Sanqing Mountain
    2011-01-07 10:34:03     CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Duan Xuelian
With its exceptional beauty, the mountain is acclaimed as a gift of nature.
Sanqing Mountain is located in the city of Shangrao in northeastern Jiangxi province. With its exceptional beauty, the mountain is acclaimed as a gift of nature and offers an excellent destination for people longing for a refreshing retreat from the hustle and bustle of urban life.

Sanqing Mountain occupies an important position in the history of Taoism. Having witnessed the development of Taoism in China for more than 1600 years, it's regarded as one of the most sacred Taoist shrines in the country with Taoist buildings scattered around the mountain area.

Taoism began to develop on the mountain in the fourth century, when a Taoist sage named Ge Hong arrived here to cultivate himself and make longevity pills. Later, more Taoist followers came here as the beautiful and tranquil mountain was considered to be a perfect place for practicing Taoism and seeking immortality.

More than 1,000 years ago during the Tang Dynasty, Taoism was revered by Chinese emperors as a national religion, so it flourished all over the country. A great number of Taoist buildings were constructed on Sanqing Mountain in the following centuries, turning it into a Taoist center in southern China and a treasure trove of the Taoist culture. With its rich historical remains, the mountain is known as an open-air museum of Taoism.

As a Taoist resort, Sanqing Mountain attracts many pilgrims and visitors every year, but it proves more popular with tourists for its overwhelming natural beauty. The mountain is believed to have the most unique and magnificent granite landscape in China.

The region surrounding the mountain boasts a geological evolutionary history of one billion years. Throughout its ancient history, the region went through constant and violent geological movements, which have sculpted the area into a wondrous landform of imposing peaks, steep precipices, deep gorges and spectacular rock formations. The view is so fantastic that visitors may feel like they have entered a wonderland. All they have to do is to marvel at the magical power of Mother Nature.

Due to its rich geological resources and high value for scientific research, in 2005 Sanqing Mountain was classified by the state as a national geopark. Experts say the mountain area offers a natural museum for geological studies.

But in fact, even before it received the honor, the mountain's awe-inspiring scenery had already made it one of the most famous tourist destinations in Jiangxi province.

Although a mountain, Sanqing is often referred to as a sea C its a sea of lofty peaks, fantastically shaped rocks, mystical clouds, verdant forests and of blooming flowers.

Covering an area of 700 square kilometers, Sanqing Mountain is composed of a large number of gorgeous granite peaks with distinctive shapes. Many of them are over 1,000 meters above sea level. Because of the mountain's high altitude and rainy, humid climate, most of the towering peaks are magically shrouded in ever-changing clouds and mists all year round, creating a mysterious view.

Yujing Peak, rising more than 1,800 meters above sea level, is the highest peak of the mountain. To its north stand two other towering peaks, both over 1700 meters high. Seen from afar, the three highest peaks look like three people sitting and talking together.

Li Hua from the Sanqing Mountain Management Committee tells us that the name of the mountain derives from the three peaks: "The mountain is named Sanqing. In Chinese, san means three, and qing stands for purity. Sanqing is a holy Taoist mountain. It has three main peaks standing side by side. In ancient times, Taoist followers believed the three highest peaks represented the three most revered deities in Taoism. As the names of the three deities all include the character Qing, the mountain was therefore named Sanqing, indicating the three Taoist deities."

Climbing to the mountain top will reward visitors with a panoramic view of the mountain's breathtaking landscapes. But the hike itself will no doubt be a tiring journey and demands a dose of courage since many parts of the peaks are very steep. For those who don't want to wear themselves out climbing, a cable car is available to carry them to the summits that present the best views.

If you decide to stay the night at the top of the mountain, you'll see a spectacular sunrise the next morning, which is one of the mountain's many natural wonders. The red sun slowly slides its way out from between layer upon layer of cloud, bathing half of the sky in fresh pastel hues. At this time of the morning, the summit is always crowded with people, each holding a camera in hand to capture the beautiful moment.

The unique rock formations are another natural wonder of Sanqing. Granite rock forests, rock columns and stone statues can be found everywhere on the mountain. It's said there is no peak on the mountain without marvelous rocks.

As a result of geological evolution and natural erosion, the rocks have been molded into various fascinating shapes, turning the mountain into a gallery of rock sculptures. Their fanciful shapes have inspired many interesting names such as Spring Goddess Combing Hair, Jade Maiden Welcoming Guests and Monkey King Presenting Gifts. If you look at these rocks from the right angle, they do live up to their names. Nature's artful hand has sculptured the lifeless stones into fantastic natural pieces of art.

Besides its magnificent peaks and wonderful rock formations, Sanqing Mountain is also a paradise for wild plants and animals. About 80 percent of the mountain area is covered with primeval forests, which provide a haven for more than 2,000 types of flora and fauna. Dozens of them are rare species that have been put under state-level protection.

Among the many plant species, the intriguingly shaped pine trees and blooming azalea flowers are considered to be some of the greatest attractions of the mountain.

Tens of thousands of century-old pine trees are growing on the mountain slopes and perilous peaks. Unlike the pines we see in many other areas which are usually tall and straight, most of the pines on Sanqing Mountain have twisted and gnarled branches due to long exposure to wind and rain. Their unusual shapes have given each pine a special beauty. 

Sanqing mountain presents a beautiful view in all seasons. But for people who are fond of azalea flowers, late spring and summer are the best time to visit the mountain, as the azaleas are in full bloom during this period, turning the whole mountain area into a sea of colorful blossoms.

Thanks to its unique geological landforms and unparalleled natural beauty, in 2008, Sanqing Mountain was listed by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage site. 
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