season of Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter; Taishan will reveal to you her different beauty in the four seasons. The locals divided the Taishan scenery views into 6 scenery areas, namely Quiet District(幽区)、Spacious District(旷区)、Abstruse District(奥区)、Wonderful District(妙区)、Elegant District(秀区)、Beauty Distric(丽区)(泰山风景旅游区包括幽区、旷区、奥区、妙区、秀区、丽区六大风景区).

Main scenery spots(主要景观)

遥参亭(Yao Sen Ting)、正阳门(Zheng Yang Men)、唐槐院、东御座、秦泰山刻石(Qin Scripture of Mt. Tai)、铜亭(Bronze Pavilion)、双龙池(Shuang Long Chi), 岱庙(Dai Miao),岱庙坊(Dai Zong Fang)、汉明堂(Han Ming Tang), 汉柏(Han Dynasty Cypresses)、天贶殿(Temple of hevenly blessing)、大众桥、五贤祠(Wu Xian Ci)、三阳观(San Yang Guang)、冯玉祥墓(Tomb of General Feng Yuxiang)、普照寺(Puzhao Temple)、虎山公园、王母池(Wang Mu Chi or Heavenly Queen Pool)、关帝庙(Guan Di Miao)、三叠瀑布、醉心石、对松山、中天门(Zhongtienmen,Midway Gate to Heaven,)、孔子登临处(Spot where Confucius visited), 望人松、斗母宫(Doumu ,mother of immortal dipper temple)、望仙楼、五大夫松(Five Doctor Pines)、十八盘(the Eighteen Mountain Bends)、壶天阁(yitian men)、舍身崖(Abandoning-Oneself Cliff),、天下第一山、白云洞(white cloud cave)、象鼻峰(elephant trunk peak)、无字碑(The Wordless Stela)、宋摩崖、丈人峰(father-in-law peak), 月观峰(Moon Viewing Peak)、仙人桥(The Immortal Bridg)、五岳独尊(Most Revered of the Five Sacred Mountains")、孔子庙(Confucius Temple)、天街(Heavenly street)、玉皇顶(Jade Emperor Peak)、碧霞祠(Bixia Temple)、南天门(Nantienmen, Nantien Gate,The South Gate to Heaven)、拱北石(north arching stone)、唐摩崖(Tangmo Cliff)、北天门(North Gate to Heaven or Beitienmen) 、大/小天烛峰(Big and small Heaven Candle Peak)、望天门、尧观顶、姊妹松(Sister Pine)、元君庙(Yuanjun temple)、三折瀑、天烛瀑、玉泉寺、后石坞(Hou Shi Wu)、青桐涧、竹林寺(Zhulin Temple)、无极庙(Wuji temple)、天胜寨、长寿桥(Longevity Bridge),白龙池(Bailong (white dragon) pool)、傲徕峰(Aolai peak)、扇子崖(Fan Cliff),黑龙潭(Heilong or Black Dragon Pool)、彩石溪、钓鱼台(fishing platform)、海眼、桃花峪(Peach Blossom Valley).

The ancient trees

Some of the trees in the area are very old and have cultural significance, such as the Han Dynasty Cypresses(汉柏), which were planted by the Emperor Wu Di, the Tang Chinese Scholar tree (about 1,300 years old), the Welcoming-Guest Pine (迎客松)(500 years old) and the Fifth-Rank Pine, which was named originally by the Emperor Qin Shi Huang, but was replanted about 250 years ago.

Temple of the God of Mount Tai - Dai Temple(岱庙)

The area around the Dai Miau or Dai Temple is known as Beauty Distric(丽区), which is at the foot of Mt. Taishan and the Taian city Tourist area, you can feel the Beauty of Taishan Mountain here without climbing it. Temple of Heavenly Blessing(天贶殿), Qin Taisan Rock Carving(秦泰山刻石),Han Dynasty Cypresses or Han Bai(汉柏), Bronze Pavilion(铜亭), The Double Dragons Pool(双龙池),Yao Sen Ting(遥参亭), Dai Temple(岱庙),Daizhong Fang(岱宗坊), Heavenly Queen Mother Pool(王母池),虎山公园, Confucius Arch or Spot where Confucius visited(孔子登临处),Guandi Temple(关帝庙), Puzhao Temple(普照寺), Five Saints Temple(五贤祠),汉明堂、San Yang Guang(三阳观) are the main spots.

