With a name that translates to literally mean “five plateau mountain” Wutaishan is one of the 4 sacred Buddhist peaks in China. Home to more than 50 temples and monasteries, Wutaishan was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2009.
With some of the temples dating back to the Yuan dynasty and a few of the wooden buildings said to have been built in the Tang dynasty, it makes a great place to visit for a few days.
The layout of Wutaishan makes it a little different to China’s other sacred mountains, many of which require a trek up a mountain-side to get to the temples. A variety of accommodation is available in the town centre which also houses some of the main temples, making a visit to the key attractions much more accessible without transport.
It was also the first place I was introduced to the creative skills of fashioning wheat gluten, soy protein and other vegetarian base products into “mock-meat” – reproduced to look amazingly like its non-vegetarian model, with attempts also made to mimic the texture too. A very surreal experience to be eating king prawns that look just like the real thing but are not. This makes the food here different but it also very good, and sheer delight for vegetarians.
The decorative elements at some of the temples here were one of the standouts for me – fabulous brasswork and exterior paintings/murals both symbolic and intricate. The surrounding countryside and mountains make a beautiful backdrop, while sunset from the east peak is quite stunning.