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Hengshan Mountain - a mountain for all seasons
Latest Updated by 2006-02-13 17:53:46
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CHINESE birthday wishes go for happiness as boundless as the sea and longevity equal to that of the mountains. If the wishes had to get into specifics, a likely choice would be Hengshan Mountain, one of China's five best-known mountains.

Located in Hengyang, Hunan Province, Hengshan Mountain, meandering 400 kilometers, enjoys the good weather of the south along with snow in winter. Appreciating flowers in spring, clouds in summer, sunrise in autumn and snow in winter is the specialty of the four seasoning landscape of the mountain.

The Spring Festival family outings with joss sticks and prayers for good luck in the new year are over, but the beauty of spring flowers is just starting to attract climbers.

Hengshan Mountain, known as the sea of flowers, forests, clouds and snow, is also a natural biological treasury, with 1,700 kinds of tree species, 600 kinds of flowers, 240,000 square kilometers' forests and wildlife animals, such as foxes, wild boars and pangolins.

Zhurong Peak, the highest of the mountain's 72 peaks, is 1,290 meters. Wei Yuan, a famous Qing Dynasty scholar once remarked the feeling of standing on the peak of the mountain as flying.

From foot to peak, the mountain delights climbers, poets and religious pilgrims with its trees, stones, rushing streams and waterfalls ingeniously ordered by nature. "I climb step by step. I enjoy fresh air and the tranquil environment. I am in a good mood as I find beautiful mountains and rivers. So I understand why Hengshan Mountain blesses one's long life," said a 70-year-old climber.

Hengshan Mountain has been seriously appreciated for at least 4,000 years. Back then, Emperor Yu of the Xia Dynasty (2033-1562 B.C.) worshipped the mountain and burned incense on its peak as a sign of respect. In the Song Dynasty (960-1279), Emperor Song Huizong presented the mountain with the inscription "Great Hengshan Mountain." Following in the emperor's footsteps, poets and scholars have engraved their thoughts on the stones of the mountain for future climbers to read.

Fantastic poems carved on stones and in caves fill a poem forest in the middle of the mountain, part of Hengshan Mountain's lure as an "intelligent mountain."

The mountain is home to the temples of both Buddhism and Taoism. Every August, thousands of pilgrims of the two religions start at Nanyue Temple at the foot of the mountain, where they read religious scriptures to purify their spirits. Wearing straw sandals, they then climb to the temple at the top of the mountain. A mountain for all seasons, Hengshan Mountain attracts a growing number of worshippers each year.

Admission: 80 yuan

Getting there: Fly to Changsha and take a two-hour bus to the resort, or take a train to Hengyang and transfer to the shuttle bus to the resort. You can also drive directly to the resort for about six hours
 from Shenzhen.

Where to stay: There are several hotels on or at the foot of the mountain. 100-400 yuan per night.

Editor: Wing

By: Source: Szdaily web edition
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