Tai Shan Pilgrimage

The most eminent of the 'Five Sacred Tao Mountains', Mt. Tai is at the centre of Shandong Province, near the cities of Tai'an, Jinan and Zibo. Its main peak, Jade Emperor Summit, is 1532.7 meters (5,029 feet) high.


Religious worship of Mount Tai has a tradition of 3,000 years. Over time, this worship evolved into an official imperial rite and Mount Tai became one of the principal places where the emperor would pay homage to Heaven (on the summit) and Earth (at the foot of the mountain). In 219 BC, Qin Shi Huang Di, the first Emperor of China, held a ceremony on the summit and proclaimed the unity of his empire in a famous inscription. 
The first thing for an emperor to do on ascending to the throne was to climb Mount Taishan and pray to heaven and earth or their ancestors. It was said that 72 emperors of different dynasties made pilgrimages to this mountain. Apart from the many temples, inscriptions and cultural relics, the four wonders of the mountain are 'Sunrises from the East', the 'Sunset Glow', the 'Sea of Clouds' and the 'Golden Belt along the Yellow River'. 

The Mountain

There are four ascents of the mountain.

East Route

This route is considered to be the Imperial Route, used by the emperors to make sacrifices. Set off from Dai Temple, and pass Dai Zong Archway, Red Gate Palace, Jing Shi Valley, Hu Tian Pavilion and Eighteen Bends, etc. Dai Temple is the place where emperors stayed and offered their sacrifices. The temple was built in the Han Dynasty and expanded in the Tang and Song Dynasties. 
There are 6000-plus steps along this route and it takes about four hours at an average to reach the peak. 

West Route

The west route is made up of two parts. The first part is the road from Heaven and Earth Square to Mid-heaven Gate, reached by bus or taxi. The other part is the cable way from Mid-heaven Gate to the top of the mountain. This route is well equipped with modern facilities and is the most convenient way to reach Jade Emperor Summit. Attractions here: Heaven and Earth Square, Black Dragon Pool, Tomb of General Feng Yuxiang and Longevity Bridge.

Peach Blossom Ravine Route

This route is the most convenient way to climb the mountain, especially for those driving or who arrive by bus from the north. The Peach Blossom Ravine can be accessed by taking the No.104 national highway, then setting off from the big parking lot by bus to the cable-car stop. From there you reach the top in a few minutes. The best time to take this route is in spring and summer.

Tianzhu Peak Route

Tianzhu Peak is so named because of its candle-like shape, with a pine tree standing at its summit like a flame. This is the most demanding route but it is also the best way of appreciating the pine trees in Hou Shi Wu (site of most of the ancient pine trees).

Dai Temple

The Temple of the God of Mount Tai, known as the Dai Temple is the largest and most complete ancient building complex in the area. It is located at the foot of Mount Tai in Tai'an and covers an area of 96,000 square meters. The temple was first built during the Qin Dynasty. Since the time of the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD), its design has been a replica of the imperial palace, which makes it one out of three extant structures in China with the features of an imperial palace (the other two are the Forbidden City and the Confucius Temple in Qufu). The centerpiece is the Palace of Heavenly Blessings (Tian Kuang), built in 1008, during the reign of the last Northern Song Emperor Huizong. The hall houses the mural "The God of Mount Tai Making a Journey", dating to the year 1009. The mural extends around the eastern, western and northern walls of the hall and is 3.3 metres high and 62 metres long. The Temple is surrounded by 2,100 year-old Han Dynasty cypresses. 

Getting There

The nearest airport is Jinan YaoQiang International Airport. Bus services run from the airport to Taishan. The ticket price is RMB60.00 Yuan/person.

Visitors can reach the peak of Mount Tai via a bus which terminates at the Midway Gate to Heaven, from there a cable car connects to the summit. Covering the same distance on foot takes from two and a half to six hours. The supplies for the many vendors along the road to the summit are carried up by porters either from the Midway Gate to Heaven or all the way up from the foot of the mountain.

Admission Fees

CNY 125 (Feb to Nov incl)
CNY 100 (Dec to Jan incl)

The Tao Holy Mountains

Tai Shan, Shandong province, 1545 meters.
Heng Shan Bei, Shanxi province, 2017 meters.
Hua Shan, Shanxi province, 1997 meters.
Heng Shan Nan, Hunan province, 1290 meters.
Song Shan, Henan province, 1494 meters.

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