Qixia Mountain, also known as Sheshan Mountain or Dongshan Mountain, lies about 22 km (13.7 miles) northeast of Nanjing City. The mountain consists of three peaks - Dragon Peak, Tiger Peak and Flying Phoenix Peak (the main peak).
The natural landscape here is really enthralling with its flame colored maple trees, strange stones, luxuriant forests and clear springs. However, the most impressive spots on Mount Qixia are the many widely scattered cultural relics, especially Qixia Temple, Sarira Pagoda and Thousand Buddhas Cliff. Qixia Mountain is revered as the first mountain in Jinling (present-day Nanjing).
The first sight of the scenic area is Mirror Lake, which is west of the gate of Qixia Temple. The lake was created during the reign of Emperor Qianlong in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The Huxin (the center of the lake) Pavilion is connected to the bank by the Nine Bend Bridge.
Qixia Temple located at the western foot of the main peak was built in the Southern Dynasties (420-589). It was originally the house of a famous monk and later donated as a temple named Qixia Jingshe, the place for monks or Taoists to live and practice austerities. This is how the name of Qixia Mountain originated. This was one of the four Buddhist monasteries established during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). The original building was destroyed by war, but was reconstructed during the Qing Dynasty, and today the main features are the Mountain Gate, the Heavenly King Hall, the Pi Lu (a Buddha) Hall and the Sutra Hall.
You can sample the vegetarian noodles that are served in Qixia Temple. A specialty, they really do taste different with fragrant mushroom, suji (steamed bean curd roll) and other vegetables. The souvenirs available here include various maple leaf bookmarks and ornaments.
Sarira Pagoda in Qixia Mountain is southeast of Qixia temple, built of white stone it is a five story octagonal construction. The exterior walls are decorated with vivid reliefs. Those on the base of the pagoda base depict the Buddha's birth, travels, ascetic practices, meditation, the expounding of Buddhist sutras, subjugating evil spirits as well as the nirvana of Sakyamuni. The carvings include dragons and phoenixes together with other birds and flowers. The main body of the pagoda has sculptures of Heavenly Kings, Wenshu Buddha (Manjusri, Buddha of Wisdom) and Puxian Buddha (Bodhisattva of Universal Benevolence) riding an elephant. A shrine containing a Buddha is located on each story. Under the eaves are images of Feitian (flying Apsaras) and Letian (the Buddhist god of sweet music). In a word the elegant sculpting, the exquisite reliefs and the magnificent decoration make this pagoda representative of Buddhist art south of the Yangtze River.
Thousand Buddhas Cliff
The Thousand Buddhas Cliff is at the southeast foot of the main peak of Qixia Mountain, and comprises 294 shrines and 515 statues of Buddhas - hence the name. Most of the shrines house a Buddha with two disciples. Some sit while some stand, their sizes varying from several cun (a unit of length, equal to 1/3 decimeter) to several zhang (a unit of length, equal to 10.9 feet). Among these, the statue of Amitabha is the biggest, at a height of 11 meters (36 feet) including its base. The most famous is the East Feitian in No. 102 shrine. Sadly, some of the sculptures have suffered damage due to perennial efflorescence.
Best Time to Visit Qixia Mountain
The best time to visit Mount Qixia is in late autumn when the maple leaves have turned crimson. We wish you a good time when visiting the mountain.
How to get to Qixia Mountain
Nanjing Bus / Metro Search
|Entrance Fee||CNY25; |
CNY40 when maple leaves in red (around November and December);
Free for children under 1.3m (4.3 feet).
|Opening Hours||7:00 - 17:30|
Don't worry! Early Dec. is still fine to see the autumn foliages. No need to join a tour for this visit. You can well handle that by yourself!