Dawn Prayers at Temple WuTai Shan

We were at the Temple at 5am along with many cars also traveling to pray at sunrise. All the shops were open for business and the streets were as busy as they are in the day hours. Wu Tai Shan was alive at dawn.
It was quite dark when we arrived at the Temple.

After purchasing some incense and lotus shaped candles to light the incense with, we took our place alongside hundreds of devotees, including tourists in buses from all over China on this National day holiday.
Two burners were blazing their warmth in the centre of the courtyard, and it was here that incense was lit and after the prayer, the sticks were discarded giving the air a musky incense laden breath in the dawn.
To pray, one bows three times to each direction..North, East, South and West with the greeting and the prayer.
This was rather dangerous, as devotees kept their eyes closed, and hot ash fell and was blown by the light wind and scorched my hair and face, and burnt the jacket of one of our members.
It was very crowded, and very cold.

Then dawn came and the clouds tinted rosy pink above the skyline of the Temple and the surrounding Mountains.
It was a beautiful beginning to a new day.

Wu Tai Shan Shanxi Province

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Wutai

Mount Wutai (Chinese: 五台山; pinyin: Wǔtái Shān; literally “Five Plateau Mountain”), also known as Wutai Mountain or Qingliang Shan, located in Shanxi, China, is one of the Four Sacred Mountains in Chinese Buddhism.

Temple Masjuri
Templa

The mountain is home to many of China’s most important monasteries and temples. Mount Wutai’s cultural heritage consist of 53 sacred monasteries, and they were inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009.

Each of the four mountains are viewed as the abode or place of practice (dàocháng; 道場) of one of the four great bodhisattvas. Wutai is the home of the Bodhisattva of wisdom, Manjusri or Wenshu (Traditional: 文殊) in Chinese.

Mount Wutai also has an enduring relationship with Tibetan Buddhism. It takes its name from its unusual topography, consisting of five rounded peaks (North, South, East, West, Central), of which the North peak, called Beitai Ding or Yedou Feng, is the highest, and indeed the highest point in northern China.

Wutai was the first of the four mountains to be identified and is often referred to as “first among the four great mountains.” It was identified on the basis of a passage in the Avatamsaka Sutra (Ch: Húayán jīng; 華嚴經), which describes the abodes of many bodhisattvas.

In this chapter, Manjusri is said to reside on a “clear cold mountain” in the northeast. This served as charter for the mountains identity and its alternate name “Clear Cool Mountain” (Ch: Qīngliáng Shān; 清涼山). The bodhisattva is believed to frequently manifest himself on the mountain, taking the form of ordinary pilgrims, monks, or most often unusual five-colored clouds.

Mount Wutai is home to some of the oldest existent wooden buildings in China that have survived since the era of the Tang Dynasty (618–907). This includes the main hall of Nanchan Monastery and the East Hall of Fuguang Monastery, built in 782 and 857, respectively.

They were discovered in 1937 and 1938 by a team of architectural historians including the prominent early 20th century historian Liang Sicheng. The architectural designs of these buildings have since been studied by leading sinologists and experts in traditional Chinese architecture, such as Nancy Steinhardt.

Steinhardt classified these buildings according to the hall types featured in the Yingzao Fashi Chinese building manual written in the 12th century. In 2008, there were complaints from local residents that in preparation for Mount Wutai’s bid to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site, they were forced from their homes and relocated away from their livelihoods.

