|World Cultural and Natural Heritage - Emei Mountain |
As one of world cultural and natural heritage, Emei Mountain is one of the four holy mountains of Buddhism in China. It is also designated as state-level scenery region, state-level nature reserve, human and ecosphere protection network, scenery region at 4A class, province-level key scenic area and so on. Emei Mountain is a tourist attraction absorbing visitors from both home and abroad. It is famous for the characters of grandness, elegance, wonder and fantasticality with the reputation of "Beauty Under Heaven". In the scenery region, jebels are lofty and majestic, ranges stand layer upon layer, valleys and gullies are deep and dark, green trees are dense and flourishing, clouds and mists are wreathing. Every range has its own distinctive scenery, and there is difference in weather within 5 km.
Emei Mountain lies in Emeishan City of southwest Sichuan Basin. It is winding as “a cicada-like insect starts from Emei, and looks slim and beautiful”, and its name is based on it. The mountain stretches 23 km from south to north with an area about 115 km2. Hillsides are always gentle in the west and steep in the east. The eastern slopes are converse with some fault cliffs, and they are rugged and steep. Its main peak, Wanfo Top, is 3,099 m above sea level, and it is 2,600 m higher comparing with Emei Plain on its eastern piedmont. There are many kinds of plants and animals in Emei Mountain, and more than 3,000 kinds of superior plants and over 2,000 kinds of animals are existed up to now. Most of them are rare species. Some animals like butterfly like a withered leaf, phoenix butterfly, and the frog sound like playing piano, tree frog and big earthworm are animals only can be found in Emei Mountain. Moreover, giant panda, Tibetan macaque and other 29 species are major animals under state protection. As to plants, Gong Tung and Gingko is the living fossil of tertiary. 107 categories plants are unique of Emei Mountain, and more than 30 varieties are major plants under state protection. Emei Mountain can be considered as a huge natural arboretum and the kingdom of wild animals.
Emei Mountain has a humid sub-tropical monsoonal climate, with much cloud and mist in the whole mountain region, plentiful rainfall and less sunshine. The climate feature of it is “four seasons occur in the mountain and difference weather within 10 Chines mile”. The natural views in the region are gorgeous and colorful, and it seems that clouds are always floating and mountain is moving unpredictable and majestic. Thus form the top ten sceneries as “sunny Luo Peak with clouds”, “Shengji curfew”, “surd beside two bridges”, “dawn rain on Hongchun Platform”, “gentle wind over white river”, “the cave of nine immortals”, “midnight above Elephant-washing Pool”, “crags stand layer upon layer”, “snow on bag platform”, and " Sacred lights at the Golden Summit". There are also four natural wonders like the "Buddhist lights", the sea of clouds, the sunrise, and "Sacred lamps". Moreover, the scenic sights of it include Baoguo Monastery, Fuhu Monastery, Wannian Monastery, Qingtin Pavilion, Xianfengsi Monastery, the Elephant-washing Pool, Hongchun Platform and Monastery on the Golden Summit, etc.
It is not a wonder to climb up a mountain and experience the sunrise as visitors can view it everywhere. However, experiencing the process of sunrise on the top of Emei Mountain has its distinctive feature. As it is 3,000 m above the sea level standing at the edge of western Sichuan Basin, visitors can stand on a higher watching place to have a wide field of vision, and look down to “Tianfu Plain” extending over thousands of meters. Comparing with viewing a red sun rising up from the horizon with East Sea billows sound, the rising run viewing from Emei is held out by clouds stealthily. Rains always fall at night and stop at dawn. Glittering beads in fog and dew show luxuriant color phases in the sunlight incisively and vividly.
Experiencing the process of sunrise on the top of Emei Mountain can widen people’s field of vision, wash away annoyances, inspire enthusiasm and experience close relationship between human beings and nature. As a poet of Northern Song－Su Dongpo intoned “gentle wind has the same purpose with clouds and fog, will make grass and trees more beautiful”. Fan Chengda, a poet of Southern Song had written like this: “clouds and the mountain create a dream world for people; I experience the imaginary space with the sun, the moon”. In addition, poet Yang Shengyan of Ming Dynasty expressed his emotion that “first sun rays in the morning breaks in from window and lights the whole Shu, fog wreathes around trees and blocks off sheepherders and woodchoppers”. These poets with a famous name forever intoned their frank and true feelings after they viewed the sunrise on the top of Emei Mountain. Some said that the rising sun gave its warm to the mountain, river, grass and trees; some said that the sunlight emblazes Shu; and the other said he wandered the illimitable outer space leading by the sun, the moon. These sentences expressed the poets’ emotion of sincereness and lofty sentiments
The Sea of Clouds - Travel in Clouds
In general speaking, the separating layer for clouds among hills and ranges of Emei is at the elevation about 2,000 m. No matter how visitors choose to climb up the mountain or take cable carrier; they can feel its distinctness obviously. Clouds are above the head before they reach the Taoist cave Jiulao Dong; people walk in the clouds from cave of Jiulao Dong to the Elephant-washing Pool; and clouds are under their feet on the way from the Elephant-washing Pool to the Golden Summit.
Watching the sea of clouds on the Golden Summit, people can have the same feeling with that looking down from the airplane. On the summit, people can find cloud billows surge like the situation in seas. When the wind blows, it is grand with dense clouds rushing by; people cannot even find their hands in these clouds. After the clouds scatter, the sky and the scenery below are all in green.
