Wu means 5, Tai means Peaks and Shan means Mountain.
Wu Tai Shan literally means the five peaked mountain.
There are five main peaks…and we stayed at the Main Village which was surrounded by mountains, as it was called the Middle Peak.
There are 120 Temples, and the main population of Wu Tai Shan is the monks who live here. In the past they were reliant on growing their own food but today donations have made their lives easier, and they do not need to work producing their own food. The temples offer accommodation for those wanting to stay there. The cost is a voluntary donation and the amount depends on what you wish to donate.
Wu Tai Shan is the abode of A Bodhisattva named Mansjuri, so it is a place where devotees come from all over the Buddhist World to pay their respects and also to pray and worship and study. It is the home of Tibetan Buddhism so many of the devotees are monks from Tibet who come to climb the steps to the top of the Middle Peak as a sign of their devotion.
Along with the Tibetan monks who were praying on every step or sweeping every step, and a large group of Chinese devotees, we also climbed the holy steps to the top of Middle Peak.I think the Temple on top of this peak is called Bodhisattva Summit
Middle peak is named Cuiyan Peak, with an elevation of 2,895 meters. The peak is surrounded by towering chains of mountains.
As early as in 68 A.D. (the 11th year of Yongping, Han Dynasty), the unique topographic landscape of Mount Wutai was discovered by notable monks Kashyapamatanga (Shemoteng) and Dharmaraksha (Zhufalan) from India. They thought that Mount Wutai was extremely the same as Rajgir Hill of India where Lord Buddha Sakyamuni explained Buddhist doctrine. So they had Emperor Ming build “Dafu Rajgir Temple (Dafu means promote and believe)”, which is the predecessor of the present Xiantong Temple. Xiantong Temple is the earliest temple has the longest history among the temples of Mount Wutai. Among succeeding years between 471-499 (Xiaowen Emperor, north wei period), more temples were being buit: Shuxiang Temple (first built between 319-350 and destroyed in early Qin, rebuilt between 384-417 in late Qin), Bodhisattva Summit, Bishan Temple, Foguang Temple.
During the south-north period, there were 200 temples in Mount Wutai, many of them remains till now after rebuilt: such as Prince Temple, Lingfeng Temple; Wu Tai Shan reached its peak during Jin Dynasty. There are 360 temples in Mount Wutai, those lasted until nowadays are: Zhulin Temple, Jingang Temple (golden temple), Shouning Temple, Princess Temple, Qingliang Temple, Ancient Zhulin Temple, etc.
During Sui and Tang Dynasty, there were China Buddhism Pavilion Temple, Tayuan Temple, Luohou Temple, Yuhua Temple, Jixiang Temple, Puji Temple, Jingming Temple, Baohua Temple, Nanchan Temple, Guangji Temple, Wanghai Temple, Falei Temple, Yanjiao Temple, etc. During Song and Yuan Dynasty, Buddhism of Mount Wutai developed smoothly and there were 70 temples. In Yuan Dynasty, 12 temples were added. In Yuan Dynasty, Lamaists began to be stationed in Mount Wutai and the great Lama was engaged as national advisor. From then on, it became the one and only Buddhism sacred place that contains Han-Buddhism and Lama-Buddhism in one mountain. During Ming and Qing Dynasty, Chinese Buddhism was re-energized, the temples of Mount Wutai rose up to 104. Especially during Kangxi and Qianlong prosperity period of Qing Dynasty, 25 yellow temples (represent Lama-Buddhism) and 97 black temples (represent Han-Buddhism) were formed, Han-Buddhism and Lama-Buddhism developed together. Up till now, there are 68 temples in Mount Wutai, among them there are 21 outside the platforms and 47 inside the platforms. There are 7 yellow temples and 40 black temples among those 47 temples inside the platforms.
There are 1036 monks and nuns; 16,000 lay Buddhists. Buddhism activities are continuous all the year and international communications are frequent.