Huangling Temple is located at the foot of the Huangniu Mountain at the southern bank of the Yangtze River in the Xiling Gorge Section. It is the oldest and largest ancient architectures of the Three Gorges Area.
It was build during the Spring and Autumn period of about 770 BC to 476 BC and was commemorated Da Yu, who was a hero who controlled the floods in the Chinese history and the yellow ox who has helped Da Yu in controlling the water. Therefore it is also called as Yellow Ox Temple. During the time of the Song Dynasty, the Oyang Xiu who was a reputed rlitterateur and the county magistrate has changed its name to the Huangling Temple thinking that there was no yellow ox that has helped Da Yu.
This temple was used in the previous times for devotions and prayers. But, due to the several wars, it has been destroyed as well as rebuilt several times. The one present now has been rebuilt in the 1618 century in the Ming Dynasty. The temple Gate, Wuhou Temple or Zhuge Liang Memorial Hall, Yuwang Dian or The Hall of Da Yu is the main sections of this temple.
On Disembarking from Yangtze River you can see the antique drama playing stage after passing through the temple gate. Yuwan Dian is situated opposite to the flat and it is consider as the main architectural feature of this temple. It is also supported magnificiently by the 36 poles which are carved with the nine lifelike dancing dragons. The left of the hall records the flood water lever for more than 120 years. There is a huge board which states that the flood has reached here in the 1870 which was recorded as the most severe flood of Yangtze River ever. There are two wooden plaques in the hall and one of them is written by Cixi.
Wuhou Temple is towards the right of the Yuwang Dian. It is the only plaque now which can be seen from inside. There is a garden behind the temple with the cycas revolute thumb which is believed to have been planted by Zhuge Liang which was a great strategist during the period of Three Kingdoms. There is a well in the yard and it is always full even in the years of drought.
Sanyou Cave is the sheer cliff in the northern side of the Xiling Gorge which is about 6 miles or 10 kilometers away from the Yichang City and offers the best cave scenery of the Three Gorges area. Since the period of Tang Dynasty, for many centuries poets have came here for seeing the scenery and have left the poetic inscriptions. Through human destruction and natural erosion, most of the inscriptions in this cave and around it have been now destroyed. But, it is still a good highlight to see the spectacular view of the Three Gorges area for the scenery and the old inscriptions which are still left there. Highlight at that site is watching the cave, seeing the scenery, walking on the path from the cave to the Xhinxin Pavilion and ancient inscription.
Sanyou Cave means Cave of the Three Travelers and these caves were named so because three of the poets of Tang Dynasty and officials namely baijuyi, Yuanzhen and Baixingjian, which are believed to have visited here. Many other poets as well as famous people came to this cave and left inscriptions. This cave is about 30 meters long and 23 meters wide and about 9 meters in height. It was formed by the stalagmites and natural erosion separating the cave into tow chamber. The bigger chamber having about 40 inscriptions is in the front. Ou Yangxiu who had a great Song era literati has left an inscription here.
There are some inscriptions left on the flat rock faces by many ancient visitors for a longer period of time. However, the themes of most of the inscriptions are almost same. They have praised the fantastic cave scenery. Variation can be found in the inscription due to the changes in the Chinese language the different eras as well as difference in the individual styles. You can see varied examples of many styles like clerical script, regular script, running script, cursive hand and seal characters. There is a small path leading to the Zhixin Pavilion from the cave entrance. You can get a view of the beautiful scenery of the Yangtze River.
Three Gorges Museum is situated to the opposite of the Chongqing People’s Hall. It is the largest monographic museum as well as the public undertaking for the education, preservation and scientific research in respect of natural environment and cultural relics of Chongqing and the Three Gorges area.
The exterior of museum has vitreous dome and cambered wall which represent the historical culture of Three Gorges Project as well as its origin. In addition there are bronze sculptures, large scale reliefs and Ecological Corridor which is about one kilometer in length.
This museum occupies whole area of about 42,497 sq. meters and the exhibition halls covers an area of about 23,225 square meters and houses four basic displays. Glorious Three Gorges reflects the historical and cultural spirit of Three Gorges.
