Jiuhuashan (九华山) or Jiuhua Mountain
Jiuhuashan is a small mountain range with 99 peaks in the west of Anhui province. Jiuhuashan is one of four famous Chinese Buddhist mountains and the temples on Jiuhuashan are dedicated to Bodhisatva Kshitigarbha, guardian of the underworld.
Although Jiuhuashan is not as tall as Huangshan or have the same incredible views, it is a fascinating centre of Buddhist worship, great for hiking and has its own magnificent views. Well worth a visit if you are in the south of Anhui province or after Huangshan if your legs can handle more mountain climbing.
A little about Jiuhuashan
The Jiuhuashan area that includes the 99 peaks covers around 120 square kilometres, has at least 18 scenic spots and at least 70 temples scattered over the mountains that are open to visitors. Mount Tiantai is the most famous and beautiful of Jiuhuashan’s peaks and Mount Shiwang with a height of 1342 meters is the tallest.
Jiuhuashan is fairly isolated with the Yangtze River to the north, Huangshan to the south and Shanghai to the East. There are no trains to Jiuhuashan Village and you need to catch at least two buses to reach the village.
Jiuhuashan is full of scenic spots, temples, hiking trails and a village at the base that will easily give you a very enjoyable two days of travel. I’ve listed below the details of the main attractions.
Jiuhuashan Village – The village is nestled in a valley at an altitude of around 600 meters half way up Jiuhuashan and has a population of around 7000 people. The village is reached by taking a bus to the main ticket office then switching to buses after buying a ticket. The second bus goes to a stop just outside the village gate.
You use the village as a base to hike up to the various peaks or take the Bai Sui or Tiantai cable cars. The village is full of hotels, has a number of temples, a bank and is an attraction in its own right.
Huacheng Temple – Built in 401, Huacheng Temple is the first temple on Jiuhua Shan and the most important one. It is dedicated to a monk JinQiaojue who died in that temple at the ripe old age of 99 and was regarded as a incarnation of Dizang, the bodhisattva in charge of the six underworlds. The temple was renovated in 1681 and had a total of 72 halls. The temple was partially destroyed in the chaos that followed the cultural revolution and rebuilt in 1981
Guoqing Temple – This temple is on Mount Tiantai and built in 589 with renovations in the 1720’s. Like the Huacheng Temple, Guoqing temple is very large and 14 halls with 600 rooms. The most famous hall is the Hall of Five Hundred Arhats
Baisui Gong / Longevity Palace – A fairly plain temple that has the gold plated body of the Monk Wu Xia on display. Wuxia copied Buddhist scriptures using a mix of his blood and gold as ink. When he died in 1623 at the age of 110 his body was kept in a urn and opened three years later. The body had not decayed so the monks covered it in gold.
The history of Jiuhuashan can be traced back to the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE) when it was called Mount Lingyan. Jiuhuashan was called Mount Jiuzi during the Liang (502-557 and Chen (557-589) dynasties and finally called Jiuhuashan during the Tang Dynasty (619-907) after the great Chinese port called referred to Jiuhua in a verse.
Buddhism was introduced to Jiuhuashan in 401 and the area was opened to tourism in 1979. Since then the area has undergone constant development to cope with massive increases in domestic and international tourists.
The best way to reach Jiuhuashan village is to catch a train to a nearby city then a bus to the entrance of the Jiuhuashan scenic area.
The nearest train to Jiuhuashan it in Tongling City and you can also catch trains to other nearby cities such as Hefei, Anqing, Tunxi (Huangshan City), Najing and then bus the rest of the way.
Huangshan – Two buses leave Tangkou (base of Huangshan) to Jiuhuashan daily and several buses leave from Tunxi daily. These buses take around 2-3 hours.
Hefei – You can catch the buses in Hefei from the Hebei bus station which is to the east of the train station and from the south bus station. These buses leave hourly and take around three hours to reach Jiuhuashan.
A lot of people take the bullet train from Shanghai to Hefei which is only an hour trip then bus to Jiuhuashan.
Nanjing – You can catch the bus at the Zhongyangmen bus station and the trip to Jiuhuazi takes around four and a half hours. Four buses leave for Jiuhuashan each day.
Tips for Travel to Jiuhuashan
Respectful Behaviour – Jiuhuashan is a very important center for Buddhism in China so be respectful of the monks and on your best behaviour when visiting the temples. Obnoxious tourists have been known to go missing
Two Days – Two days is more than enough time to so the best of Jiuhuashan.
Stay in Jiuhuashan Village – Accommodation is cheap, the food great and the location is ideal for exploring and hiking the mountains.