Xiyue Temple of Mount Huashan

Located at the foot of Mount Huashan, Xiyue Temple is 120 km (about 74.56 mi) east of Xi'an City. It was built to honor the god of the mountain during the reign of Emperor Wudi in the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - 24 AD). Since then many emperors have made sacrifice here to the god of the mountain.

Xiyue Temple is referred to as the Forbidden City of Shaanxi because of its constructions and the overall composition. Facing towards Mount Huashan, it is a must-see place as visitors start or finish climbing the mountain. The main buildings here are Haoling Gate, Five-Phoenix Pavilion, Lingxing Gate, Golden City Gate, Haoling Palace, Study of Emperors, and Long Live Pavilion.

Haoling Gate

Haoling Gate has three linked doors so it is also called the Three Linking Gate. Beside the gate are two delicately carved stone lions and two stones that say “everyone should dismount here”. A glazed screen wall, 30 meters (about 98 ft) long and 6 meters (19.7 ft) high, stands in front of Haoling Gate.

Defensive Enclosure (Weng Cheng)

Upon entering Haoling Gate, you are in the Defensive Enclosure. To the north of the Defensive Enclosure is the Five-Phoenix Pavilion, also called Meridian Gate (Wumen), which is the front gate of Xiyue Temple. The pavilion is a 20-meter-high (about 65.6 ft) brick building constructed in the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). Under the pavilion, there are five linked doorways whose roofs are 4 meters (about 13 ft) wide and 5 meters (about 16.4 ft) high. On the doorways is a magnificent wooden pavilion decorated with glazed eaves and having many rooms. To the east and west of the pavilion are two delicate side-buildings. Passing through the berms at both sides of the Five-Phoenix Pavilion, you can see the overall view of the whole temple.

Small Steles Forest

In back of the Five-Phoenix Pavilion there are many steles. The most famous stele in the world, the Mount Huashan Monument was erected here when Emperor Xuanzong visited the mountain in the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907). Today only 3 meters (about 9.8 ft) of the stele remains and it is covered with line engraving of beasts. The existing base of the stele is composed of two giant stones which are linked with iron cord. Around the base is a splendid relief of heroes in golden corselet.

Many other steles erected by prestigious figures are preserved here including Hieron Stele of Mount Huashan of the Northern Zhou Dynasty (557 - 581), stele of Xiyue Temple Restoration of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) and Lingshu Stele of the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911). The largest accumbent stele in Shaanxi Province, written by Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty, is preserved here. Due to the number of steles, the yard behind Five-Phoenix Pavilion used to be known as the Shaanxi Museum of Small Steles Forest.

Lingxing Gate

Lingxing Gate is the entrance to the second yard of the temple. The name of Lingxing originates from a god named Lingxing who domains the heaven. Lingxing Gate is a wooden building with three glaze-decorated linked archways. Bucket arches of the building are carved with nine lively dragon heads. As the style of royal palace, the three linked archways are constructed with red pillars, yellow glazed tiles and other imperial symbols. 

Stone Archway

After passing through the Lingxing Gate, you will see a high stone archway. It is Heaven Authority Close Stone Archway (Tianweizhichi Archway), the largest and best preserved stone archway today. The archway is constructed with stone girders, pillars and square-columns. Built during the reign of Emperor Shenzong in the Ming Dynasty, it is filled with relief, line engraving, fretwork etc. Its three layers are delicately decorated: sculptures of the mighty lion holding a valuable vase on the top, flowers and vines on the roof, dragons carved around the pavilion and fairies decorated in the pavilion angles. To the east and west of the magnificent gate, there are other such archways. Hades Palace and Divine Palace are the side palaces of the pavilions.

Golden City Gate

Golden City Gate is the second largest building in the temple. With a height of 11.76 meters, Golden City Gate is constructed with giant bucket arches and other materials. To the north of Golden City Gate lies the Golden Water Bridge built during the Ming Dynasty.

Haoling Palace

Haoling Palace, located to the north of Golden Water Bridge, is the main hall of Xiyue Temple. The palace is constructed with 68 giant pillars, nine crossbeams and 18 glazed cross-canopies. 

There is a T-shaped platform in front of Haoling Palace. A Royal Route (main route) covered with a bluestone pattern leads from the platform to the yard. Guest Route, Side Route and Noble Route are clearly distinguished by different grades beside the Royal Route. Steles of Map of Mount Huashan and Map of Xiyue Temple stand on both sides of the Royal Route.

