Jiuzhaigou National Park

Overall of Jiuzhaigou

Jiuzhai Valley or Jiuzhaigou National Park is located in the Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan Province of China. Jiuzhaigou literally means “Valley of Nine Villages” and is named after the nine Tibetan villages scattered throughout the park. The names of the villages are Heye, Shuzheng, Zech awa, Heijiao, Panya, Yala, Jianpan, Rexi and Guodu. There is evidence of people living in the national park up to 3,000 years and the local people still hold onto many of their traditional ways of life. The population of the park is just over 1,000 which comprised of over 110 families.

Jiuzhaigou has been crowned with several titles: the World Natural Heritage, the World Bio-sphere Reserve, the Green Globe 21 and the State 5A Level Scenery in China. Just as it says, “No eager to see mountains back from Huangshan mountain, and neither to see water after visiting Jiuzhai”. Water is the spirit of Jiuzhaigou. It is called as “King of the Chinese Water”. With an elevation of 2000-3100m above sea level, the scenic area enjoys a pleasant climate and beautiful colors all the year round. It is one of the world's famous scenic areas with the best tourist environment.It is a nature reserve reputed as the “fairy-tale world”.

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Formation story of Jiuzhaigou

Jiuzhaigou scenery has taken shape due to the geographic movement in glaciations, earthquakes, and calcification. However, there is some folklore that vividly describes the formation of Jiuzhaigou. Here is a story. A long time ago, a male and female hilly deities fell in love with each other. The man is called Dage and woman Wonuosemo, who decided to reside in Jiuzhaigou because they deeply loved Jiuzhaigou’s birds and animals, and forests and mountains. Unexpectedly a devil called Shemozha found out that the female deity was so beautiful that he fool in love with her, too. Two Devils didn’t like the male deity to live here in Jiuzhaigou. Therefore the devil waged a war in orser to drive the male deity out and marry the female deity. A fierce battle occurred between the deity and the devil. During the battle, the female deity was snatched away by the devil. Bewildered, the female deity dropped down to the ground her precious mirror given by the male deity. The mirror was broken into over a hundred pieces, which immediately turned into over hundred high mountains and beautiful lakes. The battle continued, and the male deity and the devil fought all the way from inner Jiuzhaigou to the entrance. Despite that, there was no sign indicating who would win the battle. At this critical moment, Zhayizhaga, the king of multi-mountains arrived to join the fight on the side of the male deity. The king first put a huge screen-shaped cliff behind the devil and then crashed the devil beneath the cliff. The devil was buried there, with his head off the cliff. Afterward, local people called the cliff the Devil Cliff. Now it so called the Precious Mirror Cliff. Since then Jiuzhaigou returned to peace and looked more beautiful due to the newly added over a hundred colorful lakes and mountains. The man and woman lived together in Jiuzhaigou forever as the important deities to safeguard Jiuzhaigou.

Jiuzhaigou is 47 km long from the south to the north, 29 km wide from the east to the west, covering an area of 720sq. km. In 1990 Jiuzhaigou became one of 40 best scenic spots in the country; in 2000 Jiuzhaigou was evaluated as one of the first state 5A-level sceneries in China; in 1992 Jiuzhaigou was listed on the World Biosphere Reserve.

In Jiuzhaigou scenic area there are three gullies that seem to be in the shape of "Y". There distributed 108 lakes, 47 splashed waterfalls, 12 tribes, 5 shoals and 3 Tibetan villages. All these scenic sites create a unique landscape of Jiuzhaigou, to China and the rest of the world.

Religion

If you get closer to view the cliff that is over a thousand-ren cliff, you may see a bizarre figure image on the cliff. What does it look alike? It is a devil’s face, and it is now called the Precious Mirror Cliff. Down the cliff is a gully called Zharugou, where stands Zharu Monastery. In Sichuan Tibetan areas local Tibetan people believe in what can be properly described as "Lamaism", an ancient strain of Tantric Indian Buddhism, coupled with Tibetan Shamanism. It flourishes in regions inhabited by the Tibetan and Mongolian people. During the reign of Songzan Gapu in the 7th to 9th century, monks from India crossed the Himalayas through Nepal and arrived at Tibet to spread Tantrism. Tantrism, Mahayana, and Bon, the indigenous religion of Tibet, intermingled and developed into Lamaism that strongly believes in reincarnation. Lama means "teacher" or "superior being". A lama must be a monk, but not all monks can become lamas. Lamaism has several sects: the Yellow, the Red, the Black and others. The YellowSect, founded by Tsong Kha pa in the early 15th century, and rapidly grew into the dominant sect thanks to the support of the Qing government. The Yellow Sect perfected the Tibetan Buddhism and greatly promoted the evolution of the emergence of government administration with religion the Tihetan a Buddha in your present lifetime. The monks in Zharu Monastery believe in the Black Sect Buddhism that is also called Bon. The religious activity of the Black Sect, much more influenced by the indigenous religion, has centered on the principle that everything has spirit; the Black Sect followers pray to gain happiness and drive out disasters.

