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Home Hangzhou Travel Hangzhou Attractions Tianmu Mountain National Natural Reserve

Hangzhou Tianmu Mountain National Natural Reserve


Tianmu Mountain(天目山, literally translated as the Mountain of Eyes on Heaven) is a nationally famous summer resort and the internationally important site of natural reserve. Established in 1958 with the approval of the Central Government as felling ban area, Tianmu Mountain National Nature Reserve was promoted as a national reserve in 1986 and included by UNESCO in the International Man and Biosphere Reserve Network (MAB).

The Gorgeous Landscape of Tianmu Mountain National Nature Reserve, Linan, Hangzhou

The topography and unique Buddhist culture have made Tianmu Mountain a wonder of the world for its quite entire preservation of its wildlife and vegetation. It is situated in the boundary region of Zhejiang province and Anhui province, and administrated in Linan county-level city, Hangzhou. Tianmu Mountain National Nature Reserve covers a total area of 4,284 hectares. It is only 84 kilometers away from Hangzhou, and the main peak has an altitude of 1506 meters.

Since it known gradually, Tianmu Mountain is a famous mountain with a long history of Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. Originally named Fuyu Mountain(浮玉山, Jade-Floating Mountain), and today’s name is originated from Han Dynasty. It is comprised of east and west peaks, and each summit has a natural pool, which never dries up all the year. Seen from the sky, they look like the eyes staring at the heaven.

Tianmu Mountain has a long history and great culture. It is a cultural and religious mountain mingled with three main religions of China – Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. Zhang Daoling(张道陵, 34 - 156), the founder of Taoism as a religion, was said to be born here and cultivated himself in Tianmu Mountain for many years. Today’s Room of Lord Zhang is for memorizing him. The historic sites like Eye-Washing Pond and Monastery of Prince recorded the life experiences of Prince Xiao Tong’s(萧统) reading period in Tianmu Mountain. Li Po, Su Dongpo, Zhang Yu and Liu Ji all left their poems after traveling in Tianmu Mountain. In Qing Dynasty, Emperor Qianlong visited this mountain and named it royally King of Grand Tree (大树王).

Buddhism in Tianmu Mountain has a history over 1500 years, and was one of China’s famous Buddhist Mountains. The most famous temples on the mountain are Shizi Zhengzong Temple(狮子正宗禅寺) built in 1279 and Chanyuan Temple(禅源寺) built in 1425. What’s more, It is a holy land of Buddhism as the cultivation center of Skanda, also known as Wei Tuo(韦陀天尊, who is a Mahayana bodhisattva regarded as a devoted guardian of Buddhist monasteries who guards the Buddhist teachings. He is also sometimes called in the Chinese tradition "Hufa Weituo Zuntian Pusa", meaning "Honored Dharma Protector Skanda Bodhisattva", because he is the leader of the twenty-four celestial guardian deities mentioned in the Golden Light Sutra – Wikipedia quotation)

The portrait of Wei Tuo in Chinese painting

Regional Climate - Tianmu Mountain lies in the northern limit of mid-subtropical zone. The climate there is damp monsoon climate, it is warm in winter and cool in summer. The annual average temperature in Chanyuan Temple is 14℃, and in July, the annual temperature averages 26℃. The annual temperature in its main peak Xianrending averages 8.8℃. That's why Tianmu Mountain is such a famous summer resort in East China. so for trip, the best time is from June to September.

Natural Features - Tianmu Mountain is of old geological age with an elevation of 300-1,506 meters. The Reserve has distinctive and diversified physical features with numerous valleys, rocks and precipices. There are 4 streams, 5 pools, 6 caves, 7 ravines, 8 terraces, 9 lakes, 12 cliffs, 27 stones and 28 peaks, presenting a scenic splendor.

Plants - It is mild and moist, and vegetation here is featured by its geological age and biodiversity. The region is one of the sites with the richest subtropical higher plant species in China. There are 2,160 species of higher plants, 1,781 species of seed plants, 151 species of ferns, 222 species of mosses and 69 species of mosses. Among them, more than 37 species are named after Tianmu Mountain and 1,200 species of medicinal plants. In the natural reserve, there are 35 species of plants under focal state protection, and some of them are rare and precious such as Katsura tree, Chinese tulip, yulan magnolia (Magnolia denudata), Tianmu sago cycas and so on. Ginkgo biloba, Cercidiphyllum japonicum, Liriodendron Chinese are endangered species. Ginkgoes are dotted in areas with an elevation of 300-1,100 meters. The ancient pines in Tianmu Mountain bypassed in the evolutionary process can top 80 meters and each volume of timber can reach over 40 cubic meters. There are only 5 Tianmu Tiemus (Ostrya rehderiana Chun), which are called single child of the earth.

The fantastic bamboo forest with a waterfalls as well as the towering trees in Tianzhu Mountain Scenic Area

Animals - The Reserve has a total of 2,139 animal species, among which there are 74 species of beasts, 148 species of birds, 44 species of reptiles and 20 species of amphibians as well as 1,853 species of insects kept on the record. However, according to the recent research, the number of insect species has already topped 3,000 and about 100 species are newly discovered. Whether they are new species or not has not been identified. Among numerous animal species, 35 species such as clouded leopard, white-necked pheasant and pangolin are under the state protection.

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