Mount Heng in Hunan — Magnificent Cultural Landscape and Representative of Longevity

Mount Heng in Hunan of China

Mount Heng in Hunan of China, Photo by Zuiniulvyou.

 

What Is Mount Heng?

 

Mount Heng in Hunan, also named Hengshan Mountain or Nanyue or Nanshan, is one of the Five Great Mountains in China. 

 

Besides its beautiful natural scenic views, the mountain holds exceptional values regarding history, culture, religion, legend, and mythology.

Buildings and Stone Inscriptions on Zhurong Peak of Mount Heng.

Buildings and Stone Inscriptions on Zhurong Peak 

 

Important Data of Mount Heng.

 

  • Mount Heng is located in Hunan Province, the south of China;

 

  • It is around 640 square kilometers large;

 

  • The highest peak, the Zhurong Peak, is 1300 meters above sea level;

 

  • There are over 200 temples in the Hengshan Mountain area.

Wanshou Palace inside of the Nanyue Temple of Mount Heng in Hunan.

Wanshou Palace inside of the Nanyue Temple

 

Why Mount Heng in Hunan Is the Representative of Longevity?

 

In Chinese Astrology, Mount Heng in the south corresponds to the star of longevity, which is in charge of humans' lifespans and wellbeing. 

Therefore, it has been representative of the long and happy life in Chinese culture.

Today, wishing a person lives as long as Mount Heng (Nanshan) is still a popular benediction on someone’s birthday, especially for aged people.

 Starry Sky of Mount Heng

 Starry Sky View from the Peak, Photo by Deng Minmin.

 

Cultural Importance of Mount Heng.

 

  • Mount Heng is representative of longevity in Chinese culture.

  • One of the earliest private colleges was built there (during 806 — 824), which later became a center of private academies in history. 

Yehou College on Mount Heng in Hunan

Yehou College of Mount Heng in Hunan

 

Who Are the Deities of Mount Heng?

 

  • Zhu Rong, the God of Fire in Chinese mythology, invented and taught people how to make and use fire. 

In other legends, Zhu Rong was the Minister of Fire and was sent to garrison the mountain area by Yellow Emperor

 

  • Nanyue the Great, or Nanyue Dadi, is in charge of water and aquatic life.

Temples to Worship Deities of Mount Heng on Top of the Zhurong Peak

Temples to Worship Deities on Top of the Zhurong Peak, Photo by Gan Lai.

 

Important Cultural Sites of Mount Heng.

 

 

Nanyue Temple

 

Firstly constructed in 725 to worship Nanyue the Great, it had been rebuilt and expanded several times in history.

 

Today, the 98,500 square meters large Nanyue Temple is one of the largest temples in China, with both Taoism and Buddhism halls inside. 

Nanyue Temple of Mount Heng in Hunan

Nanyue Temple Building Complex, Photo by shaddockpapa.

Zangjing Temple

 

Firstly built in the year 568, it had been a small temple hiding in the beautiful nature of the mountain range. 

 

After Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang (1328 — 1398) awarded this temple a Zangjing scripture, the master there changed its name to Zangjing Temple. 

Zangjing Temple of Mount Heng in Hunan

Main Hall of Zangjing Temple

Longevity Tripod, or Wanshou Dading

 

It is a 9.9 meters tall, 56 tons tripod, carved with 10,000 characters of "longevity" (Shou) from all historic periods and ethnic groups of China. 

 

This biggest tripod in the world now represents the Longevity Culture of Mount Heng in Hunan. 

Longevity Tripod or Wanshou Dading of Mount Heng

Longevity Tripod or Wanshou Dading

 

Impressive Natural Scenic Views of Mount Heng in Hunan.

Sunrise on Mount Heng in Hunan

Sunrise on Peaks, Photo by Zuiniulvyou.

Sunset Glow on Zhurong Peak of Mount Heng

Sunset Glow on Zhurong Peak

Magnificent Peaks of Mount Heng

Magnificent Peaks, Photo by Zuiniulvyou.