The Temple of the God of Mount Tai, known as the Dai Temple (岱庙;Dàimiào), is the largest and most complete ancient building complex in the area. It is located at the foot of Mount Tai in the city of Tai'an and covers an area of 96,000 square meters. The temple was first built during the Qin Dynasty. Since the time of the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD), its design has been a replica of the imperial palace, which makes it one out of three extant structures in China with the features of an imperial palace (the other two are the Forbidden City and the Confucius Temple in Qufu).

The temple has five major halls and many small buildings. The centerpiece is the Palace of Heavenly Blessings or Tian Kuang(天贶殿), built in 1008, during the reign of the last Northern Song Emperor Huizong. The hall houses the mural painting "The God of Mount Tai Making a Journey", dated to the year 1009. The mural extends around the eastern, western and northern walls of the hall and is 3.3 metres high and 62 metres long. The theme of the painting is an inspection tour by the god. Next to the Palace of Heavenly Blessings stand the Yaocan Pavilion and the entrance archway as well as the Bronze Pavilion(铜亭) in the northeast corner. The Dai Temple is surrounded by the 2,100 year-old Han Dynasty cypresses(汉柏). Oldest surviving stair may be 6000 granite steps to the top of the sacred Tai Shan mountain in China

The site contains a number of well-preserved steles from the Huizong reign, some of which are mounted on bixi tortoises. There is a much later, Qianlong-era bixi-mounted stele as well.

Official website: Chinese)

To climb the Mountain(泰山登山)


Taian Raiway station is the transport hub of Taian City. It is advisable to take busses to the Railway Station and then transfer for various attractions. Visitors can take the Bus No.3 here, the two terminals of which are located at the base of Mount Taishan. One terminal is Tianwaicun(天外村) where travelers can board a bus that will travel up the mountain, while the other is Hongmen(红门) where visitors are able to ascend by foot. Bus No.4 passes by the railway station can reach the Dai Temple(岱庙), which is also a start point for hiking Mount Taishan. Bus No.16 departing from the railway station is a special tour line to the Peach Blossom Ravine((桃花峪). Special Tour Bus No.2 starts from the Taishan Railway Station traveling to Tianzhu Peak(天烛峰), where you can also begin a hike up Mount Taishan.

Please prepare CNY1 before you get on the bus. City-bus route should cost CNY1 per person (self-service ticketing). But always check for changes of bus fares.

Visitors can reach the peak of Mount Tai via a bus which terminates at the Midway Gate to Heaven, from there a cable car connects to the summit. Covering the same distance on foot takes from two and a half to six hours. The cableway from Zhongtian Gate to South Gate to Heaven: ¥80.00/single/person, ¥140.00/round-trip ticket/person

There are four main routes to the peak of Taishan, they are as follows:-

1.Touring route for Red Gate(红门登山路线) or East Route(泰山东路) or Imperial Route

The hiking route is known as Quiet District (幽区)

It is the main mountaineering route from ancient to today, and also the special way for emperors ascending Mount Tai. The route is from Daizong Fang - Red Gate Palace - Yitien men - Zhongtien men - Nantien men - Summit. This is Tang Imperial path taken by Emperor Gaozong. This is the main attraction of the climb, is the 7,200 steps of 9 km , leads to the East Peak of Taishan. Of these 7,200 steps, 6,293 steps are the official Mountain Walkway Steps, while the rest are steps within the inner temple. Along its course, there are 11 gates, 14 archways, 14 kiosks, and 4 pavilions.

