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Yuhuang Mountain

Located just south of West Lake, Jade Emperor Hill(玉皇山) is in a magnificent location for the wandering traveler. Known more commonly as Yuhuang Mountain, Jade Emperor Hill gets its name from its relation to Taoism. It was once a place where the locals would come to worship emperor Yuhuang, the Taoist ruler of Heaven, Hell, and all realms of existence in between. Due to its hidden location between the lake and the Grand Canal, it has preserved a character of intimacy, and is known primarily by the local Hangzhou people.

A short half hour climb to the top will bring you to a lush bamboo forest, and centered by a Taoist Temple. Feel free to venture inside the temple, or explore the surrounding forest. When you reach the entrance, you will be greeted with a friendly smile from the Taoists, most of who will be engaged in study of ancient Taoist text or writing characters using paint and a brush, practicing a Chinese art known as calligraphy.

Another major attraction to Jade Emperor Hill is the intricate design of the wood carving that is displayed throughout the temple. The architecture and woodwork of the temple is astonishing, and it is nothing less than a library of carvings that reveal key aspects the 4 thousand year history of the Chinese culture. The pillars and facets of the temple are adorned with various carvings, each depicting a specific aspect about Chinese history as it relates to Taoist philosophy.

Whether you are fervent about Taoism, or are simply coming for a visit, you will feel a special energy that surrounds Jade Emperor Hill. It is centrally located, but far enough above the streets below that the sounds of the cars and traffic below cannot compete with the singing of the birds and the whistle of the wind above. From the one of the three looking terraces on the mountain top, you will get the best view of Hangzhou, with West Lake and the city on one side, complimented by the Qian Tang River and the Octagonal Diagram Field Relic Park on the other. From the peak of the mountain, a better view of beautiful Hangzhou is only possible from the window of a plane.

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