Introducing Jiǔhuá Shān
The Tang-dynasty Buddhists who determined Jiǔhuá Shān to be the earthly abode of the Bodhisattva Dizang (Ksitigarbha), Lord of the Underworld, chose well. Often shrouded in a fog that pours in through the windows of its cliff-side temples, Jiǔhuá Shān exudes an aura of otherworldliness, heightened by the devotion of those who come here to pray for the souls of the departed. At times, though, it seems that the commerce that drives the religion – religious trinkets, good-luck charms and overpriced joss sticks abound – detracts from the overall experience. However, true believers seem to be able to brush it all off with their fervency. With its yellow-walled monasteries, flickering candles and the steady drone of Buddhist chanting emanating from pilgrims’ MP3 players, the mountain is an entirely different experience from neighbouring Huángshān.