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Tianmen Mountain: Cable car your way to heaven

Who knew that Heaven was at the top of a cable car? We’re talking about the one that takes you 24,500 feet to the top of the Tianmen Mountain. Why, you ask, would you want to go all that way? The ‘Gateway to Heaven’ we reply.

The Tianmen Cave is the highest naturally formed arch, perched 5,000 feet above sea level. At a height like this it isn’t surprising why they call it a gateway to heaven. A French company Poma constructed the cable car from nearby Zhangjiajie railway. Tourist publication in the area claims it as the “longest passenger cableway of high mountains in the world.” Not only do you get to see a natural phenomenon, you also get to take in the beautiful scenery on the cable car journey up the Tianmen Mountain.

The fascinating act of nature and the myths and religious mythology have visitors flocking to climbs its 999 steps to heaven. Nine is a lucky number in Chinese numerology and infers fortune and eternity. If a cable car to the 99 steps isn’t your thing you can take a bus along narrow road that bends, yep you guessed it, 99 times.

Tianmen’s know if has the holy mountain, it used to be a cave. But around 263 AD on of the mountain sides collapsed and created its unique shape and the naturally highest arch. A temple was built in 870 AD adding to the already religious pull of the place. It is claimed to be the Buddhist centre in Western Hunan.