Fengdu is 168km from Chongqing. It is a collection of buildings of monasteries, temples, and shrines overlooking the river. Otherwise, the mythic temple of the underworld is the prototype of the complex, showing the culture of the afterlife to visitors.
According to legend, Fengdu got its name of Ghost City during the Eastern Han Dynasty (25 -220 A.D.). Two imperial officials, Yin Changsheng and Wang Fangping, came to Ming Mountain to practice Taoism, and in the process they became immortals. Meanwhile, the combination of their names, Yinwang, means “King of Hell”. It was the beginning of the site’s focus on the underworld. In addition, many of the temples and shrines show paintings and sculptures of people being tortured for their sins.
Furthermore, Tianzi Palace said to be the office of Yama, King of Hell is the largest, oldest and best-preserved of the temples. The giant face of the “Yama” on the hillside, holds the Guinness World Records for the biggest sculpture carved on the rock.
Fengdu Ghost City was built based on people’s imagination. It consists of the Palace of Hell, Gate of Hell, 18 Layers of Hell and other organs of the Nether World. Statues of ghosts and instruments of punishment are varied, but similarly scaring.
Taking wherry at wharf in the new city of Fengdu County, people can get to the famous Ghost City in 5 minutes.
A giant statue of the King of Hell stands on the Mingshan Mountain, attracting visitors’ sights as soon as they get off the wherry. Actually, Fengdu people do not believe in ghosts, but like using them to describe the real world and enrich lives. During the Spirit Festival, local people will get the family together and prepare a meal to memorize ancestors.
Formerly, vendors in specially-set business zones would wear ancient clothes to celebrate temple fairs. They asked customers to put money into a water-filled basket, saying the paper money would float if they were human and sink if they were ghosts. Customers would respect local customs and enjoy the culture of ghost.
Fengdu Ghost City is hidden in the mountains and buildings there constitute the head of the King of Hell. The ghastly environment makes the place more fearsome.
Visiting the Ghost City at night is a different experience. Black and White Impermanence (two deities in Chinese folk religion in charge of escorting the spirits of the dead to the Underworld) welcome visitors at the entrance. Actors/actresses will interact with people along the road to the mountain top. 3D holographic projection is also used to create a horrifying environment. It’s recommended that easily scared people go with friends. But please do not hit the actors or actresses even if you are frightened.
Mingshan Mountain is also beautiful at night. Tourists can enjoy ancient buildings and overlook night views of the city. Mingshan Mountain and the 2,000-year-old Ghost City promote the culture of goodness, instead of ghosts. All the legends and stories here are to encourage people to be kind.