Mount Wudang: Inspiring Superlatives, Spinning Magical Moments

The serene and spiritual mountain just six hours away from Wuhan cast its spell on Anjali Selva Kumar and Davian Chew, who were there during a five-week Overseas Immersion Programme at the Wuhan Institute of Technology organised by Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

The misty peak of Mount Wudang awaits as we begin our long ascent up the majestic mountain.



Published on
July 7, 2020

Alighting the bus at the midway point of Mount Wudang, we were greeted with a spectacular 360-degree view of the mountain. Located in Shiya City in the northwestern part of Hubei province, Mount Wudang was surreal and stunning. And the pictures we had seen before didn’t do this glorious mountain justice at all.

Mist encircled the peak of the mountain, blending seamlessly with the clouds, making the towering mountain, standing at 1,612 metres, seem like it was touching the heavens. 

The mountain is renowned as the home of Taiji and Taoism and has helped to spread the Taoist culture to the world.  According to our guide, who preferred to be called Man (曼), the complex of ancient Taoist temples at Mount Wudang was constructed in the Tang Dynasty (618 – 907).

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The entrance of Wulong Cable Car Station, which provides a convenient, scenic route up the mountain.

As if jolting us back to earth, the crisp air and cool breeze was a welcome respite from the still air in Wuhan and the sweltering heat in Singapore. It was so cold that even a denim jacket was not enough. 

The sky started to pour as we set off to “scale” Mount Wudang in a cable car. 

“I recommend tourists to climb up the mountain on a clear day as the view is nicer and the steps are not slippery,” said Mr Zhang, a local who has climbed Mount Wudang four times.

As the cable car made its climb up the mountain from Wulong Cable Car Station, our ears started “popping” – we were assured that was normal.

The cable car doesn’t take you all the way to the Golden Peak. It would still be a steep hike up for half an hour at least.

Even the misty weather couldn’t faze us as we took the cable car up. 

Our first stop on the way to the peak was a shrine, Zhuan Yun Dian, also known as Changing Luck Temple. That was where I had my first encounter with the Taoist beliefs, and it was a unique encounter, to say the least.

Our guide told us the shrine was said to be able to change the fate of those who walked through the passageway that snaked around it.

Locals, with their eyes shut while grasping the hands of those in front of and behind them, made their way through the walkway, murmuring prayers under their breath. 

Just three steps in and we were plunged into total darkness. The cool air within was hitting our skin harder than it did outside the shrine. The silence was deafening. 

The interior of this temple was pitch black; and the narrow passageway allowed only one person to pass through.  The one-minute walk was scary but there was no turning back as there were many others in the queue behind us. 

There is another reason for not turning back:  The Chinese have a saying that luck does not go backwards. You can only look behind you after you exit the temple. 

As the light at the end of the passageway appeared, we felt more at peace and we left the shrine, not before saying a prayer of thanks to the deities.

Finally, we arrived at the Golden Tabernacle at the peak of the mountain. This temple, one of the most famous in Mount Wudang, houses a bronze statue of Zhen Wu, the namesake of Mount Wudang.

Therefore, it was no surprise that a large group of people were gathered in front of this golden-tiled 600-year-old temple, waiting for their turn to kneel and pray at the foot of Zhen Wu. It is said that inside the temple is a flame which has not been extinguished for 607 years.

The exterior of the Golden Tabernacle.

There is also a shop where you can get your name inscribed on a padlock. Sold at 50 yuan (S$10) each, it symbolises prosperity and good health.

You can descend the mountain by cable car but we chose to trek down the mountain instead. The trek down the mountain is not easy as the steps are steep. Not all the steps have railings so it can be dangerous!

You can also make your descent on a sedan chair for 500 yuan (S$100). Make the decision early – if you give up trekking mid-way and ask for a sedan chair, the price is not halved.

The descent down the mountain was more precarious due to the sudden downpour, but it was a thoroughly fulfilling experience nonetheless.

The trek down the mountain is no easy feat because it is not a downward descent all the way – some steps lead you up before the next set of steps lead you down.

Although our two-hour long trek down the mountain was knee-buckling, it proved to be an apt time to reflect. The hike up had left an impression on us physically, emotionally and most surprisingly of all, spiritually.

The air of hope and faith on the mountains that worshippers exuded was something we had never experienced before, and may never again. With all the chaos and distractions that occur in our daily lives, it was therapeutic to have our minds cleared and our hearts filled with peace, up on Mount Wudang.

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11 months ago

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2 months ago

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20 days ago

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