Jiuhua Shan, which mean Nine Glorious Mountains, and is otherwise known as Jiuhua Mountain in English, is located in Qingyang County in the south of Anhui Province. It is perhaps most well known as one of the 4 mountains of China sacred to Buddhism.
Jiuhua Mountain, tightly situated in between the mighty Yangtze River to the north and Huangshan to the south, is famous for its picturesque landscapes and ancient Buddhist temples in the area. In fact, Huangshan, or Huang Mountain, meaning Yellow Mountain, it is famous in its own right as one of China's premier tea-growing regions, with the most variety being Mao Feng.
Jiuhua Mountain is said to have gotten its name from a compliment it received from the famous Tang Dynasty (618-907) poet, Li Bai (also known as Li Po), who is credited with having said the following beautiful but mysterious phrase while visiting the mountain: "Magic is divided into 2 branches; sacred mountain [read: Jiuhua Shan] generates 9 glories." The mountain has actually possessed a number of names throughout history, including Lingyang Shan during the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220), and Jiuzi Shan (meaning Nine Peak) during the Liang (502-556) and the Chen (557-588) Dynasties of the Southern Dynasties (420-588) period.
Covering an area of some 120 square kilometers, Jiuhua Mountain was once home to perhaps a hundred Buddhist temples, though only 78 still survive today. According to an old Chinese saying, though certainly exaggerated, "Scattered in the clouds and mists of Jiuhua Mountain are a thousand temples." It is no wonder, given such a reputation and atmosphere, both literally and figuratively, that Mount Jinhua would become the perfect refuge for reclusive monks who desired a place far away from the beaten path in which to meditate and practice their simple and humble way of life.
The most famous monk to arrive on Jiuhua Mountain was Korean and went by the name of Kim Gio Ga. Some people said he resembled the bodhisattva Ksitigarbha so much that the monk was believed to be a reincarnation of the beloved bodhisattva. Bodhisattva Ksitigarbha’s mission was to deliver people from the torments of hell on earth, or the condition of being trapped in continued reincarnations, never achieving nirvana. The large number of Buddhist temples on Jiuhua Mountain is said to be directly attributable to the popularity of Kim Gio Ga.
In total, there are 99 peaks on Jinhua Shan, over 30 of which exceed heights of 1,000 meters above sea level. Shiwang Peak, at 1,342 meters, is regarded as the most dominating.
Furthermore, Jiuhua Mountain is set in a picturesque mountain range covered in pine trees and fog, and with barren rock outcroppings here and there which only accentuate the mountain range's greenness. With its many peaks that form connecting ridges, verdant flora, odd rock formations, frothy waterfalls, and clear mountain streams, not to mention its enormous expanse (housing 18 special scenic sites) and dozens of Buddhist temples,
Jiuhua Mountain is understandably a popular tourism venue that attracts visitors of all kinds and from everywhere. This includes a rapidly increasing number of foreign tourists who are either intrigued by the mountain's role as a Buddhist holy site or are drawn there thanks to its many diverse and beautiful landscapes.