The hiking trail took us through soon-to-be green hills and past wild peach blossoms, up and over a 1,000m high ridgeline and down to Dajue Temple, a historic imperial temple in Beijng's West Hills. Along the way we took plenty of photos – read on to see them all!
Starting in a hawthorn orchard at the foot of the mountain, we climbed all the way up to the top on a dirt trail winding through a pine forest and a rocky section near the middle of the route.
Passing by beautiful vistas and the lovely smells of wild flowers, we passed a disused fire warden’s hut on the way to Phoenix Ridge, the high point of this hike. After a break for lunch, we headed down the paved pilgrim path, heading for Dajue Temple.
Dajuesi Temple was founded in 1068 during the Liao Dynasty (907-1125), and is one of the most famous monasteries in Beijing. It exhibits the typical east-facing orientation of the sun-worshipping Liao, in contrast to most other temples in China that are oriented to the south.
We took a tour of the main halls along the temple's central axis, getting a good look at all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Then, on the south side of the temple, we saw the rooms where the emperors would have stayed in when they worshipped here. Finally, on the northern side, we paid a visit to the rooms where the Buddhist abbots and monks lived and we saw the oldest magnolia tree in Beijing—just about to bloom!
After the temple visit and hike we enjoyed beers and snacks, celebrating this interesting and unforgettable day that transported us out of the hustle and bustle of Beijing. Cheers!