The Laoshan Mountain

Laoshan, one of China’s scenic mountains, is located some thirty kilometers east of the coastal city of Qingdao in Shandong (Shantung)Province. While only 1,200 meters high, it towers on the coast in unique surroundings not found with the better known mountains Taishan and Huangshan. In fact since ancient times, Laoshan has been known to exceed the beauty of Taishan in many respects, but, with poor communications, few visited it Laoshan was once looked upon as the home of immortals.

Driving along a highway which rises and falls, twists and Turns, you come to the foothills: the vast blue sea to one side and a forest of mountain peaks on the other. Girdled by white Clouds, these rocky pinnacles seem to pierce the sky.

A lonely rock standing in the sea resembles an old man and is called “the 0old Stone Man”. A folk tale handed down through the ages tells of an old fisherman who 1ived in the south. Deeply in debt to a local despot, after the death of his wife he left his home taking his son and daughter and wandered until settling down Dear Laoshan. But even here there was no peace to be found. The owner of a nearby fish shop coveted his young and beautiful daughter. One day, when he and his son were both out of working, a band of pirates in a junk came ashore and dragged the girl away. Alarmed by the girl’s Screams, the old man rushed home, but it was too late. He dashed to the beach only to see the junk setting sail. In despair, the old man plunged into the sea. Suddenly, the weather changed and a huge wave rose to swallow the junk and everyone on it.

Stupefied, the old man stood frozen. When the son returned and saw his father standing there in the sea, he rowed towards hin calling out. There was no response. Drawing closer He saw that it was not his father but a huge rock. The boy returned home, but there was no one to be found. The fire in the stove had long gone out. Eventually, the son married and had children of his own and gradually a vil1age, the Old Stone Man Village grew up there. The slopes of Laoshan Mountain are covered with lush green woods and bamboo groves spotted with occasional isolated buildings. One particularly worth seeing is Taiqinggong, the largest temple on Laoshan. The temple—originally bulk in the 10th century and then rebuilt at the end of the l6th century. With the mountain be hind it and the sea in front stretching into the horizon, the temple is comprised of more than a hundred small buildings. The structure are well laid out; the architecture exquisite. The main hall of the temple is fronted by two azalea trees, one with flaming red blossoms and the other with rare snow-white flowers. Several ancient trees flourish here including tall cypresses, gingko trees and an elm. The elm tree was planted over A thousand years ago in the Tang dynasty. Its trunk measures four meters in diameter and reclines and twists dragon-like. One of the best of Laoshan’s famous fountains is here, its water clear and sweet. It has never been known, even ill the severest of droughts, to dry up.

Not far from tile temple is a massive rock on which i s carved the words: “A Wondrous Scene”. A short distance away, matching inscription on another rock says: “The Sea Blends With the Sky”. In the glow of the sunset, the sea shimmers with a golden sheen blending and merging with the sky to be come one.