Historic villas, forest trails and cool mountain peaks have been drawing people to Mount Lushan hideaway for more than 100 years. The misty clouds blanket the lush forests and provide a mystical scene.
The peaks of Mount Lushan in northern Jiangxi Province have long been a magnet for the spiritual, the rich and famous, the learned and powerful. Although wet, cold and misty for more than 200 days, Mount Lushan's wooded slopes offer cool repose for those escaping the summer
Dahanyang Peakheat in the ancient city of Jiujiang in the south and the lowland valley areas of Yangtze River in the north.
Once you set eyes on the scenic landscape of Mount Lushan, you will understand why people keep coming back. Of the some 99 peaks, Dahanyang Peak stands tallest at 1,474m. Peaks aside, there are gorges, waterfalls, overhanging cliffs, lakes, verdant forests and amazing bird life. No wonder eminent poets of every dynasty have eulogized the natural beauty of Mount Lushan.
Mount Lushan's famous summer resort boasts beautiful late 19th century colonial villas, the private retreats of European merchants and Christian missionaries who made the mountain their summer home. At one time there were about 2,000 such residences, and some of China's most powerful landowners and political figures including Chiang Kaishek, made Mount Lushan their summer abode.
The mansions are concentrated in the mountain town of Guling, located in Lushan Park. From June through September, thousands oftourists flock to these architectural abodesto catch a glimpse of a bygone era.
One picturesque route is the Brocade Valley's 1.6km trail on thesoutheast bank of Zither Lake, which is shaped like the harp-likemusical instrument. This steep, narrowpath, no more than shoulder wide, is huggedby peaks and valleys, all of which paints suchmoving scenery that it inspired the brushesof landscape artists for centuries.
This trail, famed for its 99 bends, boasts the Immortal Cave a rockchamber on the edge of a precipice, withinwhich bubbles a natural spring. Taoist prieststransformed this remote cave into theirtemple, replete with a huge stone shrine,altars and scriptures carved onto the rockywalls. Legend has it that LÃ¼ Dongbin, one ofthe eight Taoist immortals, was granted asword by a fire-breathing dragon here. Withthis celestial weapon, he vanquished alldemons and became immortal.
Apart from Taoism, Buddhism also left its mark on Mount Lushan, which became the epicenter of Buddhism in China at the time of the Eastern Han dynasty. A major temple that survived the Cultural Revolution is the Temple of Eastern Grove founded by Huiyuan in AD 391. His influential teachings eventually spread to Japan. Over 300 Buddhist and Taoist temples remain scattered on Lu Shan's slopes, as well as several churches and mosques. These flourished as a result of the steady influx of foreigners and missionaries.
At Mount Lushan, each manmade pagoda, temple, pavilion or monument has rich historical and cultural resonance, but nature has also left a beautiful gift at the foot of the mountain, Poyang Lake. The biggest freshwater lake in China, Poyang's extensive surface is littered with thousands of boats and hosts one of the most notable migratory bird reserves in China. Since 1996, Mount Lushan has ranked amongst UNESCO's prestigious list of World Heritage Sites.
A stone's throw away is People's Hall now converted intoa museum. Also known as Mount Lushan Conference Site, it was at meetings here in 1959 and1970 that Chairman Mao changed the courseof China's history.
Between Guling and Embracing Lake Poyang Archway is Lulin Lake, which is a good place to start excursions to Three Ancient Trees and the Yellow and Black Dragon Pools and its five gorgeous waterfalls. Follow the cement paths for a pleasant daylong hike.
Beside the lake is the Former Residence of Mao Zedong, which houses the Mount Lushan Museum. Religion, geography,Communist and natural history can all befound under one roof. You can find archivalpictures of visiting dignitaries as well as aneducational collection of impaled insects.
East of the museum is the Monument of Mao Zedong's Poems, where Mao's owncomposition and favorite verses are inscribed on huge slabs of granite.East of the museum is the Botanical Gardens, which has a staggering 3,000 native alpine and tropical flora specimens on exhibit. South of the Botanical Gardens, a short taxi ride away, is Embracing Lake Poyang Archway, where you can catch the sun rising over Poyang Lake and southern Yangtze Valley. The sun rises at 5amin the summer and 7amin the winter.
Mount Lushan Memorable Experience
Trekking along the narrow trail to Sandiequan Falls early in the morning.
Enjoying a leisurely picnic near Lulin Lake, where Mao used to swim.
Savoring Mount Lushan's specialty Cloud and Misttea, brewed with natural spring water from the mountain.