It's Mount JiuHua (九华山)
It was such a tough assignment for me to plan this trip. First of all, I didn't know how to access to JiuHua town, didn't know what bus to take from which city, didn't know how long it take to travel to the town from the nearest city, and didn't know how to travel around the town even if I manage to get there.
I could only relied on internet, but the information on the net is really limited. I tried to search in both Chinese website and English website, but to no avail. I have a few options:
1. Take train from Shanghai to JiuHua town (I was not sure whether there
is any train between these two points).
2. Take train from Shanghai to HuangShan, then take bus to JiuHua town.
3. Take train To Nanjing, then from Nanjing take bus to JiuHua town.
4. Take train to HeFei (合肥), then take bus to JiuHua town.
I managed to get slight idea and decided to take train to Nanjing. There, I had another disaster. I didn't know where is the bus station, I was not sure whether there were still tickets to go to JiuHua town same day as I reached Nanjing. When I came out from Nanjing train station, I totally lost direction and not sure to walk to east, or west... I didn't even know which direction was east, which was west!!!
Finally I got to JiuHua town! But there were more puzzles for me to fix! Where was the hotel? Should I take bus, taxi, or "tok-tok" to the hotel? How far was it from the bus station? There were so many illegal agents trying to grab us! How much is the entrance ticket to Mount JiuHua? How should I buy the bus ticket and entrance ticket? And when I get to the mountain foot, which peak should I start from?
Totally not know where to begin with.
I am summarizing my experience here and hope this post can give those who wished to make a pilgrimage to Mount JiuHua a helping hand (I heard that there will be flight or even high speed train to go to JiuHua town from Shanghai soon).
I took a flight to Shanghai (I should have landed in Nanjing and take a bus from there straight), and from Shanghai, I took a train to Nanjing (high speed train, took 1.5 hours to reach).
When I came out from Nanjing train station, I was not sure which direction to go. Of course the only way was to ask, but the people there will ask you to walk to east, or west, or south, or north... They don't use "left" or "right"!! How would I know the direction?!! Now I know, that, when we come out from Nanjing train station, just turn right and walk straight all the way, for about 15 minutes (you will walk pass 2 McD, and 2 KFC), then Nanjing Bus Station is on your left (there is a big sign!).
Before I reached the bus station, I bought the ticket from one small both (luckily, else if ticket finished, I might have to stay a night in Nanjing!). The bus trip took 4 hours to reach JiuHua bus station.
From JiuHua bus station, I still need to buy another bus ticket to enter JiuHua area (and need to buy entrance ticket). If you reach JiuHua bus station late, you may miss the bus that can bring you to the area and need to stay in any hotel outside the area (like me). My hotel was only about 2 km from the bus station, so I took a "tok-tok" to my hotel. Next day I went back to JiuHua bus station to chart a bus to JiuHua area.
Once I enter JiuHua area, I got to walk to another parking area to chart another bus to the foot of one of the peak and take cable car from a station called Feng-Huang Song (凤凰松).
There are 99 peaks and 90 temples in the whole JiuHua area, so which one should I start from? I decided to visit those temples that are related to Ksitigharba Bodhisattva (Di Zang Wang Bodhisattva) as my time was limited. There are 4 main temples which Ksitigharba Bodhisattva was there before:
First temple that you will see if you take the cable car from Feng-Huang Song.
This temple was where Ksitigharba Bodhisattva chanted a sutra until leaving
deep foot print on the floor.
After the first temple, if you look up, you will see this temple at the peak
of the mountain.
This temple is the highest temple above one of the peak in the whole
This temple near the JiuHua area (old town), you can put this as
last temple to visit after you have descent from the peak,
but NEVER miss it.
Why you should not miss it? Because this is where they keep Ksitigharba
The body was not rot even after He has gone to nirvana for 3 years!
If you walk all the way down from the first temple (and not take cable car),
you will pass by this temple.
This temple is where lots of sutras are kept.
It really worth the trip there as I gained so much insight and awakening from this trip. I will post up more photos about this mountain in my next post.