The Chinese phrase for "going on a pilgrimage," ch'ao-shan chin-hsiang, actually means "paying one's respects to the mountain," as if the mountain were an empress or an ancestor before whom one must kneel. In China, sacred travel and the cult of the mountain were endemic. The recorded history of Taoism began during the second century A.D., and regarded mountains as home to immortals and as places where magic herbs to aid transcendence could be found. Confucians saw mountains as emblems of world order.

Gretel Ehrlich, Questions of Heaven