Mount Emeishan, the well-known mountain dedicated to the bodhisattva Puxian, stands 160km/100mi southwest of Chengdu; its highest peak, the Peak of the Ten Thousand Buddhas (Wanfo Ding), reaches a height of 3099m/10,170ft. It is revered by Chinese Buddhists as one of the four Holy Mountains (the others being Mount Wutaishan in Shanxi province, Mount Jiuhuashan in Anhui province and Mount Putuoshan in Zhejiang province), and is shrouded in myths and legends.
Temple of Eternity
The Temple of Eternity (Wannian Si) lies about 1km/.5mi northwest of the Pavilion of Clear Sound, at a height of 1020m/3348ft. The original edifice, which was commenced in the Jin era (265-420) and completed during the Ming period (1368-1644), was almost completely destroyed in a conflagration in 1946. Only the Hall of Tiles (Zhuan Dian), built under Emperor Wanli (1573-1620), remained unharmed and was restored in 1953 when two temples were added. This building houses a bronze statue of Bodhisattva Puxian of 980, standing 7.3m/24ft tall and weighing 62 tonnes. The Buddhist deity is shown mounted on the back of an elephant with six trunks.
A short distance from the Huacang Si Monastery and the Monastery of the Reclining Clouds lies the well-known Terrace of Beautiful Views (Duguang Tai), from where the visitor can enjoy ''the three magnificent views of Mount Emeishan'' - the Sunrise, the ''Sea of Clouds'' and Buddha's Aureole.''Buddha's Aureole'' is the name given to a halo phenomenon, as a result of which a person looking out from the viewing terrace can see his or her own shadow a short distance away surrounded by a circle of light in the seven colors of the spectrum.
Temple of Services to the Country
The Temple of Services to the Country (Baoguo Si) stands at the foot of Mount Emeishan. It can be said to form the entrance door to this Buddhist ''Mecca''. The numerous temple buildings erected during the reign of Emperor Wanli (1573-1620) house many valuable works of art, including a 2.4m/8ft high statue of the Buddha in colorfully enameled porcelain which dates from 1415. Visitors can also admire a 7m/23ft high bronze pagoda from the Ming period (1368-1644), decorated with more than 4700 small Buddha figures and the whole Sutra of Avatamsaka.
Elephant's Bathing Pool
The Elephant's Bathing Pool (Xixian Chi), at a height of 2070m/6794ft and 14km/9mi from the Temple of the Peak of the Immortals, is where the two routes for the ascent of Emeishan merge again. According to legend Bodhisvatta Puxian used to bathe his favorite elephant in this hexagonal pond. The temple on the edge of the pond dates from 1699.
Pavilion of Clear Sound
The Pavilion of Clear Sound (Qingyin Ge) stands 15km/9mi west of the Temple of Services to the Country, at a height of 770m/2310ft, at the confluence of the White Dragon river (Bailongjiang) and the Black Dragon river (Heilongjiang); it was named after the soft lapping of the waters of these two rivers. Two stone arched bridges span the rivers.
Temple of the Vanquished Tiger
The Temple of the Vanquished Tiger (Fuhu Si) lies about 1km/.5mi west of the Temple of Services to the Country. The present buildings were erected in 1651 on the foundations of an old shrine built during the Tang period (618-907). As this region was at one time threatened by wild tigers the local inhabitants gave the temple its name in the hope that it would provide them with protection against the beasts.
Honchun Ping Monastery
Honchun Ping Monastery, situated 1120m/3675ft up the mountain, was built in the Ming period (1402-1644). Note the tall bronze lamp decorated with hundreds of Buddha figures and dragons.
Huacang Si Monastery and Monastery of the Reclining Clouds
On Golden Peak stand Huacang Si monastery and also the Monastery of the Reclining Clouds (Woyunan). The latter is famous for its bronze stele dating from the second half of the 15th C.
Golden Peak (Jin Ding), about 5km/3mi south of Elephant's Bathing Pool, is 3075m/10,092ft high, making it one of the highest peaks on Mount Emeishan.
Temple of the Peak of the Immortals
Situated at a height of 1752m/5750ft, the Temple of the Peak of the Immortals (Xianfeng Si) dates from the year 1612.
Cave of the Nine Old Men
Nine old men are said to have lived in this Taoist cave known as Jiulao Dong.