Wu Tai Shan is the Buddhist scared mountain of the north. Located in a mountainous region of Shanxi province it actually consists of five sacred peaks in the center of which is the small monastic village of Taihuai. At one time Wu Tai Shan had over 300 temples and monasteries but today the number has been reduced to only about 30 or so with about half of them clustered about the village of Taihuai. If you are a temple lover you will find this place to be your dream place for its concentration of ancient temples, winding streets, and colorful collection of monks and pilgrims. Wu Tai Shan is associated with the bodhisattva of wisdom - Manjushri - known in China as Wen Shu. Manjushri is the special guardian of Tibetan and Mongolian Buddhism hence you will find that much of the temple architecture has a Tibetan look to it. You will also find many monks from Tibet with their distinctive red robes wandering the streets of Taihuai along with many pilgrims from Tibet and Mongolia. Tradition has it that Majushri taught here in the early beginnings of Wu Tai Shan and many Buddhist believe this important bodhisattva still resides here. Most of the temple buildings date from the 14th and 15th centuries but a few go back as far as the Tang Dynasty (618AD - 907AD). You may also find examples of Tang Dynasty Buddhist art in a few of the temples. Wu Tai Shan provides a fascinating glimpse back into the history of an ancient center of Chinese Buddhism.

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Other Sacred Mountains of China:

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Set 2 - Click on Thumbnails to view image

Wutai Shan

The monastic village of Taihuai Zhen is a colorful place. Dozens of temples, crowds from the big city mixing with the rural peasants and monks, and many shops selling items for the pilgrim make for a exciting visit.
One of the main streets of Taihuai
Monks out for a stroll, Watchtower in background
Street market
Taihuai is also a small town in a rural setting
Taihuai street
The Pagoda at Qifo Si temple
The bell tower at Guangzong Si
View of some of the towns temples

Wen Shu 文 殊

Bodhisattava of Wutai Shan

Detail of roof framing at Bi Shan Si
Detail of roof framing and temple art
Court yard in front of the temple. Yuanzhao Si
Temple buildings at Yuan Zhao Si
Old monk at Guanren Si
Guan Yin altar at Ji Fu Si
Serpent Nagas protecting Buddha
Guardian lion and bell tower
Buddha of Bi Shan Si - Great Hall
Two of the 18 Lohans in the Great Hall
Roof framing on the temple buildings
Tibetan monks at meeting to pray for peace, Guangren Si
Worshipers at the Qifo Si temple
Yuanzhao Si
The Tourist Bodhisattva
Buddha at Ta Yuan Si
Luohou Si entrance
Detail of sulpture Yuanzhao Si
Monk at collection box
Monks at the Nan Tai temple
Mountain graveyard Nan Tai
Typical of the many paintings in the temple
Altar figure at Bishan Si
Monks taking a break from their studies
Roof detail at Jinge Si
In terms of temple art and the constuction details of the temple the Bi Shan Temple is one of the best on the mountain
Views from various temples at Wutai Shan

Wutai Shan 五 台 山 - Buddhist Mountain of the North

Maps of Wutai Shan Area and Taihuai