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 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 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.
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, 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).
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||09:00 - 17:30|
|Admission Fee||CNY 15, but 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.|
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