Wudang is and has been the center of Daoist thought, practice, and belief for centuries as one of the four sacred mountains of Daoism. It is here that Daoist legends like Zhang San Feng cultivated wisdom and attained enlightenment. Through the mountains, many have come in pilgrimage to pay respects to the sacred origin of Daoist practices like TaiJi Quan and the deities within the Daoist religion. It is here among the misty mountain peaks that Zhang San Feng created the original TaiJi system. The branches of this system are still studied and taught throughout Wudang.
Wudang Mountain is also home to many temples where students and monks have been trained as disciples to carry on the practices and belief systems of Daoism. These practices are rooted in a return to living in tune with nature and following the seasons, both of the world and of life itself.
Wudang has been recognized as a UNESCO Cultural Heritage site since 1994. With this recognition, Wudang has been renovating and reclaiming the older temples that have been lost to time. Each step is a tribute toward Daoism and the balanced existence and peace that it inspires. Many journey to the mountain each year to take part in an experience that helps them gain stability by finding clarity, improve health by practicing martial arts, and cultivate wisdom by discovering their true path in life.
YuXu Gong was originally built in 1413. The temple is at the base of Wudang Mountains and once spanned over two thousand rooms at its peak. Since then it has been reduced to solely the main courtyard and a few outer structures. There are four structures that house the large stone tortoises that hold stone tablets on their backs as well as a few structures that have been renovated since 2010.
In 2010, there was a large scale renovation started to bring the grounds back to their previous prestige. The ancestral building still stands, although there have been additions and recreated rooms throughout the temple grounds. Everything was traditionally built and painted by hand. Following the renovation, trees were planted around the courtyard.
The temple was reopened after the largest gathering of Daoists ever recorded journeyed to the temple to celebrate its 600 year anniversary. The festivities covered the city and the mountainside as Wudang paid homage to its Daoist roots.
The Wudang Mountain range is a main destination for Daoists, health enthusiasts, spiritual retreats, and both national and international tourists. The mountains welcome all to come and experience the rich ancient culture of Daoism and the treasures to be found through self cultivation and practice.
There are numerous temples spread out over the beautiful landscape of the Wudang Mountains. The Five Dragon Temple is one of the oldest and first temples constructed for Daoist beliefs, prayers, and offerings. Throughout the mountains you can find temples that honor Xuan Wu (Zhen Wu), and the other deities within the Daoist hierarchy where monks continue burning incense and chanting prayers to this day.
Along the pilgrimage to the summit, there are many different temples to visit and pay respects The Southern Cliffside Temple (NanYan Gong), the Purple Heaven Palace (Zi Xiao Gong), and the Prince's Temple (TaiZi Po) are the main stops along the way. The mountain preserves the Daoist and Chinese traditions of unique teas, calligraphy, music, chanting, philosophy, religious practice, and martial arts. There are many ways to get to Wudang Mountain, but the experience in itself leaves each person with something special that they carry with them for the rest of their lives.
The Golden Summit (JinDing) is the temple where offerings are brought, incense is burned, and prayers are whispered from all of those who journey to the peak of the mountain. This temple touches the sky and is a special place where Daoists strive to embody this and connect the earth to the heavens. It is here that traditionalists come to bring good fortune to their families and ring in the new year with luck and happiness. The original stairs that still lead the way to the summit, have weathered time and carried all those who have answered the call of the mountain for centuries and completed their pilgrimage.