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Wutai Shan - The First Among the Four Great Mountains
 
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Shanxi Province, 327km SW of Beijing, 210km S of Datong, 238km N of Taiyuan

Wutai Shan is one of the Four Sacred Mountains in Chinese Buddhism and, in Buddhist lore, the earthly residence of the great bodhisattva Manjusri (Wenshu in Chinese).

The mount Wutai or "Five Platforms or Abode" is actually a cluster of mountains, each of the rounded peaks has a temple and is viewed as the abode or place of practice of one of the four great bodhisattvas. The North peak is the highest and indeed the highest point in northern China.

Nuns, monks, and lamas from different orders and from all over China, Japan, Nepal, and Thailand come to Wutai Shan in the summer -- some to climb the five terraces, others to simply take part in the many temple activities.

Mount Wutai is home to some of the oldest existent wooden buildings in China that have survived since the era of the Tang Dynasty (618–907). This includes the main hall of Nanchan Monastery and the East Hall of Fuguang Monastery, built in 782 and 857, respectively. They were discovered in 1937 and 1938 by a team of architectural historians including the prominent early 20th century historian Liang Sicheng. The architectural designs of these buildings have since been studied by leading sinologists and experts in traditional Chinese architecture, such as Nancy Steinhardt. Steinhardt classified these buildings according to the hall types featured in the Yingzao Fashi Chinese building manual written in the 12th century.

In 2008 Chinese authorities hope that the shrine at Mount Wutai will be considered for designation as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
 
Highlights

* Visit the so called the first among the Four Buddhist Mountains in China
* Escape the summer heat to the cluster of misty mountains with spectacular views.
* Appreciate the oldest existent wooden buildings and traditional architectural designs in China that have survived since the era of the Tang Dynasty.

Best time to visit

Summer is the best time to visit -- when Wutai Shan offers an escape from the heat and humidity of lower climes. In July and August, the average temperature is only about 10°C, with warm days and cool nights. Even in June, snow is not unheard of.

         
   
         
         
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CCC does not presently offer regular set excursions to this destination. However we are happy to help you plan a private tour. Please click the tab "Custom Itinerary" to check prices and propose a date and your own group.

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