Mount Lushan (廬山) – A Green Jade blended with History

Here comes a popular saying, “No other mountains under heaven can surpass Mount Lushan”. Located in Jiujiang, Jiangxi province and the southern part of Yangtze River, Mount Lushan is blessed with craggy cliffs, roaring waterfalls, infinite rock formations and cultural artefacts. Such spectacular landscapes, created during the Fourth Glacial age with the rubbing geological movements, are often bathed in the dreamy sea of clouds for around two hundred days per year. Mysterious though it seems, we, speeding through the highway from Nanchang (Jiangxi’s major city), can’t wait to see this horst-style block mountain, a mountain that is hailed as a world-renowned summer resort, from ancient centuries to present days.

After two hours ride, verdant hillsides and lush mountains chains were looming in a nearer distance and soon, we found ourselves to be in the main entrance of Lushan National Park. With weather as steamy as 37°C, Mount Lushan, known with the heavy cloak of fog, was unexpectedly bright and clear under the boiling sun on that day. Under the gentle shade of emerald trees, we, in a line, started trekking on the sun-kissed stairs step-by-step. As the climbing elevation got higher and higher, so was our sweat dripping. Yet we still strolled through the traditional pavilions and arched bridges that were open for panoramic views of large boulders, abundant vegetation, stretching ridges and undulating peaks. Just stop and take a look, the dynamics of rock shape and beautiful slabs of granite intrigued me. Some rose acutely like a giant from the ground base while others look perilously grandeur hanging in the middle of the azure sky. While hosts of Taoist and Buddhist temples (such as Donglin Temple), associated with the spiritual faith of the traditional Chinese, were all coexisted with the forested landscape of this scared hill in harmony. It is admittedly easy to lose oneself in sublime beauty of Mount Lushan.

 

Not only were we irresistibly enraptured by such breath-taking views, but also numerous Chinese poets including Li Bai and Bai Juyi in Tang Dynasty, as well as Su Tungpo in Song Dynasty. Mount Lushan was also the cultural cradle where pastoral poetries were initiated by Tao Yuanming, with his expression of untamed wilderness and fascination towards the purity of nature. While the Academy of White Deer Cavern, which is resting on this hill that embodied imperative philosophies of Zhu Xi and neo-Confucianism, is one of the four most famous academies in ancient heydays. Even during 1936, alongside being the summer spot of Chiang Kai-shek, it was the venue where he met with Zhou Enlai to discuss a united front against the Japanese invasion and at last in the following year, announced a full mobilization for war against Japan. After the establishment of the People’s Republic, the significance of this hillside endured due to the three conferences of the Chinese Communist Party under the chairmanship of Mao Zedong. This vibrant mountain, alongside its remarkable natural environment, is also endowed with historical value.

On the rest of the upward stairs, we walked on, followed the footsteps of those Chinese poets, and our toil finally paid off after arriving at the Three Tier Spring. Being around the backside of the Five Elder Peaks and at the lower source of the Qinglian Valley, it plummets endlessly along the three-tier cliff for 155 metres, while in the meantime splitting the grand rocks, crashing the cliffs base and converging waters in an irresistible force. Under the midday sun-rays, the thunderous downpour glinted in golden light, as if countless pearls were sliding into the turquoise pool. Its regular tinkling sound, orchestrated like a symphony in forte, lured me to stand in the vicinity to witness the vivid power, deafening roar and the majestic view of tumbling waterfalls that had been praised since the ancient times. Granted, if there is no Three Tier Spring, Mount Lushan is not worth visiting.

 

Hardly is a natural-cultural treasure so bound to each other as this magnificent mountain. After our leave, my heart still lingers on the ageless wonder, distinguished elegance and picturesque scenery of Mount Lushan. No wonder this priceless green jade is bestowed the title of must-visit world heritage and the first key scenic district of China. Refer to UNESCO’s remark of these shades of emerald green: “With its peculiar style in historic remains, which is melted with remarkable natural beauty, Mount Lushan has formed a highly- aesthetically-valued cultural view closely relevant to the spirit of the Chinese people and their cultural life”. Well-said indeed. ♦

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