Trains from Taiyuan to Beijing

From Taiyuan to Beijing Train Schedule china flight
http://chinatour.net/train/Zhanzhan.php?Chufa=%CC%AB%D4%AD&Dida=%B1%B1%BE%A9&Enter=Search
Following train ticket prices are in CNY/RMB currency

Train No. Train Type First Station Depart Depart
Time
Arrive Arrival
Time
Last Station Duration Hard Seat Soft Seat Hard Sleeper Soft Sleeper
1138/1139 Regular Taiyuan Taiyuan 15:17 Beijing 04:45 Shenyang North 13Hour 28Min 49 CNY 104 CNY 86 CNY 170 CNY
1138/1139 Regular Taiyuan Taiyuan East 15:24 Beijing 04:45 Shenyang North 13Hour 21Min 49 CNY 104 CNY 86 CNY 170 CNY
1164 Air Condition Regular Hancheng Taiyuan 23:34 Beijing West 10:23 Beijing West 10Hour 49Min 70 CNY 136 CNY 115 CNY 215 CNY
1172/1173 Regular Taiyuan Taiyuan 16:59 Beijing 03:21 Harbin 10Hour 22Min 39 CNY 86 CNY 69 CNY 139 CNY
2604/2601 Regular Linfen Taiyuan 14:30 Beijing 04:00 Qinhuangdao 13Hour 30Min 49 CNY 104 CNY 86 CNY 170 CNY
6096 Slow Taiyuan Taiyuan 07:40 Beijing West 22:03 Beijing West 14Hour 23Min 33 CNY – CNY 63 CNY – CNY
6096 Slow Taiyuan Taiyuan East 07:47 Beijing West 22:03 Beijing West 14Hour 16Min 33 CNY – CNY 63 CNY – CNY
6096 Slow Taiyuan Taiyuan North 07:55 Beijing West 22:03 Beijing West 14Hour 8Min 32 CNY – CNY 60 CNY – CNY
D192/D193 DongChe Express Taiyuan Taiyuan 09:37 Beijing 13:03 Shenyang North 3Hour 26Min 73 CNY 133 CNY 114 CNY 205 CNY
D2002 DongChe Express Taiyuan Taiyuan 08:25 Beijing West 11:48 Beijing West 3Hour 23Min 73 CNY 133 CNY 114 CNY 205 CNY
D2004 DongChe Express Taiyuan Taiyuan 09:14 Beijing West 12:13 Beijing West 2Hour 59Min 73 CNY 133 CNY 114 CNY 205 CNY
D2012 DongChe Express Taiyuan Taiyuan 11:58 Beijing West 14:57 Beijing West 2Hour 59Min 73 CNY 133 CNY 114 CNY 205 CNY
D2014 DongChe Express Taiyuan Taiyuan 12:37 Beijing West 16:00 Beijing West 3Hour 23Min 73 CNY 133 CNY 114 CNY 205 CNY
D2016 DongChe Express Taiyuan Taiyuan 14:09 Beijing West 17:32 Beijing West 3Hour 23Min 73 CNY 133 CNY 114 CNY 205 CNY
D2024 DongChe Express Taiyuan Taiyuan 19:11 Beijing West 22:28 Beijing West 3Hour 17Min 73 CNY 133 CNY 114 CNY 205 CNY
D2026 DongChe Express Taiyuan Taiyuan 19:34 Beijing West 22:33 Beijing West 2Hour 59Min 73 CNY 133 CNY 114 CNY 205 CNY
D2028 DongChe Express Taiyuan Taiyuan 19:40 Beijing West 22:57 Beijing West 3Hour 17Min 73 CNY 133 CNY 114 CNY 205 CNY
K602 Air Condition Fast Taiyuan Taiyuan 21:30 Beijing 08:05 Beijing 10Hour 35Min 79 CNY 145 CNY 124 CNY 224 CNY
K604 Air Condition Fast Yuncheng Taiyuan 20:53 Beijing West 06:28 Beijing West 9Hour 35Min 79 CNY 145 CNY 124 CNY 224 CNY
Please Note:
Hard Seat (Yingzuo): The cheapest way to travel, but often crowded with 110 seats per car.
Soft Seat (Ruanzuo): Suitable for short distance travel like 2~6 hours on the way, less crowded than Hard seat.
Hard Sleeper (Yingwo): Sleeping car, suitable for both day and overnight travel. 6 beds per compartment and 66 beds per car. The compartments are open to the passageway.
Soft Sleeper (Ruanwo): 4 beds per compartment, each compartment being separate and with a door for it.