Clouds sea of Emei Mountain is low clouds, mainly composed by cumulostratus at the first half of a year and by accumulated clouds and cumulostratus from July to December. Emei Mountain is foggy for 322 days at an average, or even 338 days in a year. Therefore, the clouds sea gathered by low clouds and fog here is distinctive from others. In seventy-two peaks of Emei Mountain, most of them are 2,000 m above the sea. Peaks extending though clouds layer seems like islands among the sea, surrounding with clouds and fogs as a fairy land of Buddha. In addition, these islands sometimes look like ships breaking through waves just like “the Buddhist ships bring faithful human beings to the Heaven.”
The special light of Emei Mountain is called “Buddhist Light”, which seems like a rainbow in the shape of a closed circle with a shadow in middle of it. The shadow will move when the person moves, the image of it is fantastic and unpredictable.
As the statement in sutra, it is a kind of light beams emitted from Sakyamuni forehead. This natural wonder appearing on Emei Mountain ties up closely with the history that Buddhism was introduced to the mountain. Since the "Buddhist Light" has been discovered in 63 AD., it has a history over 1,900 years, and has been famous in both China and foreign countries as a world wonder.
In fact, "Buddhist Light" is a special natural phenomenon. The essence of it is that sunbeams irradiate the visitor from his back, and reflect his shadow on the cloud cover before the visitor. Tiny ice crystal and drips in clouds form a unique rainbow in the shape of a closed circle with one’s shadow in middle of the rainbow. The appearance of the "Buddhist Light" may require numerous natural facts like sunlights, landform and clouds sea integrated without any rule, so that people can enjoy the wonder in few places provided with the above mentioned facts. A cliff named Sheshan Yan in Emei Mountain is an advantaged place for view.
At the very beginning of 19th Century, scientists have denominated this scarce natural phenomenon as "Buddhist Light of Emei Mountain". Before Sheshen Cliff on the Golden Summit, that phenomenon can be observed several times. As the statistic record, the weather conditions for viewing the "Buddhist Light” may occur about every five days, and the time for observation is within 3:00 – 4:00 in the afternoon.
Myriad Calixes Lamps Using for Puxian Worship
At nights in January (the beginning or the end of the month in lunar calendar), and when the moon appears again after rain, tourists standing before Sheshen Cliff can find numerous glimmering light balls rising from ranges under the cliff. Some big lights are as balls and the small are like pearls. They are floating in the air, and change positions upwards or downwards. Thus is the mysterious scape of "Sacred Lamps".
"Sacred Lamps" of Emei Mountain is also called “Buddhist Lamps” with the same great fame of "Buddhist Light”. People praise the scape as “myriad calixes of bright lamps lighten Emei Mountain” or “myriad calixes lamps using for Puxian worship”. Comparing with "Buddhist Light”, it is more difficult to observe. However, it did not ignore the efforts of researchers. In addition, it is found that to form the scape of "Sacred Lamps" should satisfy four natural conditions. The first one is that the moon appears again after rain; the second one is the moon is not bright that day; the third is no clouds under the summit; and the four fact is no gale or downfall on the top of the mountain. Of all ages, several people have seen "Sacred Lamps", and a few have observed it for the continuous three nights. In 1701, a hierarch named Tuozhong described tastily in his《Travel Notes of Emei Mountain Worship》:”One night a monk reported that “Sacred Lamps" appeared. I observed from the pavilion and found scores of lamps appearing indistinctly in the air. Some of lamps were bright moving up and down, some were flying towards the temple. I had no chance to view it on the summit, "Sacred Lamps", but I did not lose it in the Fuhu Monastery. However, it was rare and fantastic. Fortunately, I have observed "Sacred Lamps" for continuous three days, and left after five days.” Hierarch Tuozhong had not viewed the wonder of "Sacred Lamps" on the Golden Summit, but he is very luck to experience the scape in Fuhu Monastery for three nights.Historically, the wonder of "Sacred Lamps" had been found in many places of Emei Mountain, such as Lingyan Temple，Fuhu Monastery, Huanyan Top, the Elephant-washing Pool, Tianmen Crag.
Near Hongchun Platform and the scenic spot “A Gleam of Sky” of Qingtin Pavilion, there is an ecological region for wild monkeys named Monkeys Residence integrated the functions of scientific research, nature and ecological scenery tour and communication between human and monkeys. Monkeys Residence occupies an area about 10 hm². In dense trees, a plank road was built along the cliff for more than 400 m long, as well as several corridor bridges, rope bridges and pavilions for sight view. Numeral monkeys appear and run away in trees, some chase after each other, some block the way of tourist for foods. Visitors can buy some peanuts or other kinds of food from vendors of monkeys’ foods before they go into the region, then invite those venders accompanying with them to drive some dragonish monkeys away. (Attention: venders will not ask for fee when accompany with tourists.)
Moreover, many people in the monkeys region to take photos for tourists and monkeys can get for a moment. If they call, some small monkeys will jump to your shoulders, and then stand to have a photo with you in earnest. After that, those people will give some foods to the small monkeys as rewards.
For those pavid tourists, it is good for them to buy a bamboo wand before they enter the Monkeys Residence (go downwards the Golden Summit or go upwards Qingyin Pavilion). At least, people may a dependence in mind as if “Ruyi Golden Hoop Stick” holding by the Monkey King－Sunyukong. However, tourists can never attack monkeys for initiative, or the bamboo wand is useless if those ruffian monkeys are angry.