From Yitien Men, the start of the winding road, there are 6,290 stone stairs which runs 5.5 kilometers long, through the mountain from the foot to the zenith looks like the axes of Mount Tai integrating earth, heaven and human as a whole and thus is a road for human beings to heaven. It is also a test of human perseverance.

(i) From Daizong Fang to Red Gate
The more popular east route starts from Taishan Arch. The relatively fit should allow a total of about 4-5 hour to reach the summit: 2 hours to the halfway point Zhong Tien Men, and another 2 hours to reach Nan Tian Men(南天门).

On the way up the 7,200 stone steps, the climber first passes the Ten Thousand Immortals Tower or Wanxianlou(万仙楼), Arhat Cliff (Luohanya), and Palace to Goddess Dou Mu or Doumugong(斗母宫).

The main hall of Daimiau(天贶殿), Qin Taisan Rock Carving(秦泰山刻石),汉柏,铜亭,王母池(Wang Mu Chi),虎山公园、 Confucius Arch or Spot where Confucius visited(孔子登临处), Guandi Temple(关帝庙)

(ii) Red Gate Palace to Zhong Tien Men
The climbing from the First Gate to Heaven or yitian men, the main entrance bordering on Tai'an town, up the entire mountain can take two and a half hours for the sprinting hiker (passing 99% of climbers]) to six hours for the leisure pace. Reaching the Midway Gate to Heaven(中天门) from First Gate to Heaven is one hour at a sprint up to two and a half hours leisurely. From Yitien Men, the start of the winding road, there are 6,293 stone stairs, the official Mountain Walkway Steps that runs 5.5 kilometers long until Nantien Men(including the 18 Bends).

To the northeast of the Palace to Goddess Dou Mu(斗母宫) is Sutra Rock Valley in which the Buddhist Diamond Sutra was cut in characters measuring fifty centimeters across believed to be inscribed in the Northern Wei Dynasty.

Red Gate Palace(红门宫),Ten Thousand Immortals Tower or Wanxianlou(万仙楼),Palace to Goddess Dou Mu or Doumugong(斗母宫), First Gate to Heaven or yitian men,

(iv) Zhongtien men to Nantien men
Zhongtian Gate(中天门), Yunbu Bridge(云步桥) which means stepping on the bridge just like walking in the sky or cloud; Five Gentlemen Pines(五大夫松), Guest Welcoming Pine(迎客松), Chaoyang cave or Sun facing cave(朝阳洞), the Eighteen Mountain Bends(十八盘), Shengxian Archway(升仙坊), Nantian Gate(南天门), 望人松,对松山, Jing Shi Valley, Hu Tian Pavilion

Scenic spots on the way: Daizong Archway or Dai Zong Fang(岱宗坊), Guandi Temple(关帝庙), Yitian Gate or Heavenly Tea-pot Tower(壶天阁), Confucius Arch or Spot where Confucius visited(孔子登临处), Red Gate Palace(红门宫), Ten Thousand Immortals Tower(万仙楼), monument to revolutionary martyrs, the inscription of Chinese characters for wind and moon have been written with their outside strokes omitted, symbolizing the boundlessness of the view, Temple of three views, Doumu (mother of immortal dipper) temple(斗母宫), Yuanjun(the highest title in Taoist) Temple(元君庙), Sutra Rocks Valley, Feng’an Monument, cave of cypress, Hutian Pavilion, Huima(the horse return back) Ridge(回马岭)(the ridge is so steep and dangerous that the horse must stop and return back),经石峪、中天门(Mid Heven Gate or Zhongtien Men)、云步桥(the Bridge of Cloud Footsteps)、五松亭(Five Pine Pavilion)、望人松、对松山、梦仙龛、升仙坊(Arch of Ascending Immortals)、十八盘(Sudden Eighteen Flights or 18 Bends

Ticket of Dai Temple: ¥20.
Ticket of Entering into Mount Tai : ¥125.00
Ticket of Red Gate Palace: ¥5.00

