Chinese emperors would come to this awesome temple at the southern foot of Tai Shan to offer sacrifices and pay homage to the god of Mount Tai before tackling the mountain. The present structures date mostly from the Song dynasty (A.D. 960-1127). Built in 1009, the awesome nine-bay Tianhuang Dian (Hall of Heavenly Gifts), decorated with yellow glazed tiles, red pillars, and colorful brackets, houses a statue of the god of Tai Shan and a gorgeous, if faded, 62m-long (203-ft.) Song wall mural depicting, from right to left, the Zhenzong emperor (998-1023) as the god of Tai Shan embarking on an inspection tour. In the courtyard in front of the Hall of Heavenly Gifts, blindfolded visitors to the Cypress of Loyalty literally run circles around a nearby rock (three times clockwise, three times counterclockwise), after which they try to touch the fissure on the south side of the tree. It is said that those who succeed (and very few do) will have luck.
In the back of the complex is a lovely 1615 bronze pavilion, Tong Ting, which was formerly housed in the Bixia Temple on the mountaintop. West of the pavilion is an octagonal iron pagoda, Tie Ta, originally built in 1533 with 13 stories, each one cast separately, but only three survive today. The northern gate of the temple marks the beginning of Hongmen Lu and the imperial way up the mountain.