Qianshan National Park Scenic Tourist Attractions
Qiānshān National Park (千山国家公园) is a mountainous national park in Liaoning Province China, 17km by road, south east of Anshan. The park is referred to as 'The Northeast Pearl'. The name Qianshan literally means 'Thousand mountains'. This is actually an abbreviation of the full name, Thousand Lotus Flower Mountains (千朵莲花山; qiān duǒ liánhuā shān). According to legend, a long time ago the four corners of the sky collapsed. The Goddess Nüwa wanted to save the people living below so she patched up the sky with stones. One stone was accidentally dropped to the ground where is splashed, throwing the earth into thousands of peaks in the shape of a lotus blossom. Thus Nüwa created Qianshan. The park area of 44 square kilometres, is filled with both Buddhist and Taoist temples, monasteries and nunneries. Here is one of few locations where both religions are found sharing the same site. Among the peaks, a naturally wrought statue of the Buddha stands 70 meters high. It is claimed to be largest naturally occurring image of Maitreya Buddha in the world.
The area has a long history of religious worship dating back 1200 years to the Tang dynasty of China. The Emperor Taizong, Li Shimin, of the Tang Dynasty visited the site and added to the temples here. It was enhanced during both Ming and Qing dynasties. Emperors Kangxi and Qianlong visited and the poetry that they wrote while here can be seen. The revolutions of the twentieth century saw the site abandoned and some buildings damaged. The park has since be restored and expanded with new Pagoda and temples for the Maitreya Buddha.
At it's highest point, Qianshan reaches an elevation of 708.3 metres. The park is densely wooded with 95% of the area covered by forests. Over ten thousand of the pine trees have been estimated to be older than 100 years in age. Rare flora and fauna are found here along with a large number of plants used in traditional Chinese medicines. Over a hundred different species of birds can be observed in the park including the rare black-headed stork.
Motor cars are not allowed within the park. Tourists must either walk or hire one of the electric carts. Many paved foot paths climb steeply up the hillsides through thick forest. These foot paths lead past, Steele, honoring the dead, small shrines, pagodas and temples. Three cable car routes connect to several of the parks scenic peaks. However, none of the cable cars go the whole way up, leaving visitors some climbing if they wish to attain the summit.
Among Qianshan's scenic spots is a new discovery - a mountain in which has be shaped by nature in such a way that it resembles the Maitreya Buddha. The Buddha stands 70 metres high and 46 metres wide and is claimed to be the largest naturally occurring image of Maitreya Buddha in the world. Several temples have been built on the peaks overlooking the Maitreya Buddha. These include: The Pagoda of Maitreya, Great Buddha Temple, Pavilion of Buddha, Greeting Gate, Holographic Buddhist Character and Tachibana Hoxdox. The park has become the venue for the Qianshan Great Buddha Festival in June every year.
Transport to and form The Park
The nearest city is Anshan, some 18 kilometers away. Liaoning's provincial capital, Shenyang, lies about 90km to the north. Shenyang airport is the closest to the park. Coaches and trains run between Anshan and Shenyang very frequently. The train will take 50 minutes and the coach about twice that. Alternatively, Dalian city, south of Anshan also has a public airport. Coaches to and from Dalian run about four times daily.
There is a frequent bus service to Qianshan from the bus station in the centre of Anshan near to the train station. Take bus Number 8. The fare is 2 Yuan each way. buses are crowded at times, and rather slow. Return buses wait near the main gate of the park. A taxi will take you from Anshan city centre to the main gate for around 35 to 40 Yuan. You can rely on the meter of the Taxi; it starts out at 6.00 Yuan and starts ticking over from 2km onwards. Taxis are commonly waiting at the park gate for your return journey.
Transport and Accessibility Within the Park
Motor cars are not allowed within the park. Tourists must either walk or hire one of the electric shuttle buses which are available for 10 per person per ride. Walking is preferred and is the only method by which to mountain summits may be reached. The main roadway in the valleys is well paved and wide. The mountain tops are gained via well defined, stone laid, paths and stairs. These mountain paths are very steep. For those who are less fit, three cable car routes can convey you up the hill sides. However, none of the cable cars will take you the whole way, leaving you some climbing to do by yourself.
Entrance to the main park is 80 yuan per person from April 1 to October 31 and 60 yuan from November 1 to March 31. Electric bus is 10 yuan per person per journey. Cable cars cost 20 yuan per person at the Great Buddha Scenic Spot and Heaven above Heaven Scenic Spot. The cable car is 30 yuan at the Five-Buddha Summit. In addition, some temples and monasteries may charge a small entrance fee upwards of 5 yuan each, however, many are free to enter. The Aviary at the back of the park charges an additional entrance fee. The Qianshan Immortal Summit—China’s Forest Park, costs 30 yuan per person entrance.
Sights of Interest
Maitreya Buddha scenic spot. This is the worlds largest naturally formed image of Buddha. It is fully 70 metres high. On the peak overlooking the Buddha mountain is the Maitreya Buddha temple and pagodas. The site is relatively new, having only been discovered mid 1990's. A stepped path leads up to the summit. Alternatively, a cable car runs part way up the mountain but not all the way.
Heaven above Heaven. Near to the main gates of the park, this summit can be reached by several routes. Either climb the stairs past Wuliang Taoist Temple or use the cable car. However, the cable car route here is relatively short and there remains a significant climb both before and after the car journey. If you continue along the ridge, you will pass such sites as Seventh Heaven, the Ninth Heaven, the Narrow Path between Rocks, wooden fish, rootless rock, pitiable pine, and the sky-watching frog. The ridge walk will lead you over to and route down to Five Dragon Temple or you can continue on to the Five Buddha Summit.
Five Buddha Summit. This is the second highest peak in the park. At the top there are five statues of the Buddha. The site is said to date to the Tang Dynasty. Direct access is only by cable car followed by a very steep climb by foot. The ridge way runs to Heaven above Heaven though decent can also be made about half way along via the Longquan Buddhist temple.
Immortal Summit - China's forest park. To the south of the main park, this area has it's own entrance and separate charges. Here ancient pine trees, many over 100 years old, can be seen as well as Buddhist temples. The peak here, at 708.3 meters above sea level, is the highest in Qianshan park.
Garden of Birds. Situated towards the back of the park near the cable car to the Five Buddha Summit, the Garden of Birds contains over 100 different types of birds.
Dragon Spring Temple (Longquan Temple). Legend has it that Taizong, Li Shimin, an Emperor of the Tang Dynasty, drank of the waters here and found them to be sweet. Today two spring waters can be found, one is bitter in taste and the other sweet. The film "The Bell of the Ancient Temple" was made here.