Mount Huangshan, or Yellow Mountain, in the eastern province of Anhui, is referred to as ‘the loveliest mountain in China’, and arguably it’s also the country’s most romantic.
Renowned for its magnificent scenery made up of ancient pine trees and rocky peaks emerging from a sea of clouds, it is also home to an impressive collection of padlocks.
Particularly on Lotus Peak, 1,800m above sea level, the metal chains and poles that line the mountain trails are covered in thousands of locks, attached by couples as a symbol of their everlasting love, keys thrown into the valleys of mist below.
Some claim that the love lock tradition is an ancient Chinese one; although in Europe it can be traced to an Italian romance novel.
There are varying stories as to the origin of the padlocks on Mount Huangshan - some say it is related to a figure of Chinese folklore, Yue-Laou (a kind of patron saint of love and marriage), while others claim it is inspired by a true story of forbidden lovers who jumped to their death from the mountain, hand in hand.
There’s even a suggestion that the theme of love can be interchanged with luck, and the throwing of the key should coincide with the making of a wish.
Its beginnings and intentions aside, the affixing of locks on Mount Huangshan is equally embraced by those who visit and those who arrange the visits, and it is therefore a requisite stop on any love lock world tour.