A cool, misty retreat from Sìchuān basin’s heat, stunning Éméi Shān (峨眉山; 3099m) is one of China’s four sacred Buddhist Mountains (the others being Pǔtuó Shān, Wǔtái Shān and Jiǔhuá Shān). A farmer built the first Buddhist temple near Jīndǐng summit in the 1st century, marking Buddhism's arrival in the Eastern world. That temple stood until it was gutted by fire in 1972, and many of the more than 150 temples on the mountain suffered fires or looting over the centuries but around 30 have been maintained and restored in various degrees. Reconstructed in the 9th century, Wànnián Temple is the oldest surviving temple on the mountain.
Beyond its rich cultural heritage, the mountain also stands on the edge of the eastern Himalayan highlands and hosts a diverse range of plants and animals. Together with nearby Lè Shān, Éméi Shān is on Unesco’s World Heritage list.