There are nine different mountains across China that are accorded spiritual or religious significance to either Buddhism or to Taoism. Pictured here is the Temple at Hua Shan or Mount Hua. Located near the city of Huayin in the Shaanxi Province, it is part of the Qin Ling mountain range that divides China.
Taoists believed that in the mountain lives the god of the underworld. The temple at the foot of the mountain was often used for spirits mediums to contact the god and his underlings. Unlike Tai Shan, which became a popular place of pilgrimage, because of its inaccessibility to the summit, Hua Shan only received Imperial and local pilgrims, and was not well visited by pilgrims from the rest of China. Hua Shan was also an important place for immortality seekers, as many herbal Chinese medicines are grown and powerful drugs were reputed to be found there.
Within numerous religions are provisions for pilgrimages onto mountains. Buddhist, Taoist, and Hindu are only a few. In the American Southwest Catholicism pilgrimages abound through the region in various forms. The ascent of humanity to the heights of the heavens to get closer to the gods or spirits has long been a theme in various life paths. In addition to organized religions, there are those who find themselves in a new element, looking down upon the world below with the wind flowing through their hair.