The Eighteen Mountain Bends(十八盘)

泰山有3个十八盘之说。自开山至龙门为“慢十八”,再至升仙坊为“不紧不慢又十八”,又至南天门为“紧十八”,共计1630余阶。“紧十八”西崖有巨岩悬空, 侧影似佛头侧枕,高鼻秃顶,慈颜微笑,名迎客佛。 十八盘岩层陡立,倾角70至80度,在不足1公里的距离内升高400米! 谷中上有南天门,下有升仙坊,由十八盘相连 

If you hike up the mountain by Red Gate or East Route. The most challenging and memorial event is climbing the eighteen mountain bends with the 1,633 stone steps, with 18 bends, between Shengxian Fang(升仙坊) and Nantien Men(南天门), when your legs will gradually become heavy, and unable to walk any further.

The final destination of the steps is the South Heaven Gate or Nantien men(南天门). The current winding mountain steps was built during Tang Dynasty(618-907), the road was a winding up the mountain slops, with vertical height of 400m, with 79 winds, totaling 1,633 stairs. This is the Taishan 18 Bends, the Ladder to Heaven.

The famous porters of Tai Shan.

The famous porters of Taishan have been carrying supplies and goods to the temples, restaurants, hotels and shops at the summits. For centuries, it was the family tradition of the porters, carrying the goods on their backs, climbing the winding steps of The Eighteen Mountain Bends(十八盘), as there are no roads to the summit. Some of their ancestors may have been the men who carried the emperors and dignitaries to the summit. The porter climbed one step at a time, with the balancing of the goods on their back, carefully climbing up the steps. With the weight to bear, he kept his eyes to the ground, concentrate on his steps, one step at a time, unnoticed of other people around, with one mind to reach the destination safely with the goods.

Today, the tradition still exists, the supplies for the many vendors along the road to the summit are carried up by porters either from the Midway Gate to Heaven or all the way up from the foot of the mountain. This is the fame porters of Taishan, a living heritage of people in Taishan.

2.The touring route of Tianwaicun(天外村)or west route(泰山西路)

This area is also known as Spacious District(旷区), the Western River area(西溪景区)

This is the most popular tourist route. The touring route of Tianwaicun(天外村) begins from Tianwaicun 自大众桥起有一条盘山公路,可以直达中天门and goes upstream along Huangxi River(黄西河) and passes 13 kilometers round hill roads to reach Zhongtian Gate(中天门). The route is mainly composed of natural landscape and intersperses some relics since it is vast area of Mount Tai. The route mainly use public transport, and this route is not suitable for people who like to walk up the mountain.

On both sides of the trail are elegant ridges and peaks, long deep valleys, high waterfalls, and clear streams. The main sights in this district are Huangxi River(黄西河/黄溪河), the Longevity Bridge(长寿桥), Wuji temple(无极庙), the Temple of the Celestial King of the Creation(元始天尊庙), the Fan Cliff(扇子崖),天胜寨、the Black Dragon Pool(黑龙潭) and the White Dragon Poll(白龙池).

The route consists of two sections:

(i) first section is round hill roads from the Heaven and earth Square to Zhongtian Gate(中天门) with entire journey of about 14 kilometers. The road only permits the special travel bus of Mount Tai to pass through. Take bus at the village outside celestial universe, you could reach to Zhongtian Gate directly. There are 3 stops: Heilong (Black Dragon) Pool(黑龙潭), Zhulin Temple(竹林寺), Huangxi River(黄西河). It takes about 30 minutes to Zhongtian Gate(中天门) You could get off the bus to have view at any of the three stops. Ticket for bus: (up) ¥20.00/person (down) 18.00/person

(ii) The second section is the cable trolley from Zhongtian Gate(中天门) to the summit and spans 2078 meters. Tourists could view the marvelous scenery of Mount Tai from this route. The cableway from Zhongtian Gate(中天门) to South Gate to Heaven(南天门): ¥80.00/single/person, ¥140.00/round-trip ticket/person

