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Cultural Heritage / Trip Ideas

Exploring the birthplaces of Kung Fu

By Teng Mu

July 27

Shaolin Temple in Henan, Mount Wudang in Hubei and Mount Emei in Sichuan are the three birthplaces of Chinese Kung Fu.

Shaolin Temple in Henan, Mount Wudang in Hubei and Mount Emei in Sichuan are the three birthplaces of Chinese Kung Fu.

Have a profound look at the three birthplaces of Chinese Kung Fu before starting your Wushu journey.

1. Shaolin Temple, Henan 河南少林寺

Shaolin Temple [Image Credit: Chinanews.com]
Shaolin Temple [Image Credit: Chinanews.com]
Located on Mount Song (嵩山) in Henan, the Shaolin Temple is the birthplace of the famous Shaolin School. It is now still a flourishing temple attracting numerous Buddhist disciples, visitors and martial arts enthusiasts. You can appreciate the historical relics while watching the amazing Kung Fu shows.

There are several spots you mustn’t miss in the Shaolin Temple: Shanmen Hall (山门), where once hung the famous tablet reading “Shaolin Temple”; the Hall of Heavenly Kings (天王殿), where the statues of the four Heavenly Kings are enshrined; and Mahavira Hall (大雄宝殿), the site where major temple activities are conducted. Other must-visit sites include the Pagoda Forest (塔林) , the Dharma Cave (达摩洞) and the Shaolin Temple Wushu Training Center (少林武术训练馆).

Best time to visit: March -Nov.

Entry: 100 yuan/person

Transport:

By train: Take the train to Zhengzhou or Luoyang, and then the bus to the Shaolin Temple.

By air: Take the airplane to Zhengzhou, and then the bus to Shaolin Temple.

Opening hours:

Peak season (March -Nov.): 7:30 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.

Off season (Dec.-Feb.): 8:00 a.m.- 5:30 p.m.

2. Mount Wudang, Hubei 湖北武当山

Wudang Mountain [Image Credit: travel.china.com.cn]
Wudang Mountain [Image Credit: travel.china.com.cn]
The birthplace of the Wudang School, Mount Wudang, is a famous Taoist shrine located in Shiyan, Hubei. The Wudang School differs from the Shaolin School in that it is guided by Taoist theories such as Tai Chi, Yin and Yang, thee Five Elements and Eight Diagram Boxing. It stresses soft movements and flexibility, and bases its kung fu on routine and strict discipline.

Mount Wudang has seven scenic areas. The most noted scenic spots are Golden Summit (金顶), the Palace of Harmony (太和宫), the Grand Purple Cloud Palace (紫霄宫), the South Cliff Palace (南岩宫), the Yuxu Palace (玉虚宫), the Prince Slope Architectural Complex (太子坡建筑群) and the Xiaoyao Valley (逍遥谷).

Best time to visit: Spring and autumn

Entry: 245 yuan/person

Transport:

By bus: Take the bus from Wuhan, Shiyan, Xiangyang or Danjiang City to Mount Wudang.

By train:  Take the train from Wuhan to Mount Wudang Railway Station.

By air: Take the airplane to Xiangyang, and then take the train to Shiyan.

Opening hours: 8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.

3. Mount Emei, Sichuan 四川峨眉山

Baoguo Temple [Image Credit: china.org.cn]
Baoguo Temple [Image Credit: china.org.cn]
One of the four iconic mountains of Buddhism in China, Mount Emei is well-known for its elegance and steepness. Of course, its status as the birthplace of the Emei School of Chinese Kung Fu also adds to its fame.

The Emei School combines the “hard” Shaolin and “soft” Wudang styles. It tries to seek a balance between toughness and tenderness, external force and internal strength, thus producing a unique school of Chinese Kung Fu.

On Mount Emei, must-see spots include: the Golden Summit (金顶), where the world’s highest Buddha stands; Baoguo Temple (报国寺) and Wannian Temple (万年寺), the main ritual  spots; Qingyin Pavilion (清音阁), a great spot to observe the surrounding scenery; and the Natural Ecological Monkey Area (生态猴区).

Best time to visit: Spring and autumn

Entry: Peak season: 185 yuan/person; Off season: 100 yuan/person

Transport:

By bus: Take the bus from Chengdu or Chongqing to Mount Emei.

By train: Take the train to Emei Railway Station; or take the train to Chengdu, then take the bus to Mount Emei.

By air: Take the airplane to Chengdu or Chongqing, and then take the bus to Mount Emei.

Opening hours:

Peak season: 6:00 a.m.- 6:30 p.m.

Off season: 7:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

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