Wahuang Palace

Located halfway up the Fenghuang Mountain (Phoenix Mountain) and about eight miles (12 kilometers) to the west of Shexian County in Handan City, Wahuang Palace is the earliest and largest ancient architectural complex in China for worshipping Nüwa, a goddess in Chinese mythology. According to legend, she created mankind out of yellow earth and patched up the sky with five-colored stones. She worried that the sky would fall down again, so she cut off the legs of a huge turtle and set them up on the ground as four pillars to hold up the sky. In the center of the ground stands Fenghuang Mountain. In memory of Nüwa, people built Wahuang Palace there.

Completed in the dynasty of Northern Qi (550-577), Wahuang Palace already has a history of more than 1,400 years. Originally, it was an imperial villa for Emperor Wenxuan, the founder of Northern Qi.
 

Architectural Complex

Wahuang Palace architectural complex comprises four groups of buildings, which are Wahuang Pavilion, Chaoyuan Palace, Tingcan Palace and Guangsheng Palace. With a height of more than 75 feet (23 meters), Wahuang Pavilion is a four-storey pavilion clinging to the cliff using nine iron chains. Without a solid foundation, it leans forward and trembles if there are too many tourists inside. Hence, it gains another name "Suspended Temple", similar to the Hanging Monastery in Datong, Shanxi Province. Some other buildings including Shuzhuang Pavilion, Yingshuang Pavilion, Bell and Drum Towers, Lingguan Pavilion, a hexagonal pavilion and an archway are built near Wahuang Pavilion.

Tingcan Palace is a place for Emperors and pilgrims to take a rest and showcases stone inscriptions. Guangsheng Palace is actually a temple where people pray for children. Chaoyuan Palace enshrines four great Buddhas of Buddhism.
 

Inscriptions on Precipices

Besides the ancient architectural buildings, cliffside engraved Buddhist scriptures of the Northern Qi Dynasty are definitely worth a visit. With a total area of around 197 square yards (165 square meters), six Mahayana Buddhist scriptures of more than 137,400 words are engraved on the cliff, which are precious historical records for studying Chinese Buddhist culture and Northern Qi Dynasty.

There is also a museum of stone carvings, which covers around 419 square yards (350 square meters). Three exhibition halls display stone carvings from Northern Qi through to the period of the Republic of China (550-1949). One can take this opportunity to learn about the carving styles and techniques of different dynasties.
 

Temple Fair

Legend has it that Nüwa was born on March 18th on Chinese lunar calendar. From March 1st to 18th, many Chinese gather together at Wahuang Palace to worship Nüwa. In 2006, the sacrificial ceremony for Nüwa held in Shexian County was included in the list of China’s National Intangible Cultural Heritage in Folklore.
 

How to get to Wahuang Palace

Take regular buses from Handan Passenger Transportation Terminal to Shexian County. It departs every 10 minutes from 05:50 to 18:30. Bus fare is around CNY 25. Upon arrival, you’d better catch a taxi to get there. Taxi fare is around CNY 20.

 Note: Handan Passenger Transportation Terminal is located at No. 29, South Yuxin Street, about 500 yards (460 meters) to the south of the railway station.
 
Admission Fee CNY 70 for adults;
CNY 35 for children between 3.9 and 4.9 feet (1.2 and 1.5 meters);
Free for children below 3.9 feet (1.2 meters).
Sightseeing Bus CNY 20 per person
Slideway CNY 50 for a round trip;
CNY 30 for a single trip.
Opening Hours 8:00 - 17:30
- Last modified on Oct. 12, 2018 -
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