Three Gorges Museum
Ancient Ba-Yu represents the origin and development of the Chongqing history. In Chongqing, the city road describes the changes in the Chongqing City in 20th century. Anti-Japanese War recorded the wartime ordeals of people in Chongqing. Those six displays the calligraphies and paintings, porcelain, coins of various dynasties, sculptures of Han Dynasty, cultural relics donated by Li Chuli, Folk customs of the people of southwest China and sculptures of Hand Dynasty.
Another important part of this museum exhibits the 180 degree panorama of the war torn Chongqing depicting the city. When it was the provisional capital of china, it has been subjected to the substantial bombardment by the Japanese for many decades. There is a 360 degree cinema of Three gorges which mainly shows the social and natural sceneries of the Three Gorges prior to the construction of this dam project.
Three Gorges Museum
Shennong Stream lies on the border between Xiling Gorge and Wu Gorge. It rises from the main peak of Shennong Jia which is the first peak in the centre of China and flows through the Badong country and ultimately flows into the River Yangtze via Wu Gorge. If you cruise along the stream in a boat, you will be immersed in the wonders of the zigzagging watercourses, the canzonet by the boat tracker, the primitive environment and the mysterious cultures along banks.
Along with the elegance, grandeur and danger of the Yangtze River, this stream has its own unique scenery. It is having four natural gorges namely Mianzhu, Chengnong, Longchang and Yingwu and each one having their own unique characteristics.
Mianzhu Gorge among the four gorges is known for its danger. The river bed is narrow as well as falls steeply. Having more than 30 dangerous shoals, it challenges everyone along the route of 2.5 miles. Although you will be reassured that you will be drifting safely along this section by the skilled boatmen, your heart will beat fastly. Stalactites hang on the both sides of this bank and are sure that you do not miss the beautiful scenery.
Yingwu Gorge is known for its elegance and the evergreen vegetation along its bank remains beautiful throughout the year. A gorge with flowers which blossom in all season and fountain of three colors looks fantastic. The larges karst cave of Shennong Stream lies in this section. The Longchang Gorge is having unique human landscape. The mysterious and ancient plank road and suspended wooden coffins are some of the attraction of this section.
You can find small open sampans or peapod boats by the locals while drifting along the Shennong Stream which is a unique method for seeing the natural scenery, flavor of Tujia and the ancient village. You will love the serene natural beauty with the local Tujia flavor, historical relics and the brave boat trackers and this will make your trip a memorable one.
Chinese Sturgeon museum is part of the Chinese Sturgeon Garden located in the Xiaoxita Town in the Yichang of the Hubei Province. This museum was set up in the year 1993 by the Chinese Sturgeon research institute. This institute aims at preserving the rare species of Chinese Sturgeon which includes the 27 species of sturgeon that is still exiting in the world.
Chinese Sturgeon Museum
Chinese sturgeon is also known as the Green Sturgeon which is a kind of migration fish. It lived on earth about 140 million years and the Chinese sturgeon is one of the oldest vertebrate between chondrichthian and bony fish. In this case, the Chinese Sturgeon is also called as the living fossils. Chinese sturgeon is the king of freshwater fish for it lives the longest and is the largest. An adult sturgeon weighs more than 200 Kilograms and it is about 4 meters or 13 feet long. A mature Chinese sturgeon, over the age 14 years for the female sturgeon can lay nearly 0.3 to 1.3 million egg at a time. However, more than 90% of these eggs become the food for the other fish like yellow cartfish and bronze gudgeon. So, the considerable reduction in the number of this specie makes it highly prized variety of the Chinese sturgeon.
Chinese Sturgeon in China is mainly distributed over the trunk stream of River Yangtze. From summer to autumn every year, a school of Chinese sturgeon migrates to the upper reaches of the Yangtze River from the shallow sea area out of the estuary of Yangtze River and lay eggs in their hometown. However, since the Gezhouba Water Conservancy Project was build in the year 1980, the migration of Chinese Sturgeon route has been obstructed by the dam. Therefore, the Chinese sturgeons have lost their spawning area for the reproduction of offspring which has put their survival at risk. However, efforts are being made for their conservation.
Gezhou Dam lies within the municipal boundaries of the city Yichang of Hubei Province and is situated in the Xiling Gorge. This dam was completed in the year 1980 and was largest hydroelectric dam of china which controlled the water volume of about half of the total capacity of Yangtze.
