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Materials are provided by "Travel China weekly newspaper" By Ouyang Changpei
Golden Summit on Fanjing MountainFanjing Mountain, 2,572 meters above sea level, is situated in southwestern China's Guizhou Province. Having the best preserved ecological system, it has been designated as a national nature reserve.
Fanjing Mountain became one of China's sacred Buddhist mountains in the 16th century. In recent years, it has become a popular tourist destination.
Fanjing Mountain is also called Yuejing (Moon Mirror) Mountain, since on a clear night, people can see its reflections on the smooth rocks. In the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), there were 48 Buddhist temples. From the many remains of temples and precious steles left one can imagine the celestial atmosphere of that time.

A Paradise for Wild Animals

Guizhou golden monkey
Guizhou golden monkey
Fanjing Mountain is a paradise for wild animals. There you can find 304 species of mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles, and 17 protected species, including the Guizhou golden monkeys and South China Tiger.

The mountain also has a rare tree species, the dove tree. When spring arrives, the white blossoms of the tree look like white doves, hence its name. Dove trees grow in a belt between 1,000 meters and 1,800 meters above sea level, and more densely in area is between 1,300 meters and 1,400 meters, There is only one dove tree that grows on a spot 800 meters above sea level. This particular tree is much like a sentry guarding the forest or an envoy greeting guests thus many tourists have a photo taken with this special tree.

Vertical distribution of Plant life

Entering Fanjing Mountain from the Heiwan River, the first characteristic that attracts your attention is the clear water and lush trees, especially in autumn, when the waters are especially in autumn, when the waters are especially beautiful. Colorful pebbles and small fish line the river's bottom and the trees' leaves turn red. Arriving at the 10,000-Step Scaling Ladder, tourists can enjoy beautiful sights as well as the vertical distribution of vegetation on Fanjing Mountain.

Jiangkou is about 400 meters above sea level, while Fenghuang Golden Summit is 2,572 meters above sea level. In a section of 5 kilometers from the Heiwan River to Tongkuangchang, the altitude rises 800 meters; and the "10,000-Step Scaling Ladder," also 5 kilometers long, the altitude rises 1,700 meters, covering four climatic belts, five soil belts and five vegetation belts. Fanjing Mountain has 406 main tree species and over 500 species of medicinal plants, with 25 rare plant species under national protection, including the dove tree. When tourists pass through these vertical belts, they can experience the mountain's variation of climate and ecological environments.

From the foot of the mountain to Yu'ao is the first vertical belt (500-1,300 meters)-the evergreen broadleaf forest belt. The tree species include camphor tree and nanmu (Phoebe nanmu). From Yu'ao to Tianmen Tudi is the second vertical belt (1,300-1,800 meters)-the mixed evergreen and deciduous broadleaf forest belt (1,800-2,100 meters) is the deciduous broadleaf forest belt, grown mainly with beeches. The fourth vertical belt (2,100-2,350 meters) is the sub-alpine coniferous forest, and the main tree species are Chinese hemlock (Tsuga chinensis) and firs. All trees in this belt are covered by bryophyte. Here the weather is cold and the wind is strong. To preserve temperature and moisture, trees naturally accept parasitic plants. The fifth vertical belt (2,350-2,572 meters) is bush and grass belt, mainly containing bushes, such as azaleas and arrow bamboo. Some even stretch to the steps leading to Golden Summit on Mt. Fenghuang.

Some tourists like to ride a litter to tour Fanjing Mountain.
a litter to tour Fanjing Mountain.
Golden summit

The top of almost all Buddhist mountains is called "golden summit." Emei Mountain is well known, but Fanjing mountain is special in that it has three "gold summits." The first is on Mt. Fenghuang, the main peak of Fanjing Mountain, 2,572 meters above sea level, which once had temples where pilgrims would pray. The second is on Mt. Laoshan, 2,493 meters above sea level, which also had temples for Buddhist followers. The third, called Fanjing Golden Summit, a 94-meter-high huge rock, is 2,336 meters above sea level between Fenghuang golden Summit and Laoshan Gold Summit. Its top is often shrouded in colorful clouds, hence its name Hongyun( Red Cloud) Summit. The deep crevice that divides the top part of the rock into two parts is called Jindao (Gold Knife) Gorge.

A most fascinating natural phenomenon is Buddha's halo. In the scenic spots such as Golden Summit, Jiuhuang Cave and Mushroom Cloud, at sunrise or sunset, sometimes a halo of rainbow colors appears around the reflection, called "Buddha's halo." The sight of such a miraculous phenomenon delights people and sometimes, when a lightning occurs, people may find their enlarged reflections in the sky.

Fanjing Mountain attracts tourists for its beautiful scenery, historical sites and unique ecological system.

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