In the palace, the memorial tablet of Huashan God is arranged for sacrificing. Some noble steles are hanging in the palace including some inscribed by Emperor Tongzhi (1856 - 1875) and Emperor Guangxu (1871 - 1908) of the late Qing Dynasty and some by Empress Dowager Cixi (1835-1908).

Emperor's Study

The Emperor’s Study is where the emperors of the Qing Dynasty kept their books. Built during the reign of Emperor Qianlong, it is a delicate wooden attic building with glazed and overlapping eaves. In the study, there is a large tablet on which Emperor Qianlong inscribed four characters - “Yue Lian Ling Shu”, meaning that Mount Huashan is able to bless the timely rain.

Long Live Pavilion

In the back of the temple is the Long Live Pavilion, which is the highest spot of the temple. The pavilion has three floors and from the top of the pavilion the Yellow River can be seen in the distance. Therefore, it is also named Yellow River Watching Pavilion. Originally there were two Pavilions of Buddhist Sutra beside the pavilion, but they have been destroyed. 

Additional visit here include Emperor's Resting Palaces, the Royal Garden are among, Black Ox Tree, Free Life Pool, Ancient Stele Pavilion and the many old valued cypress trees.

Opening Hours 08:00 - 16:00
Admission Fee With the ticket of Mount Huashan, you can visit it for free. The ticket fare of Mount Huashan is CNY 160 from March to November and CNY 100 from December to February.
- Last updated on Sep. 26, 2023 by Gabby Li -
Questions & Answers on Xiyue Temple
Asked by shanna from USA | Jun. 02, 2017 21:58Reply
shuttle bus from Mt. Huashan to Xiyue temple
I read there is a shuttle bus between Mt. Huashan to Xiyue temple.
Is it still available?

If it is, where can I catch shuttle bus?
Answers (1)
Answered by Zoe from NEW ZEALAND | Jun. 07, 2017 19:50

As I know, it is still available. You can catch this shuttle bus at the Tourist Service Center of the scenic spot.
Asked by IVAN HENG from SINGAPORE | Sep. 10, 2015 23:48Reply
Cab fare to Xiyue Temple
Hi, May I know what is the average rate for the cab to Xiyue temple from the Entrance Gate of Mount Hua? and would it be easy to get a cab at the entrance gate? Thanks.
Answers (1)
Answered by Sally from PALESTINE | Sep. 12, 2015 20:53

Do you refer to the entrance near Yuquan Temple (Jade Spring Temple)? If so, it is about 7km to the temple. Near the entrance, you can find both taxis and private cars available to the temple, and the fare would be CNY20 around.
Asked by andrew mccarthy from JAMAICA | Dec. 16, 2014 06:12Reply
Where do I get a Huashan Joint Ticket to visit, Jade Spring Temple and xiyue temple?
Are tickets only sold at the dispatch center? or will I be able to buy a joint ticket at another location?
Answers (1)
Answered by Candy from UNITED KINGDOM | Dec. 17, 2014 02:18

Except the dispatch center (Tourist Service Center) and ticket window, you can also buy ticket in the entrance of Xiyue Temple, the west entrance of Jade Dragon Pool.
Asked by andrew mccarthy from JAMAICA | Dec. 15, 2014 10:33Reply
entry fee of xiyue temple
i am arriving at huashan on a monday at 2pm. I wish to visit the temple and then explore the mountain the following day(wednesday) before travelling to Beijing that afternoon. I read that the entry fee to the temple is included in the par fee. what is the fee for persons interested in visiting the temple prior to the mountain?
Answers (1)
Answered by Emily from UNITED KINGDOM | Dec. 16, 2014 01:46

Hey, the mountain, Jade Spring Temple and this temple carry out a joint ticket. You just need one ticket to visit the two places. The ticket fare is CNY180 during Mar.1 and Nov. 30 and CNY100 during Dec. 1 and Next Feb. 28/29.
Asked by wa wa from SINGAPORE | Sep. 29, 2014 10:16Reply
how to get to Xiyue temple on Hua Mountain from Xi'an city?
Answers (1)
Answered by Meak from UAE | Sep. 29, 2014 20:12

I suggest you take the subway line 2 to the Xi-an North Railway Station, there are high-speed trains to Huashan North. Upon your arrival, hire a taxi to the temple.
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