Miaofeng Mountain, with its towering peaks rising majestically to a height of more than 1,300 meters, is the major peak in the northern range of the Western Hills. Situated at a distance of about 70 kilometers from downtown areas, its sheer cliffs, jutting crags and tortuous mountain paths make it one of the most renowned scenic spots in northern China.
Toward the end of the Ming Dynasty, it was the custom to hold temple fairs on Miaofeng Mountain every tear during the fourth month of the lunar calendar. People from all over northern China would travel great distances to make their pilgrimage to the Tempe of Inspiration (Linggangong), known today as the Temple of the God of Mount Tai (Dongyuemiao), and to the Shrine of the Great Goddess of the Blue Sky (Bixiayuanjunci), also called the Temple of Niangniang, both of which are situated on the mountain summit. These temples are reputed to have been built during the Ming Dynasty though the exact dates of construction are unknown.
The Temple of Niangniang was the home of three female deities; the Sacred Goddess of the Heavenly Sages (Tianxian Shengmu), the Sacred Goddess of Brilliant Insight (Yanguang Shengmu) and the Goddess of Sons and Grandsons (Zisun Niangniang). A legend held that Emperor Kangxi dedicated the temple to these female immortals in honor of good deeds they performed on his behalf. As the legend spread, the number of pilgrims to the temple increased.
During temple fairs, tea stalls sprang up in great numbers along the route up the mountain and at nightfall their lamps would shine like a myriad of stars. The faithful pilgrims would nevertheless continue straight up the mountain without a rest in order to pay their respect to the deities.
The local people produced a variety of handicrafts, which became renowned as tokens of good luck. For instance, the red painted wooden fish were called “brimming with prosperity,” a pun on the words fish (yu) and brimming (yu), while the paper-cuts of children were called “boys who bring in wealth and treasure.”
During the War of Resistance Against Japan (1937-1945), the Chinese revolutionaries established a guerrilla base on Miaofeng Mountains.
In the Gully to the east of Miaofeng Mountain is Beijing’s famous Wild Rose Valley. Each year beginning at the end of May, the slopes of this valley are festooned with countless rose blossoms, which form a forest of brilliant green leaves and braches dotted with pale and dark red roses and perfume the air with a strong lingering scent.