Qingyuan Mountain, as a symbol of Quanzhou City, has a stronger historical and cultural atmosphere than other attractions. First developed in the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BC), Qingyuan Mountain thrived in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), and peaked in the Song and Yuan Dynasties (960-1368). Centuries of development has left a large number of cultural relics and historic sites, among which the Lao Jun statue and Jiuri Mountain Pray-for-Wind Stone Inscriptions of the Song Dynasty are the most famous.
Qingyuan Mountain enjoys many glistering titles including “Famous Mountain in China”, “China's Natural and Cultural Heritage”, “China's AAAAA Scenic Spot” and the “Holy Place of Taoist”. There is a saying that “Travelling around China and enlightening by Taoism in Qingyuan”. Qingyuan Mountain National Park protects a total area of 62 km2, including three major scenic features, the namesake Mount Qingyuan, and Mount Ling and Mount Jiuri, with the main peak measuring 498 m. Endowed with warm and humid climate, Qingyuan Mountain is warm in winter and cool in summer. It is a good place for tour all the year round.
Admission: RMB 30 for entrance, RMB 15 for Lao Jun Statue, RMB 15 for Gracious Rock; RMB 50 for package tour, RMB 80 for annual ticket.
Transportation: Accessible by Special Line 601 or minibus Line 3.
As soon as I arrived at the entrance, I could see Lao Jun statue, where no traces of temples or nunneries were found. Only two Taoist priests sit leisurely beside a tree. “Are they immortals from the heavenly palace or temples hidden in the mountain? I don't know.” Different from statues of Lao Jun I saw in the past, Lao Jun statue sits beside a giant stone saying “Taoism Best in the World (also meaning ‘I’m the king of the world’)”.
I assumed that Laozi may love the stone but not words on it.
The entrance of Lao Jun statue is designed in the ideas of Tao Te Ching and the Taoist culture, representing in every detail elements of Daoism and Taoism. Inspired by Taijitu (the figure of Yin and Yang), the vestibule consists of upper and lower platforms connected by three steps, following the rules of Daoism. Both platforms are built with black and white rocks, with two pieces of inscriptions set in the position of “fish eye”, adding the finishing touch.
Maitreya Rock, Thousand-Hand Rock and Mthu-chen-thob Rock were my next destinations, each enlightening you with varied architectural styles and cultural richness.
As I went on, I arrived at “Dragon-Sighting Platform”, which is renowned for Lv Dongbin (an immortal in Chinese literature). As the legend goes, the Queen Mother of the West is planning a grand peach banquet, and many immortals are invited, Lv also included. On his tour to the banquet, Lv sees purple air coming from the east like a dragon in Qingyuan Mountain. When he ascends a height, he captures the statue of Lao Jun in radiant brilliance, and cries out “Dragon” in extreme excitement. The steps left by him have since been named “Footprints of Immortal”, and the giant stone where he stops for a view becomes the famous “Dragon-Sighting Platform”.
At this point, I planned to reach the peak through roads less travelled. As first, roads were accessible, but then it got increasingly difficult to walk, and I had to seek support against branches of big trees. Since there was no way for me to move on after a pile of stones, I had to turn back and find another way toward the top. The road down was much tougher, and it was lucky for me to come down safe without fall. On my way down the mountain, I could always smell exotic fragrance but never find the trace of flowers.
Past the Dagoba of Master Hong Yi, I arrived at Maitreya Rock. It is a grotto, inside which sits an elegant and peaceful statue of Buddha Amitabha carved against natural precipice in the Yuan Dynasty.
Qingyuan Mountain is a tranquil place. If you are fond of lively parties, you may find it boring, while if you like to stay quiet, you will love this place as soon as you take a seat in the woods here.