Scenic spots on the way: The heaven and earth square of Tianwaicun, reservoir of Heilong pool(黑龙潭), Bailong (white dragon) pool(白龙池), waterfall of Heilong pool(黑龙潭瀑布), Zhulin temple(竹林寺), Wuji temple(无极庙), fan-shaped cliff(扇子崖), Aolai peak(傲徕峰), Jiandai bridge(建岱桥), horse hoof valley, gingili oil bay, Shuntian bridge, heaven bridge, Zhongtian Gate(中天门),Tomb of General Feng Yuxiang (冯玉祥墓), Puzhao Temple(六朝古刹普照寺), Longevity Bridge(长寿桥).

3.The Route of Peach Blossom Valley(桃花峪)or Peach Blossom Ravine/Taohuagu

This area is also known as Elegant District (秀区). It is lying at the west foot of Mt. Taishan, it mainly includes the Taohuagu (peach blossom valley) Scenic Area and the YingtaoYuan (cherry garden) Scenic Area. It is a good place for people to spend their holiday and to have a rest. The area is full of singing birds, clear mountain streams, and the fragrance of flowers.

The best time to take this route is in spring and summer. The flourishing peach blossom, falling petals and limpid steams will make you feel like you are in heaven

Peach Blossom valley lies in the western foot of Mount Tai, the distance from entrance of Peach Blossom Valley to Peach Blossom Origin(Taohuayuan) is 13 kilometers. This is popular route for guided tour, with their own transport.

(i) Drive 5 kilometers from Tai’an city along the national highway NO. 104 and then get to Peach Blossom valley. You may travel by train to Peach Blossom Valley. At the Taishan Railway Station, you can take city-bus No.16. A cable car runs to Mount Taishan from here.

(ii) By bus. 5 stops: fishing platform, steel Buddha temple, creek of colorful stone, creek of red scale, plain of red rain. Tourists could get off the bus on any of them. Ticket for bus: (up) ¥20.00/person (down) 18.00/person. It take about 50 min by touring special bus

(iii) The cableway in Peach Blossom Valley(桃花源索道)to the summit of Mount Tai. The cable trolley from Zhongtian Gate to Nantian Gate: RMB80.00/single/person ticket, ¥ 140.00/round ticket/person
If you prefer walking, you could walk on foot on the 5.7 kilometers walking road in the Peach Blossom origin(桃花源)to satisfy your tendency of closing to nature.

Scenic spots on the way: Yuanjun temple(元君庙), fishing platform(钓鱼台), steel Buddha temple, colorful stones creek, red scales creek, red rain plain, yellow stone cliff, Parrot cliff, sliver of sky, Peach Blossom Valley(桃花峪)

4.The Route of Heaven Candle Peak or Tianzhu Peak Route(天烛峰)

This area is Abstruse District(奥区) - Hou Shi Wu(后石坞)

Abstruse District – centered on Shiwu石坞, this district has majestic peaks, rugged strangely-shaped stones, and astonishing old pines. In the background you can hear the singing of birds and smell the fragrance of flowers. The main spots are the Eight Immortals Cave(八仙洞), the Grandmother Temple(奶奶庙), Big Tianzhu Peak and Small Tianzhu Peak or Heaven Candle Peak(大/小天烛峰), and the Lotus Cave(莲花洞).