Beijing tours..good value

http://chinatour.net/beijing-tours.html?gclid=CN7k7rqvqKQCFQYIHAodpFoT4A
1 Day Tour : Great Wall and Ming Tomb
Open to book everyday. One of the seven wonders in the world, the symbol of China. Start everyday, pick up guests from the hotel to the Great Wall. (join bus tour, or book private tour)   $24
1 Day tour: Forbidden city, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace
1 Day tour: Forbidden city, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace
One day Beijing city tour, visit the most famous sightseeings: Forbidden City, Summer Palace and Temple of Heaven, coach or private.
$35
1 Day Tour: Mutianyu Great Wall, Dingling & Olympic Stadiums
1 Day Tour: Mutianyu Great Wall, Dingling & Olympic Stadiums
Have chance to see Mutianyu Great Wall and Ming Tombs with passby National Olympic Square.     $35

These are the  tours I did last trip:Great Value

One Day Tour: Depart everyday, small group bus tour or private tour.
Starts from 7:30 ~8:00 am, finish around 6:00 pm.

Itinerary:
1. Pick you up from your hotel on departure time, and then drive to the Great Wall (60 miles away from downtown, about 1.5 hours driving). Tour guide explain the sightseeings along the tour.
Sightseeing on the most famous part of the Great Wall, Badaling section, the longest defensive wall in the world, for about 2 hours(valued coach for more).
Visit scenic spots: Badaling Great Wall, Badaling fortress, beacon-towers, “looking-toward beijing stone”, etc. (Cable car is a good choice if one wants to get to the highest point and take the whole beautiful bird view.)

2. Driving to Friendship restaurant nearby the Ming Tomb and having typical Chinese lunch (100 minutes).

3. Driving (20minutes) to the Ming Tombs, the best preserved Chinese imperial tombs with 500 years history, visiting Changling, the largest one, Emperor Yongle’s Tomb, for about 1 hours.
Visit scenic spots: 1.ling en gate, 2.ling en palace, 3.soul tower, 4.the great red gate, 5.the stele pavilion, etc.

4. Driving the travelers back to their hotel.

Tour Price includes:
1. Pick-up and drop-off from your hotel.
2. Air-conditioned vehicle(car, van, or bus).
3. Entrance tickets of the Great Wall and Ming Tomb.
4. English-speaking tour guide explain the sightseeings.
5. Typical Chinese lunch with drinks.

Tour Price excludes:
Cable car fee – cable car to the highest point of Great Wall, 60 RMB($7.4)

9 Dragons Guesthouse in beijing

About 9 Dragons House
9 Dragons House is a hostel offering budget accommodation in central Beijing. We offer a mix of private and dormitory accommodation in air-conditioned rooms with wireless internet access and either en-suite or shared bathroom facilities.

We are situated just minutes from Zhangzizhonglu on the central subway line 5, providing fast and convenient access to the city’s major attractions. The following can be found 5 stops by bus or subway:
Lama Temple
Wangfujing shopping street
Houhai Park Bar Area Sanlitun Bar Street
National Museum
Tiananmen square
Forbidden city
Chairman Mao’s Mausoleum Silk Street Market

We provide a number of facilities and services to our guests, including mountain bike rental, a business centre, domestic and international travel assistance, internet access, airport/train station pick-up and free luggage storage. We also have a restaurant serving a menu of western and Chinese dishes, and a third floor balcony overlooking the historic hutongs.
We offer a variety of daily tours to popular destinations such as the Great Wall, the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square, and excursions to opera, acrobatics and kung fu performances.
http://www.hostels.com/hostels/beijing/9-dragons-house/19428

Copmments add that it is difficult to find…so may need to organise Hostel pick up

Great Wall Courtyard Hostel at Badaling

About The Great Wall Courtyard Hostel
The Great Wall courtyard Youth hostel, located at the crossroad of the old city which is at the foot of Beijing Badaling Great Wall, is of the Szu-ho-

