If you’re a tea lover, pay attention, we’ve got news for you; if you’re not, don’t worry, but pay attention anyway. They say the harder you work for something, the more you’ll enjoy it. That’s the reason why people appreciate whatever they earn by their hard work. If that’s the case, tea lovers, would you dare to risk your life just for a sip of tea on top of a mountain? Like seriously, would you climb steep hills just to grab a cup of tea? Huashan teahouse on top of Mountain Hua is such a destination you’d want to embark upon.
Related media: The Journey To The World’s Most Remote Teahouse
The Huashan Teahouse
This daring teahouse is located about … kilometers ( … miles) from Xi’an — one of China’s most popular tourist destinations known for it’s fine cuisine, it’s many large pagodas, including the famous terracotta soldiers.
Mountain Hua, or Huashan in Mandarin, is in central China’s Shaanxi Province, part of the Qinling mountain range, one of China’s Five Sacred Mountains, and is one of the most popular tourist attractions and pilgrimage sites for Chinese people. It’s home to numerous Taoist temples, and a religious destination for many pilgrims. The mountain has been steeped in religious history since a Taoist temple was first built at its base in the second century B.C.E. One of the most famous of those temples is on the southernmost peak, an ancient place that has since been converted to a teahouse. It’s considered to be one of the world’s most dangerous places to hike.
The Dare Deviling Steep Climb
You might be wondering, how on Earth in the mysterious name of nature would a teahouse be located on top of a mountain for all purpose. Before you get to the teahouse, you’ll have a two-hour trek just to get from Xi’an to Huashan, that’s the easy part. But to really get to the Holy Grail — the tea — you’ll have to ascend the Heavenly Stairs. Don’t be fooled by the name: This journey isn’t as divine as you might think it is. To make things easier, you can call for delivery service, but unfortunately, who’ll dare to do that on your behalf? You might want to spring for it, though, but it’s not an available option.
The so-call Heavenly Stairs are shallow steep stairs carved directly into the mountain; and if thinking of guard rails. Spoiler alert: there aren’t any. That’s not even the most harrowing part of the trip. As you climb higher, you’ll get to the infamous plank walk that’s located on the mountain’s highest peak — again, no guard rails — that trail leads up to this teahouse. The plank-walk, sometimes called “the most dangerous trail in the world,” is a detour along the path to the teahouse, the Taoist temple Cuiyun Palace. That’s fitting because the “Tao,” which translates as “the path” or “the way,” will always lead you to tea.
This isn’t even the most daring part, you’ll have to hang onto a chain bolted into the mountain and slot your feet into holds chiseled into the sheer rock face. Though it’s more than 2,154 meters (7,070 feet) above sea level, yet surprisingly, you’ll surely run into traffic with tourists and pilgrims hanging off the sides of the mountain with nothing but the open air between you and the 2000 meter trip to the ground; but unfortunately, if you happen to fall. Ouch! But Heaven help you if someone else is coming down while you’re heading up — you’ll have to squeeze past each other somehow.
What’s So Special About This Tea?
We’d like to ask what the heck is on top of Mountain Hua that’s worth a cup of tea? Well, its all in the name of religion. It’s believed to be part of Taoism, having significant benefits on the human personality in all aspects of our psyche — health, spirituality, as well as mentality. Taoists seek harmony with nature — not only outer nature, but also inner.
“Tea is part of that integrated path of well-being,” says Ken Cohen, a Taoist scholar and tea master. “It is deeply linked with the Taoist search for health, for longevity, spiritual wisdom and health benefits now validated by Western medical science.”
At the peak of the mountain, the water is pristine — its obtained from snowmelt, rain and mountain springs. But sometimes, not usual, though, porters have to carry water to the temple. Now imagine such a journey up hill and down, this makes the idea of getting a cup of tea seem like no task, but its worth it. These porters navigates the treacherous trails while carrying up to 45 kilograms (100 pounds) of construction materials, food, water and rubbish up and down.
“The purpose of the ceremony is to find how you can maximize your experience, from what kind of utensils you use, to how you prepare the water, to the amount of tea you put in the cup,” Cohen says. “The only rules are those that are necessary to bring out the flavor of the tea.”
But, if after all that, you’d still like to savor a cup of tea from the temple on top of Mount Hua, go ahead. Fortunately, the trip has been made easier with several varieties available, so the tea isn’t quite so hard to come by. We’d like to keep on enjoying Starbucks.
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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Mon, Feb 25, 2019.