It is also a better way to appreciate the pine trees in Hou Shi Wu(后石坞)(a spot where most of the old pine trees are growing). The most surprising natural scenery are pines growing among the rocks including the mandarin duck pine(鸳鸯松), the lying dragon pine(卧龙松), the flying dragon pine(飞龙松), the sister pines(姊妹松), and the candle flame pine(烛焰松)


到了玉皇顶,继续向北,经过电台、丈人峰(father-in-law peak)则到了北天门(Beitien men)。北天门(Beitien men),在这里有一条路是通向后石坞的,也就是天烛峰的下山路,这里还有后石坞索道。不走后石坞的路,继续延原路穿过北天门,可以到达东西两个尧观顶。从南天门到玉皇顶有0.8km,玉皇顶到北天门估计0.5km,北天门到两个尧观顶都不到0.3km。而从玉皇顶下到后石坞有1.5km。总体上,岱顶是一个环,从南天门有两条路可以到北天门,一条经过桃花源索道后直到北天门,一条则是经过天街绕到玉皇顶后再到北天门,大家应根据自己的要求走准路线。



Just as its name implies, Tianzhu Peak(天烛峰) was named because it is shaped like a candle, with a pine tree standing on top like a flame. The unpopular route, more difficult with sloping path, but with natural scenery. It is shorter route. If you want an original and ancient route without only natural surrounding, this is the route to take. Start from the eastern suburb of Taian city, walk northward along Taifo Road to Saozhou Valley at Aiwa Village.

Summit of Mount Tai or Taishan(Dai Ding(岱顶)

The area at the Summit of Mt Taishan(岱顶游览区) is also known as Wonderful District(妙区). It is the top of Taishan Mountain. Walking up through the Quiet District(幽区), past the Sudden Eighteen Flights(十八盘), you finally reach the South Heaven Gate(南天门), and there you step into the Wonderful District(妙区)of Mt. Taishan. Here you can feel the great spirit of Mt. Taishan for yourselves. The South Heaven Gate(南天门), the Moon-Viewing Peak(月观峰), the Heaven Street(天街), the White Cloud Cave(白云洞), the Confucius Temple(孔子庙),Azure Cloud Temple(碧霞祠), Tangmo Cliff(唐摩崖), the Peak of Jade Emperor(玉皇顶), Explore the Sea of Clouds Rock(探海石),Sun-Viewing Peak(日观峰), and Lu-Viewing Platform(瞻鲁台), are the main scenic spots of this district.

泰山妙区自泰山幽区一路拾级而上。过了十八盘,登上南天门,就进入了泰山妙区,即岱顶游览区。除了深切的感受大自然的造化和先人留下的遗迹外,真正的体会一下:一览众山小的伟大气魄。妙区的主要景观有:南天门、月观峰、天街、白云洞、孔子庙、碧霞祠、唐摩崖(Tangmo Cliff)、玉皇顶、探海石、日观峰、瞻鲁台等。

Jade Emperor Peak(玉皇顶) is the top of the main peak of Taishan Mountain. It's named after the Jade Emperor Temple(玉皇庙) on the mountain top. Located in the north of Azure Cloud Temple(碧霞祠), the peak is the tallest point of Taishan Mountain. It was formerly called "Peace Peak" or "Tianzhu Peak". There's no way to verify when the Jade Emperor Temple was first built, but it is certain that the temple was reconstructed during the Chenghua Period of the Ming Dynasty. The main buildings of the temple include the Jade Emperor Hall, Sunrise Pavilion, Riverview Pavilion, side chambers in the east and west etc. A bronze statue of the Jade Emperor is enshrined in the temple. The horizontal board above the altar is inscribed "chaiwang yifeng" (meaning "offering some firewood and praying to gods for protection of the country"), indicating that ancient emperors conducted sacrificial rituals here by burning some firewood as they prayed to gods of mountains and rivers for protection. In front of the temple, there is a "top rock", marking the highest point of the Taishan Mountain. In the northwest of the rock stands the stone inscription of "ancient ascending terrace", indicating it used to be the place emperors of all dynasties set altars for heaven worshiping. The East Pavilion is an ideal place for sunrise watching and the West Pavilion is a vantage point for viewing "the Gold Belt of the Yellow River"(黄河金带).

