Located on the southern side of Tiahang Mountain and close to the town of Jiaozuo in Henan province, Shennong Altar Scenic Area borrows its name from Emperor Shengnong who is thought to have grown several different species of herbs around the area.
Covering an area of 50 square kilometers, it is set in a magnificent natural environment of lush greenery, natural caves, tremendous peaks, wild herbs and rich wildlife. Ancient ruins and cultural relics add a mystical touch. The northern side of the site is more naked and rocky while the southern site is covered by forest and stimulating fauna. Shennong Altar Scenic Area is divided into the following main scenic spots: Zijin Purple Peak, Baisong Ridge, Monkey Shelter, Yunyang River, Fu Xidian and Linchuan Temple.
Things to do
Shennong Altar Scenic Area underwent plenty of Dynasties from the 4th until the 15th century including Sui Dynasty, Tang Dynasty, Song Dinasty, Yuan Dynasty, Ming Dynasty, Qing Dynasty and the Five Dynasties (907-960). Ancient ruins from Yingshao, Xiashang and Longshan are scattered around the whole site. With a Buddha statue standing on Taipingui Cliff and more that 1.000 figures, that carry stone tablets with religious inscriptions on their side, hidden around, the area is also known as “The Cetner of Taoism and The Holy Land of Buddhism”, a name which it acquired in older times.
Zijin Purple Pick is the highest among all peaks in Shennong Altar Scenic Area, and at the same time, the site’s most popular attraction. With a height of 1028 meters, this imposing peak scratches the clouds and is known for a special natural phenomenon: due to strange weather conditions its tip is usually surrounded by purplish fog. That is the reason it is called Purple Peak. Zijin Purple Peak is the set ground of various ancient stories and is supposed to be the very spot where Shengsong grew medical herbs naming the whole area after him. Another legend has it that Laozi, the founder of Taoism, became an Immortal on this peak after fashioning immortality pills that contained the vital energy of the peak.
Other famous Chinese characters are supposed to have set a foot on Zijin Purple Peak as well, including Emperor Li Longji (Tang Dynasty) and the ancient poets Han Yu and Li Shangyin, who fount this place to be a great source of inspiration. The way to the top is pretty steep but the ones who make it will be rewarded with one of the most amazing views of Shennong Altar Scenic Area.
Baisong Ridge is an 11 kilometer long series of peaks which serves as the natural habitat of a wide variety of endemic flora and fauna. With more than 300 different plants growing within its boundaries, 100 of the herbs found there are used as traditional Chinese medicine. On the top of the ridge one can find an exotic Chinese tree variety known as Pinus Bungeana. Around 40 different species of small animals and birds live on Baisong Ridge as well. Monkey Shelter is another popular corner for wildlife spotting in Shennong Altar Scenic Area. Being the home of 2000 lovable macaque monkeys, which are divided into nine groups, it offers the visitor a chance to take a close up look at them eating, playing and resting in their natural environment.