Kongtong Mountain, Pingliang
Lying on the urban area of Pingliang, Gansu Province, Kongtong Mountain rises 2123 meters above sea level. It is one chain of the Liupan Mountains, with Guan Mountain in the north, Taitong Mountain in the south and Jitou Mountain in the back, facing the Jing River, boasts ’the spectacle in Western counties’ and ’the most famous of Taoist mountains under Heaven’. Kongtong Mountain was named for the Taoist concept that every worldly affair is vain and one should maintain tranquil in his inner world and have no desire.
It is the first mountain you encounter when going to the west in the ancient Silk Road, was listed as a national key scenic area in 1994. With luxuriant forests, perilous peaks and grotesque rock formations, Kongtong Mountain shares the grandeur of northern mountains and the beauty of southern mountains.
The milk-like Jing River and Yanzhi River below the mountain meet and pass from the north and south sides of the mountain to the east. Kongtong Mountain was esteemed as one of the Xianshan (a fairyland like mountain) by the religious field. It also has quite a few historic scenic spots, for instance, the magnificent Mazong Mountain, the peculiar mountain sights, the unique and quiet Wutai scenery, the mysterious Xuanhe Cave, and the attractive Tangzheng and Yueshi Gorges.
Pingliang is located in the hinterland of loess plateau, where nature give birth to a mysterious Kongtong Mountain, and the Thunder Peak boasts the unique of Kongtong scenery, which is a gift bestowed by nature to Pingliang people. It has precipitous cliffs with abysses below, and in thunderstorm season, the thunder reverberates across hollow valleys just like mountains collapsing and the earth cracking up, panic-striking, thus Thunder Peak was named.
Tourists who mounted the summit of the Thunder Peak will marvel at the green peaks and calm and glassy surface of the lakes. If looking down, the cliffs with thousand miles will dazzle you; if you walk down along the mountain roads or along the staircases or across the stone caves, you will feel that as you take one step, one scene appears.
The poet Han Rongyou of Qing Dynasty says, ’One peak outstands from others; When we climb up the mountains, the rolling hills seem to have paths but virtually not. The iron chains encircled and connected the mountains; the seemly dangerous wood bridge hanging between the cliffs; we could seek adventures in the mountains; and appreciate the attractions along the caves. Clouds rising from the bottom of the valley and the thunders bring the rain; leaning to the railing to view when the red sun colored the mountains red. ’What a beautiful scene it is!
The two-storey Laojun Hall is built in Ming Dynasty. The above floor is the main hall, nestling at the west and facing the east, with wood stairs for climbing up and down. Inside the hall you can find the sitting statue of Laotse to be an oblation, flanked by Yinxi and Baigu(white bone) statue. On the walls around there are 81 colored pantings of Laotse painted in the Jiajing Period of the Ming Dynasty, totally 82 tablets. It is a set of exquisite comic strips, colorful and brilliant, with vivid stories and lifelike characteristics. It is rarely seen across the country. And the south part of the main hall lived the Taoist priests.