Among the tablets and inscriptions on the top of Mount Tai, the inscription that declares Mount Tai the "Most Revered of the Five Sacred Mountains" or Wuyue Duzun(五岳独尊 or 五嶽獨尊) on the "Sun Viewing Peak" (日观峰, Rìguān Fēng) is particularly renown. It was written by a member of the Aisin Gioro clan (爱新觉罗玉构; Àixīn Juéluō Yùgòu) in 1907 and is featured on the reverse side of the 5 yuan bill of the 5th series renminbi banknotes. Another inscription marks the "Lu-Viewing Platform" (瞻鲁台; Zhānlǔ tái) from which Confucius(孔子)took in the view over his home state of Lu(鲁)and then pronounced "The world is small"(登泰山而小天下).

The Wordless Stela (Chinese: 无字碑; pinyin: Wúzì Bēi) stands in front of the Jade Emperor Temple. Legend has it that the emperor who commissioned the stela was dissatisfied with the planned inscription and decided to leave it blank instead.

岱顶又称泰山的妙区,其实不是很大。上到南天门以后,左手是月观峰(Moon Viewing Peak),登上月观峰可以看到岱顶的全景,推荐天好的话一定要上去看看,不要错过,这样你会对于整个岱顶有完整的认识。出南天门右手就是天街(Hevenly Street)的牌坊,正对着还有一条路,这条路走到底就是桃花源索道(Peach Blossom Valley cableway),所以很多旅行团就是从这里出来的。这条路再拐弯下去直到北天门那里。顺天街那条路一直走就到碧霞祠(Bixia Temple or Azure Clouds Temple)路上有一个岔口,是到孔子庙(Confucius Temple)的,这条路不经过碧霞祠,但是会在饶过碧霞祠以后和原路汇合。顺此路向右是瞻鲁台和日观峰,瞻鲁台(Lu-Viewing Platform") 和日观峰(Sun Viewing Peak)也有路在另一侧相同;顺此路向左即直上玉皇顶了。日观峰峰北有巨石横出,名拱北石,又名探海石。石长6.5米,北西8度,与地面夹角为30度。

岱顶的景点,玉皇顶是最高点(注意:标着高度的牌子在玉皇庙里面),日观峰(Sunrise Watching Peak). 朝东是观日处,探海石也在上面,而瞻鲁台和日观峰相连,位置朝西。要走过北天门才到尧观顶,那里相对较偏,人少,但景色绝美。

. Sunrise(日出) and the sea of cloud(云海)

Catching the sunrise is a popular activity, it is one of the wonder of Taishan, but requires nighttime hiking or sleeping at the top. The sunrise of Taishan is beautiful, I have wait up early in morning, yet failed to see the sunrise. There is a nice 3-star hotel called Shenqi Binguan(神憩賓館) which is situated just below the top of the mountain. You can choose to stay overnight there and get up at 4:15am to see the sunrise. North arching stone(拱北石)is an ideal place to see sunrise.

However, because of weather condition, the chance of successfully seeing the sunrise is only 10%. If you failed to see the sunrise, the chances are there are sea of clouds. The clouds at Taishan is equally amazing, another wonder of Taishan.

There are four marvelous spectacles in Mount Tai Summit(岱顶四大奇观), namely sunrise watching on the peak(旭日东升), shine of sunset(晚霞夕照), Yellow River watching in sunshine(黄河金带), and sea of cloud(云海玉盘).

The song about Mt Taisan

In 1987, Canadian progressive rock band Rush put out the Hold Your Fire album, containing the song "Tai Shan." The song was about drummer and lyricist Neil Peart's journey to Mount Tai.


Sun Viewing Peak Hotel(日观峰宾馆), Air Force Guest House(空军招待所), South Gate Under Heaven Hotel (南天门宾馆), 三星级Shenqi Binguan or Shenqi Hotel(神憩賓館), 岱顶天街还有一家一星级的仙居宾馆

Related articles/websites

1.Taishan Official website,
3. Chinese)
5. 泰山后石坞被狗惊吓记,
6. 游客泰山失踪百人搜索 最后发现在西安欲出家,
7. 泰山后石坞,
8. 泰山后石坞,

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