Mount Hua, located near the city of Huayin, is known for its long-held spiritual and religious significance. The mountain is more than just a single peak, though. It’s actually known today for having five separate peaks, unlike the count of three that were originally discovered. The number of peaks is where the mountain cluster gets its other name, “The Five Great Mountains Of China”. However, the most remote peak is something special. The southern peak is topped with a temple that has been converted fully into a teahouse. Originally, to meet the demand of a growing number of tourists, the temple began incorporating a tea ceremony that has become world-renowned before it was converted from a monasterydraws even more visitors than ever before.
The Real Stairway To Heaven
The only way to the top of the southern peak is a long journey. It begins with a series of carved stone steps called the “Heavenly Stairs”. This staircase is so steep that a single misstep could mean tragedy. The path becomes even more treacherous as you go along, though. Once at the top of the stairs, a gondola of questionable structural integrity carries passengers over the valley to the base of the southernmost peak. The path up to the mountaintop is then a simple hike along a rickety wooden ledge that is so narrow hikers must literally sidle along the mountainside to reach the end. Once past this path, though, the trek becomes only more difficult as visitors must ascend another set of stone steps so steep they make the Heavenly Stairs look like child’s play. Needless to say, it is not a pilgrimage for the faint of heart, but it is worth it for the reward at the end.
Tea For Your Trouble
The Taoist temple at the top of the peak is similar to the many others nestled along Mount Hua. It is a large, but simple structure built into the rocky mountain peak. It easily expresses the ascetic practices of the original inhabitants. The incorporation of the tea ceremony is only natural since the original tenants so heavily incorporated tea into their daily meditation. Today, the temple is no longer a monastery housing Taoist monks, but a teahouse that serves the daring hikers a refreshing drink once they have reached the top.
Despite the number of deaths that occur during the treacherous climb each year, the number of visitors deterred seems to be minimal. For thrill seekers and extreme hikers, the Mount Hua teahouse is a must-see. For a stunning view and a uniquely satisfying climb, a visit to this precariously positioned teahouse must be on your bucket list.