Yunnan · Dali · Binchuan
Chicken Foot Mountain 鸡足山

Yunnan's holiest Buddhist mountain with great views from the top.

In Binchuan’s northwestern corner, where Eryuan and Heqing meet, rises Yunnan’s most important Buddhist site, ‘Chicken Foot Mountain’: named for three ridges towards the west opposing one to the east of ‘Heaven’s Pillar Peak’.

Jizushan has been an important Buddhist temple mountain since the days of the Three Kingdoms. The rulers of Nanzhao added a number of temples, but the mountain reached its peak of splendour during the Ming and Qing, when several thousand monks lived on the mountain and the number of temples exceeded forty. During the iconoclasm of the early communist years most temples suffered badly, only the pagoda on top surviving unscathed.

During the Ming period Jizhu Shan became a regular pilgrimage destination and many of the early travel writers, such as Wang Xishing (1591), Xie Zhaozhe and Li Zhi, came to visit, with Xu Xiake spending several months in the temples on the mountain.

At the foot of the mountain lies Jizushan township, from where a trail first leads to Zhusheng Temple, the largest of the many temples on the mountain. From here the main trail continues up towards Huidan, Jiaye and Copper Tile Temple.

But the best views of Erhai and the Cangshan range are from Huashou Gate. Further steps up lead to the spectacular pagoda of the Jinding Temple right on the top of Tianzhu cliff. Standing besides the temple the Chinese count four important sights: the sun rising in the east, clouds in the south, Jade Dragon Mountain in the north and the Erhai/Cangshan panorama in the west.

Travel Notes

There is simple accommodation on top of the mountain, essential if you want to see the sunrise from the peak. A cable car leads up the last section for those too tired to face all the steps.

Next Markets