Thick, white clouds surround us almost as if we are floating above them. All the concrete of the city have disappeared beneath us, under that layer of marshmallow white clouds. There are only the soothing sounds of chanting prayers echoing in the distance. At 3,099 meters above sea level, all we see in the horizon are the clear blue skies and the sea of cloud at our feet.
We are standing on the peak of Mount Emei, the highest of the four sacred Buddhist mountains of China. Located on the western rim of the Sichuan basin, Mount Emei dominates the landscape of the Leshan county along with the world’s tallest Buddha. Dotted all over the slopes of the mountain are 76 Buddhist monasteries, and on its peak is where the first Buddhist temple in China was built, back in the 1st century CE. Today, the mountain is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and hugely popular with Buddhist pilgrims from all other parts of China.
During our visit, we made it up to Jinding, or Golden Summit, and hiked over an hour to get to the mountain’s peak. As a child, I’d heard of many Chinese mythical stories and legends surrounding this mountain, but nothing prepared me for this experience. Coming here felt surreal and I had an instant connection to the mountain. I’ll let Alberto’s pictures take you there with us and perhaps you can understand why.
The sea of clouds floats beneath the peak of Mount Emei
The highest point of the mountain, where entrance is prohibited
A photo that Alberto took of me sitting at the edge of the stone mountain
The Silver Temple at the summit
In the courtyard of the temple
Stairway to heaven: the steps that lead to the sea of clouds
A row of white elephant figures line the stairway
The Golden Temple at Jinding, the summit
Locks of love – people give their blessings using locks attached to the railings of Jinding
Massive statue of Samantabhadra shimmering in gold at the summit of Mount Emei
Disclaimer: This trip was made possible by China Odyssey Tours, but all opinions expressed above are our own.