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Cloudy with a chance of enlightenment

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While it didn't become a UNESCO World Heritage Site until 2018, Buddhists have considered Mount Fanjing (also known as Fanjingshan) a sacred and tranquil site for centuries. At 8,430 feet, Mount Fanjing is the highest peak of the Wuling mountain range in southwest China's Guizhou province. While many of the Buddhist temples built here have been destroyed, several remain, including the Temple of the Buddha and the Temple of Maitreya. Those two temples, linked by a small bridge, are located on top of Red Cloud Golden Peak, the rocky 'thumb' we're looking at here. In addition to the area's history, the mix of clouds, fog, and light creates a calming atmosphere and an air of mystery.

The Fanjingshan (Chinese: 梵净山; pinyin: Fànjìngshān) or Mount Fanjing, located in Tongren, Guizhou province, is the highest peak of the Wuling Mountains in southwestern China, at an elevation of 2,570 m (8,430 ft). The Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve was established in 1978 and designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1986. Fanjingshan is a sacred mountain in Chinese Buddhism, considered to be the bodhimaṇḍa of the Maitreya Buddha. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2018.

The mountain's name "Fanjing" is an abbreviation of Fantian Jingtu (梵天净土), or "Brahma's Pure Land". Fantian is the Chinese name for the Buddhist heavenly king Brahmā, and Jingtu is Chinese for "pure land", the focus of Pure Land Buddhism.

Fanjingshan is located in Tongren, Guizhou Province in southwest China. It is the highest peak of the Wuling Mountains. The elevation of its terrain ranges from 480 to 2,570 meters (1,570–8,430 ft) above sea level.

The Fanjingshan National Nature Reserve was established in 1978 and designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1986. The reserve covers a total area of 567 km2 (219 sq mi) and is a conservation area for primitive vegetation of the mid sub-tropic alpine region of western China. The mountain was designated a World Heritage Site in July 2018.

Fanjingshan's relative isolation has ensured a high degree of biodiversity. Endemic species such as the rare Guizhou golden monkey (Rhinopithecus brelichi) and the Fanjingshan fir (Abies fanjingshanensis) occur only in a small region centering on Fanjingshan. Several endangered species, including the Chinese giant salamander, forest musk deer, and Reeve's pheasant are also found in Fanjingshan. It is also home to the largest and most contiguous subtropical primeval beech forest.

Elevation: 8,432 feet


   
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