The Great Wall Courtyard Hostel Amenities

* Included In PriceLinen
* Reception24 Hour Reception, 24 Hour Security
* Web AccessWiFi Access, Internet Access
* GeneralBreakfast, Luggage Storage, Free Parking, Bicycle Parking, Tours Desk, Iron/Ironing Board, Currency Exchange
* Food / DrinkBar, Restaurant, BBQ Area, Buffet, A La Carte
* In RoomAir Conditioning, Reading Light, Security Lockers, Key Card

http://www.hostels.com/hostels/beijing/the-great-wall-courtyard-hostel/917

Huashan Mountain

The Western Mountain-Huashan Mountain

http://www.maps-of-china.net/a_sacredm.html

Standing in Huayin County , 120 km east of Xi’an City , the mountain is noted for its sheer cliffs and tower ing peaks.It is one of the five great mountains in China and the sacred mountain to Taoists . It is known as the Western Sacred Mountain . Mt. Huashan has five famous peaks , namely, East Peak West Peak , South Peak , North Peak and Central Peak , of which South Peak soaring 2200 metres above sea level , is the highest. The peaks are connected by a series of sharp ridges , generally only wide enough to accommodate one person at a time Along the touring route , tourists can visit many amazing ancient buildings perched on the knife-sharp edges .

The Western Mountain-Huashan Mountain

Shanxi Attractions

http://www.maps-of-china.net/p_shanxi_attractions.html

Mt. Wutai

Situated in the northeast of Wutai County , Mt.Wutai is one of the four famous mountains to the Buddhists and has five terrace-like peaks, including Wanghai Peak in the east, Guayue Peak in the west, Jinxiu Peak in the south, Yedou Peak in the north and Cuiyan Peak standing in the central part. From May to August every year, it is the best period for tourism.

Mt. Wutai Map

Click here to view it in a new window(242kb)

Mt. Wutai Map

Yungang Grottoes

Located at the southern foot of Mt. Wuzhou, 16 km west of Datong City,Yungang gro ttoes, one of China’s four cave groups with Buddhist statues,were first hewn in the Northern Wei Dynasty. Now, there are still more than fifty grottoes housing 51000 Buddha statues. The distinguished art style of the statues shows the integration of the Qin and Han traditions with the foreign cultural essences. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China, a special preservation office was set up, and the Grottoes are now under the State protection.

Yungang Grottoes Maps

Yungang Grottoes Maps

http://www.maps-of-china.net/p_shanxi_attractions.htm

Shanxi Map

http://www.maps-of-china.net/p_shanxi_map.html

http://www.maps-of-china.net/province/Shanxim.htm

Shanxi Province Lying in the eastern part of the Loess Plateau, west of Mts. Taihang, Shanxi is bounded by the provinces of Hebei on the east, Henan on the south, Shaanxi on the west and Inner Mongolia Aut. Reg. on the north.

Monument
Shinaoshan

Two-thirds of the province is composed of plateau, part of the loess plateau. Hilly lands occupy its east and west parts and a string of basins lie in the middle. Area: more than 150000 km’. It is important for its reserves of coal. Shanxi has a temperate continental climate and four distinct seasons with an annual mean temperature of 4-14C’, and the annual precipitation is 400-600 mm. Shanxi is one of the birthplaces of the ancient civilization of the Chinese Nation.

The national major famous scenic areas include Mt. Wutai, Mt. Ilengshan, Hukou Falls, Yungang Grottoes, etc.

Shanxi is famous for its great number of temples, pagodas and frescoes, such as Jinci Temple, Wooden Pagoda in Yingxian County and Guandi Temple in Xiezhou, etc. It is thus reputed as a “Museum of Ancient Arts”.

The famous local products are Fenjiu Wine in Fenyang, the mature vinegar in Qingxu County and date in Jishan etc.

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