Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Jiu Zhai Gou, Szechuan, China - A Paradise On Earth

My trip to Jiu Zhai Gou & Chendu was during Sept 2005. It is said that if there should be wonderlands on the earth, Jiu Zhai Gou must be one of them. There is no equal elsewhere that has sceneries and fables of dreamlike eloquence, or natural purities like a fairyland as Jiu Zhai Gou. Jiu zhai gou is located in Nanping County, 450 kilometers (about 280 miles) to the north of Chengdu City. The recent 7.8-magnitude earthquake on 12 May 2008, which jolted Szechuan and the world alike happened in Wenchuan, a remote county about 100km northwest of the provincial capital, Chengdu. I heard from my friends that some places which we have visited including the winding road linking the Jiu Zhai Gou with a small town named Mao Xian were also affected by the quake. How devastating really.. Let's pray for everyone effected!

Scenic mountain view was taken before landing.

At the Jiu Zhai Gou airport waiting for coach pick-up.

Jiu Zhai Gou Paradise Hotel, this is a corner of our room view. Scenic ride to the "hai" (which means lake)

A picturesque backdrop

Huang Long(The Yellow Dragon") together with Jiu Zhai Gou are both known as the "2 places on earth with heavenly scenery". Both places are the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

This photo was taken at the Du Jiang Yan Dam, which apparently was also hit by the devastating quake on 12 May 2008.

Du Jiang Yan Dam is a water irrigation system built by the chinese in 25B.C. Another world heritage site. It was to divert water from the river to the farming community lower down the river and to prevent flood. The ingenuity of Chinese engineering was demonstrated during the ancient days. The tour guide relayed to us that devastating annual floods plagued the people living by the the Min River. During the Qin Dynasty, Li Bing, who was sent to Chendu as an official, decided to do something about it. He investigated the river with some locals. He familiarized himself with the land forms and water flows, and found the source of the water. The waters melted from Mount Min at the beginnings of every summer, went into the Min River and flooded the farms. Li Bing decided to divide the river into two streams, allowing one stream to continue on its normal course, while the other stream would flow into the farmer's fields. But there was one big problem. The Yulei Mountains blocked the way to the Chendu Plain.He had to break a path through a mountain. The rock was too hard to break. So he had men throw wood and grass on the rocks and set it on fire, then poured cold water over it. This made the hard rock crack so the men could remove it. This labor took 7 years and they finally made an opening through the mountains to the plains that is 20 meters (65 feet) wide. The peasants called it Bǎo Píng Kǒu (Bottleneck). Today, Du Jiang Yan has become a major tourist attraction. It is also the admiration of scientists around the world, because it has one ingenious feature. Unlike contemporary dams where the water is blocked with a huge wall, Du Jiang Yan still lets water go thorugh naturally. Modern dam do not let fish go through very well, since it is a wall and and the water levels are different. In 2000, Du Jiang Yan became a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


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