Gezhou Dam is about 2560 meter across and 70 meters in height. It has a depth or the thickness of wall about 30 meters. It was an enormous construction project and due to its dimension it has attracted the attention worldwide and also boosted the tourist industry of that area although the Three Gorges dam is itself a more stellar project and it also belongs to the same overarching flood control and power generating plan for the part of the Yangtze river like Gezhou Dam itself.
Before the construction of Three Gorges Dam in the year 2007, Gezhou dam was the largest hydroelectric dam in china but now the former is the china’ largest hydroelectric dam. But, still you can enjoy the fascinating stretch of Yangtze River, nearby Xiling Gorge and Yichuang’s Gezhou Dam which are the forever noteworthy tourist sites.
The major components of this dam are its shiplocks, power stations and sluices for permitting the passages up and down to the Yangtze River. The shiplocks are for the variety of tonnage categories and some for heavy ships which carry the massive loads. One of the power stations is on the main flow or stream of the river while the other is on the secondary stream of the river.
This dam project in its time took about 10 years to complete and involve the removal of more than 113 million cubic meters of stones and earth which when put together will be enough stone and earth for the construction of a large mountain. This project attracts the tourist from the world wide and its magnificent floodgate has a compelling image beholding the massive flow of the water of Yangtze River spilling over the turbines of the dam creating rolling torrents that roar with the sounds of the thunder.
Fengdu Ghost City is located on the northern bank of Yangtze River, having distance of 170 Km from the eastern side of Chongqing. Fengdu became the Ghost City during the Tang Dynasty when two officials of the Imperial Court married and settled on the Mt. Minshan which is just outside the city. On combining their surnames which is Yin and Wang, it sounds like King of Hell in Chinese. Later, both of them became immortals by carrying out the self cultivation. This story was later widely spread making Mt. Minshan a famous place. After that the people used to call Fengdu as “Ghost City”.
Fengdu, Ghost City
According to Chinese, the social structure of hell is just like that in this world. A spirit would go through the whole and complete administration of the government for getting the final judgment in hell. The honest spirits are believed to be rewarded whereas the criminal one would be punished. There are different punishments for the different crimes. The statues and drawings in the temple built on the Mt. Minshan represent the imagination of the hell by Chinese.
According to the superstition of Chinese people, the death come to Fengdu and the devils go to the hell. Since the period of Tang Dynasty, forty eight temples have been built here like Hall of Jade Emperor, Boundary Between the Living and the Dead, the palace of Hell, Balcony of Nostalgia and Ridge of Helplessness. All these temples are magnificent in their looks and the statues are lifelike.
Fengdu, Ghost City
Now days, Fengdu- Ghost city is visited by many tourist who come here to see the temples and shrines which are dedicated to the gods of underworld. The landmarks here also bear some horrific names like Last Glance at Home Tower, Ghost Torturing Pass and Nothing-to-be-done Bridge. These are the three trials for the ghosts who wanted to enter the nether world.
Fengdu has many historical sites which are linked with the culture of ghosts. Local government is also promoting the festival- ghost festival. However, it is investigated that a lot of superstitious activities were involved during the ghost festivals.
Lesser Three Gorges is situated on the tributary of the Yangtze River and it is the three sections of wushan valleys in the mid-stream of Da Ning River. They are Misty Gorge, Dragon-Gate Gorge and Emerald George which is about 60 km in length. These Gorges are famous for sky scraping cliffs and crystal clear rapids. You can view the most beautiful picture by drafting on a small boat on the stream in the Lesser Three Gorges. In the year 1991, it was selected as one of the top forty tourist attractions in China by the vote of tourist and the China Tourism Commissioner and evaluation.
Lesser Three Gorges
The three valleys of Daning River have an area of about 160 hectare of forest which lies to the lower reaches of Daning. It extends from the entrance of Dragon Gate Gorge in the South to the Tujiaba in the North for about 50 Km. There are sheer cliffs and steep mountains rising on either side which creates natural scenic wonders on the both banks of the river.
