China is a land of great natural beauty, it is well known for the tall mountainous regions which are regarded as some of the most beautiful landscapes on earth. However in China, thousands of years of culture and religion has brought an added dimension to most of its beautiful mountain peaks, that of spirituality. The ancient Chinese smitten with the serenity that was offered by these mountains built a number of Buddhist and Taoist temples on these sites, which were to serve as places of pilgrimage and worship.
Prior to Mao’s Cultural Revolution, China was heavily steeped in Taoism, Buddhism and the spirituality associated with these religions and it is only in the recent past that these aspects of life have returned to the country. Mount Laoshan which is located in Qingdao is but one example of the Chinese search for spirituality in the natural beauty of the mountains.
Being located on the coastline, Laoshan overlooks the Yellow Sea which makes for breathtaking panorama that includes the green unspoiled mountain range as well as the turquoise blue ocean far away in the distance. According to historical sources in the year 412 Buddhist monk and traveler Faxian has arrived here and instigated the building of the temple.
There are more than two hundred places of historical interest on this mountain as it was a popular site for the construction of monasteries and nunneries because of the calm surroundings that enabled the monks to meditate freely. Among them are the famous Taoist temples and palaces such as Taiqing Palace, Dragon Pond Waterfall and Xufu Islet. Another side of the mountain has no temples but has hiking trails that allow visitors the chance to appreciate the natural beauty of the mountain range. These footpaths lead across valleys and hillocks and also come close to several natural waterfalls.
On the eastern side of the mountain, a giant granite cave known as the Naluyoan Buddha Cavern can be seen in addition to several other Buddhist places of worship. Mount Laoshan is located a short drive outside downtown Qingdao and is accessible from a hotel in Qingdao such as Copthorne Hotel Qingdao. Guests staying at Qingdao hotel should definitely take the opportunity to travel outside the city and experience this area of natural beauty.