a height of 2,160 meters above sea level and about 120km/3hours east
of Xi'an, Huashan, literally translated as Flower Mountain,
is a sight for sore eyes. The mountain has for centuries been deemed
as one of China's five sacred mountains (Wu ye), along with
one Hengshan to the northeast,
to the east and another Hengshan to the southeast.
known as the Western Mountain (Xi
yue) due to its geographical location in relation to the others,
is famed as the most precipitous of the five. Along the 12km path
leading from the foot of the mountain, where it starts at the Jade
Fountain Temple (Yuchuan si), to its five peaks, you
will get the chance to see some impressive scenes, including the
strangely shaped granite peaks and the twisted pines, that make up
this, one of the lesser visited of the holy mountains.
from above are said to resemble the petals of a huge plant, with the middle
peak as the corolla, hence the mountain's name. Of the five peaks
it is the southern
peak (2,100 meters) that is the largest, closely followed by those
in the east and west.
The ascent provides not only natural scenery, but also a number of
man-made constructions that, for better or worse, are now a part of
the mountain's tourist culture.
The route to conquer the peaks passes
by temples, shrines, pavilions, terraces, carvings, statues, food
stalls and hawkers, that appear interspersed between the stark
granite paths and forested margins. Along the Green
Dragon Ridge (Bilong ji), which connects the northern
peak with the remaining peaks, the way is cut along a narrow
rock ridge with steep cliffs on either side. Some of this route can be
a little dangerous, despite the iron chains that are linked on the
more precipitous sections.
The entrance charge is RMB40, plus RMB5 "registration fee".
If you want to take the cable car that goes from the Yuquan
Temple (Yuquan yuan) at the eastern base to
the northern peak, you have to pay RMB50, single way.