It has subtle mountain, pretty rocks, clear waters, dangerous rapids, fantastic curves, sharp turns and stalactites in various shapes which characterize the natural beauty of the landscape in the Lesser Three Gorges. Mandarin, Monkeys, fish and water birds can be seen in this area. In addition to this natural scenery there are various historical places along the way like suspended coffin, ancient plank walkway and boat coffin. This area is made one of the key nature reserves of china and becoming a very famous tourist attraction offering its charm along the golden Yangtze Gorges Travel Line.
Dragon Gate is the shortest of all and is about 3 km long which stretches from the Dragon Gate Bridge to the Rapids of Silver nest. It is unique due to the mountains on its both sides are so high that they seem touching sky. In the Gorges, there are remains of longest ancient plank walkway in china and some scenic sights like Dragon-Gate Spring, Nine Dragon Pillar, Gate Guarded by Lion etc.
Lesser Three Gorges
BaidiCheng or the White Emperor City is situated on the Baidi Shan which is now an island at the entrance of Qutang Gorge, one of the famous among the Three Gorges of Yangze River.
The approach to BaidiCheng from nearby Fengjie passes through the scenes of pagoda-topped hillsides but the view is sadly marred by the worker’s housing and factories built in the year 1970. However, the complex of halls and temples and fantastic views of Qutang Gorge make up for this.
There is a story that this town was chosen as the headquarters of the 1st century Ad of General Gong Sunshu. He has spotted its strategic potential and now remains of the old city walls can be seen on the hill which is behind Baidi Shan. In 25 AD, white vapor in the shape of dragon was seen from the nearby well rising up. This was thought to be an auspicious omen, Gong declared himself as the White Emperor and town as the White Emperor City. His twelve year reign at that time was known as time of harmony and peace.
A red wall, with an imposing yellow dragon head gateway surrounds the complex of the temple. Although, it was build in his honor, the statues of the White Emperor had been removed during the Ming Dynasty and replaced with the images of Zhuge Liang, Liu Bei and Zhang Fei which were the heroes of Shu Kingom during the period of Three Kingdoms.
The main tourist sites include Tuogu Hall displaying statues of Liu Bei, the king of Shu Kingdom, entrusting his son to his prime minister when Zhuge Liang fall after battle against the Wu Kingdom.
The Mingliang Plaace originally housed the statues of Gongsun Shu and was worshipped by the people. Later it was replaced by some heroes of Shu kingdom. A bronze bell hangs to the upper storey of winged, handsome Guanxing Pavillion where Zhuge Lian used to observe the stars and forecasted the weather helping him to plan to victorious battle tactics. Other relics includes stele forest, ancient suspended wooden coffins, paintings, calligraphy of works of different dynasties.
Xiling Gorge starts from the Fragrant Stream or Xiangxi Kou of Xigui County to the west and ends at the Nanjin Pass in the East. It is about 50 miles long and longest among all three gorges of the Yangtze River. Due to its numerous odd shaped stones and reefs existing in the rapid shoals, it is also known for its danger.
The sceneries along the Xiling Gorges are very spectacular. Some of the renowned springs, streams, karst caves and stones can be found along this section. There are many historical sites like Qu Yuan and Bai Juyi can be found here which has been praised in many poems due to its natural scene, and great historical significance.
Xiling Gorge is mostly comprises of smaller gorges and dangerous shoals. There are four gorges stretching from west to east. They are Military Books and Precious Sword Gorge or Bingshu Baojian Xia, The Ox and Horse Lungs Gorge or Niugan Mafei Xia, Kongling George and Lantern Shadow or Dengying Xia Gorge. Some of the dangerous shoals are Xietan, Qingtan, Konglingtan and Xintan. Due to rapid flow of water, many boats have sunk here in the past striking the reefs. Water has been calmed now to some extend by the efforts of Gezhouba Water Conservancy Project.
There are some historical landmarks also besides the natural landscape like the Three Traveler’s Cave or Sanyou Dong and Huangling Temple which are worth visiting. It is one of the two natural gateway of the Yangtza river, other one being the Kui gate, Nanjing pass is the end of Xiling Gorge to the eastern end of the Three Gorges. When you will cruise from boat downstream out of the Nanjin Pass, dangerous shoals and cliffs will be left behind when the middle section of Yangtze River begins. At the two banks of the Nanjing Pass, the cragged peaks tower into the sky majestically narrowing the river. You can view the natural boundary of the middle and upper section of the Yangtze River.