Chinese pilgrimage activity initially originated from natural worship in primitive religion, but large-scale and organized pilgrimage-to-mountain activities started from and ceremonies of worship of Heaven and Earth during the Qin and Han Dynasties.
The pilgrimage activities in Mt. Wudang could trace back to the period from the late stage of the Eastern Han Dynasty to the Wei, Jin, Southern and Northern Dynasties. And the majority were carried out by the believers in a form of training and cultivating themselves to attain immortality. In the late Han Dynasty, due to political reasons, a number of people that once served in the imperial palace went to Mt. Wudang to learn to attain immortality and lived in seclusion in the mountain.
During the period of the Tang and Song Dynasties, the emperors believed in Emperor Zhen Wu. Thus, the worship to Zhen Wu changed from animal adore into personality adore. The activities of pilgrimages to Mt. Wudang became quite flourishing. After Yaojian"s successful pray for rain, Emperor Taizong made a temple built for people to worship. Later, Chen Tuan lived in seclusion in Mt. Wudang. Emperor Huizong of the Song Dynasty constructed the purple Heaven Palace. Mt. Wudang therefore became a famous fairyland.
In the Yuan Dynasty, as a fairy place for Emperor Xuan"s ascending to heaven, Mt. Wudang drew great concern from Taoist site for the coincidence that Emperor Renzong shared the same birthday with Emperor Xuan. The Grand Sacrificial Ceremony participated by imperial family members was not only large in scale and high in frequency, but also long in time and profound of influence. It further propelled the worship to Emperor Zhen Wu (Emperor Xuan) from high-rank officials and noble lords to folk people. March 3 rd and September 9 th in Chinese lunar calendar have both become festivals for mountain pilgrimages and incense-offering. Pilgrims gathered at Mt. Wudang from all directions. They brought a great number of sesame oil and local products that provided a material base for the religious development.
In the Ming Dynasty, Mt. Wudang was conferred a title as the Grand Mountain and became the place for the imperial court to worship Emperor Xuan. The pilgrimage activities in Mt. Wudang by the imperial court were held frequently, with a minimum of several times or a maximum of ten times a year. From Emperor Chengzu, all the newly-enthroned emperors would send imperial commissioners to Mt. Wudang to hold grand sacrificial ceremony praying for the populace. Everywhere the commissioners went, welcoming ceremony was held by local officers. In the Yongle 22 nd year(1424). Emperor Chengzu of the Ming Dynasty ordered the Taoist Master of the 44 th generation and Ren Ziyuan who was in charge of the Yuxu Temple to hold a 7-day-night grand ceremony to celebrate the completion of constructing Taoist temples and palaces in Mt. Wudang. Over 1,000 relevant officers at different levels took part in the event. In the Jiajing 5 th year(1526), Emperor Shizong ordered the Taoist Master of the 48 th generetion and officer Wu Shangli to Mt. Wudang to hold sacrificial ceremony celebrating "the completion of the Grand Ceremony"(Emperor Shizong succeeded to the throne as a monarch. Later, despite of the objection from the countries, he conferred posthumously a title to his father as Emperor Gongruixian. The event was called "the Grand Ceremony".) 460 Taoist priests joined the construction work of the grand sacrificial ceremony. Also participating in the construction were tens of hundreds of officers of different ranks from varied places. Besides the emperor, other imperial family members including empresses and imperial concubines also made pilgrimages to Mt. Wudang, holding grand sacrificial ceremonies and spending a great deal of money. The behavior of the imperial family inevitably influenced the ministers. And there were also quite a lot of pilgrims from the folk. Many historical records vividly portrayed the magnificent scene while people were make pilgrimages to Mt. Wudang.
When you enter Mt. Wudang and place yourself in the Grand Mountain of Supreme Harmony, what you see are the cloud roaming among the peaks. What you hear is the morning bell, the evening drums as well as the melodious Taoist music. You will definitely get lost in the vigorous and extraordinary natural scenery, the unrivalled imperial temples, the long-standing Taoist culture, the elegant and matchless gems of the cultural relics, the enjoyable Taoist music, the mysterious and profound Wudang Gongfu and the breathtaking fairytales and legends. At the moment, you will forget all the gratitude and resentments in the world and discover the deep meaning hidden in your life. You will believe that your soul is a pine, a flower, a cloud and a peak, all melt in Mt. Wudang a truly existing fairyland full of mysterious colors.