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Home Travel in Shanxi Mount Hengshan: One of the Five Sacred Mountains
Mount Hengshan: One of the Five Sacred Mountains
Travel in Shanxi

                  Mount hengshan

Mt. Hengshan
(héng shān 恒山), known as the northernmost of the "Five sacred Mountains" (wǔ yuè 五岳), is located about 60 kilometres south of Datong (dà tóng 大同), Shanxi Province (shān xī shěng 山西省). In the east, it links with the Mt. Taihang (tài háng shān 太行山), and to the north, it faces the vast plateau. In the past, people called Mt. Hengshan "A Fort Guarding the North Borders" (rén tiān běi zhù 人天北柱), because of its magnificence and wonder. Mt. Hengshan attracts visitors by its natural sceneries and man-made landscaping.

According to Chinese history, Emperor Shun (shùn dì 舜帝) (2372 BC) visited Mt. Hengshan and impressed by its sight, therefore, he proclaimed it the "North Mountain" (běi yuè 北岳). Many emperors and famous people also toured Mt. Hengshan. Xu Xiake (xú xiá kè 徐霞客), the renowned traveller in Ming Dynasty (míng cháo 明朝) (1368-1644), came to Mt. Hengshan and left behind Hengshan-inspired writings.

Zhang GuolaoHistorically, Mt.Hengshan has been a place for Taoist (dào jiào 道教的) activities. Based on the legend, Zhang Guolao (zhāng guǒ lǎo 张果老), one of the Eight Immortals (bā xiān 八仙) in Chinese Taoist mythology, once secluded himself on Mt. Hengshan, where he continues to follow the teachings of Taoism.

In addition, Mt. Hengshan was an ancient battleground before. As the bottleneck to Central Hebei Plain (hé běi píng yuán 河北平原), many emperors and generals considered Mt. Hengshan in national defence planning. Lots of ancient battlefield passes, fortresses, castles and towers still exist on Mt. Hengshan, which make it unique among other mountains.

Mt. Hengshan is the temperate semiarid continental climate. Annual average temperature is 6.1 degree. It features distinct four seasons, cold-dry winters, windy springs, short rainy summers, and short sunny autumns. The temperature between daytime and at night is different.

Top Attractions
Hanging Monastery (xuán kōng sì 悬空寺)
Henging Monastery
Haning Monastery was constructed in Northern Wei Dynasty (běi wèi 北魏) (386-534). It located on the high cliff and hemmed in by a precipice on either side. To see from the bottom, the temple was supported by dozens of wooden pillars. Through a bridge, people can reach the temple by a stone staircase that has been chiselled into the cliff. Inside the monastery, the structure is half-house and half-cave. Main halls are linked by winding corridors, bridges, and boardwalks, which provides a truly experience of hanging monastery for visitors. The proverb "Haning Monastery is just like three horsetails in mid-air" best describes the overall image of the temple.

Three sculpturesThere are 80 collections in the temple, including statues in bronze, iron, terracotta and stone. In addition, it is rare to see that the sculptures of Lao-Tzu (lǎo zǐ 老子), Confucius (kǒng zǐ 孔子), and Sakyamuni (shì jiā móu ní 释迦牟尼), the founders of the three main religions of China: Taoism (dào jiào 道教), Confucianism (rú jiào 儒教), and Buddhism (fó jiào 佛教), respectively. This reflects the ideas of universal, or cross-sectarian, religious understanding and cooperation.

Beiyue Temple (běi yuè miào 北岳庙)
Beiyue Temple, namely, the Shrine of the Northern Peak was built on Mt. Hengshan’s Slopes during the Ming Dynasty. It situated on West Hill and is the only Taoist temple on the mountain.

Tianfeng Summit (tiān fēng lǐng 天峰岭)
Tianfeng summitTianfeng Summit is the highest peak on Mt. Hengshan that reaches an altitude of 2017 meter (6,617 feet). Stand on the top of the mountain, visitors will see endless pine trees on the north side, along with rocks, flowers, herbs and odd-shaped stones. Many emperors’ worships still stud on the south side of the summit.

Sweet and Bitter Wells (tián kǔ quán 甜苦泉)

Sweet and bitter wellsThe Sweet and Bitter Wells is the most fantastic natural wonder of Mt. Hengshan. Although just a meter separates them as two wells, the water of them tastes totally different. The water of one well is “sweet” with a cool and refreshing taste, while the other is “bitter” with an unpleasant aftertaste. Moreover, despite the Sweet Well is only a few feet deep, its waters are inexhaustible. Emperor Xuanzong (táng xuán zōng 唐玄宗) in Tang Dynasty (CE 618-907) named it as "Dragon Spring View" (lóng quán guān 龙泉观).

Golden Dragon Gorge (jīn lóng xiá 金龙峡)
The ten-meter-wide Golden Dragon Gorge looks menacing from above, so deep is the gorge and so narrow at its base. In ancient time, the gorge took the role as a natural defence barrier with an important military function. The most famous case was during the Northern Song Dynasty (běi sòng 北宋) (CE 960-1127), when General Yang Ye (yáng yè 杨业) and his sons managed to hold back invaders from the neighbouring Liao Dynasty (liáo cháo 辽朝) (CE 916-1125), by using Golden Dragon Gorge as their defence line.

Opening Time: 8:00-18:00

Entrance Fee: CNY 30
Temples: CNY 35
Hanging Monastery: CNY 60
Cableways: CNY 30(up), CNY 25(down), CNY 45 (round-trip)

Take the regular bus from the city of Datong (dà tóng 大同) to Hunyuan County (hún yuán xiàn 浑源县). The fare is CNY 15.

1) Minimum recommended time: 1 day.
2) The best visit time is spring and summer.
3) Bring a coat in case of the low temperature in the morning and evening.
4) The Hengshan Mountain of Shanxi Province should not be confused with the Hengshan Mountain of Hunan Province.