Mount. Hengshan, Hengyang, Hunan (衡山,衡阳市,湖南省)

Mt. Hengshan, known as South Mountain, ranks the first among the five sacred mountains in China. It is located in Hengyang, the second largest city in Hunan Province. It is also a famous mountain worshipped by Buddhists in China.

Mt. Hengshan extends 150 kilometers. The highest peak of the mountain is called Zhurong Peak, 1,290 meters above the sea level. On the top, the Shaolin Temple and Watching Sunrise Platform are the best scenic spots.

The mountain boats many temples, among which the biggest is the Nanyue Temple. The Nanyue Temple covers an area of 100,000 square meters and is the largest group of ancient buildings in Hunan province. The temple has nine courtyards and the main hall is 22 meters high, supported by 72 stone pillars, which symbolize the 72 peaks of the mountain. The temple, glazed in red and yellow, is linked with many other buildings and represents a grand palace complex.

Among the temples in the mountain, the Fuyan Temple is known as the nation’s “temple of Buddhist doctrine” and the “Seven Founders’ Temple to Perform Buddhist Rites”. The Nantai Temple was built during the Yuan dynasty (1279-1368) and is regarded as the origin of a Buddhist branch in Japan. In addition for points of interest, there is the Tripitaka Temple, which is famous for its delicacy; the Fangguang Temple, which is tranquil and quiet, and the Water-screen Cave, which is mysterious.

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