Colorful

Yoy may be aware of the dense forest growing along the sides of the road. it mirrors together with the scenic sites of main plants in Jiuzhaigou. The evergreen plants consists of Chinese pine, hemlock, fir and dragon spruce; the red-leaf plants are maple, little tiller, smoke tree and others; the yellow-leaf plants are birch, golden-rain tree, elm, larch, poplar mix together in harmony, offering a rainbow of natural pictures that easily please to our eyes, It is commonly believed that the colourful plant scenery is one of the main features manifested in Jiuzhaigou. As autumn arrives, the plants keep changing their colors. As colorful leaves and forests are mirrored on the lakes around, the stunning color images seem to allure viewers into a dreamlike world because it is too beautiful to absorb all of them during a time-limited tour.

WATER

As you enter into Shuzheng scenic site and start walking through it, the garden-patterned landscape might inspire your passion to write poems or paint pictures. Here is the Reed Sea. If you close your eyes, you may feel as if you were in the region of rivers and lakes in southern China. Actually, the sea is a kind of moisture and that suits the growth of varied water plants. Some fish swims in the shallow sea, and they have a strange name, called"naked carp" or they has no scales, but belong to the family of the carp.

The water in Jiuzhaigou is a big attraction and is commonly considered the soul of Jiuzhaigou because it remains much less touched by human beings. Generally, the water is so clean that you can see to the bottom even at 30m in depth. Now we arrive at the first lake in Jiuzhaigou called Shuanglonghai. You can dimly see two calcified lower banks in the shape of a ribbon. Once waves in the lake surges, the two banks seem to wriggle. The local legend says that they are two swimming dragons. It is said that there are four dragons in Jiuzhaigou. The dragons in the lakes here are two of the four, who take charge of raining and hail. Maybe because they have no strong sense of their duty responsibility, they often make mistakes, and therefore there is no rain when it should rain; there is no hail when it should hail. Therefore Geshaer, the Tibetan hero has subdued the two evil dragons and imprisoned them at the bottom of the lake.

The water here is closely related with calcification. The water from the Rizegou Gully has rich content in the ion of calcium and magnesia. Due to the suitable temperature in the water here, the flowing ion easily turns into particulate matters, which stick to plankton or tiny sediments and deposit on the lower earth bank. narrow mounds, trunks and tree branches in the bottom. Gradually calcified segments have fully covered the objects, forming unique natural phenomenon.

Shuzheng Waterfall, one of the main scenic sites, is 11m in height and 62m in width. It is an unseen stream from the high terrace meandering among the forests down to the edge of the cliff. As it approaches the edge, trees, bushes, and rocks there divert the unseen stream into may sub-zones. The sub-streams fall downwards, presenting a splendid huge waterfall and hanging off the cliff. Down below the cliff grow rich trees and bushes and protruding rocks, and the water keeps splashing off these objects in varied shape.

Beyond the waterfall is a smooth terrain. Near the road is the Xiniu Lake that is 2km long and 18m deep, the largest one in Jiuzhaigou. Toward the southern end of the lake is a forest where there is a simple bridge spanning across the lake. Nearby is a stream, and the water from the stream offers sweet and refreshing tastes. The local Tibetan residents think that it is a supernatural stream, for it is said that the water from the stream can stop diarrhea and quench a thirst. The legend had it that a long time ago, a lama from Tibet arrived here on a rhinoceros. He was so sick that he couldn’t walk further. So he drank the water from the stream. Unexpectedly he was fully recovered and felt rejuvenated. Afterward, the lama drove the rhinoceros down into the lake, and he himself resided nearby. Nuorilang Waterfall, located between the Rizegou and Shuzheng Gullies, is 30m in height and 270m in width.

Nuorilang literally means magnificence. the water comes from Rizgou Gully. During the high-water season, the cascading waterfall produces a tremendous noise that reverberates in the gully. As the water hits the ground, the splashed liquid immediately moves high up into the air in the form of fine drops, which have been thrown, blown or projected, forming a splendid water curtain. Visitors often view a rainbow that appears in the curtain while the sun shines upon it. In autumn, the water gets much less. However, the waterfall presents another wonder. it seems as if the cliff hangs a colorful silk cloth matched with multi-colored pushed around.

As you enter the Nuorilang scenic site, Jinghai Lake appears at your sight. The lake, 925m in length and 262m in width, is encircled by precipitous hills on three sides, and the other side is open rather like an entrance gate. The hills by the lake look green and verdant, In the early morning when there is no wide, the lake is as smooth as a mirror. At this time the blue sky, white clouds, hills, and trees are all reflected in the water. The scenery in and outside the water is closely joined, and it is hard to tell which is really one of which is a reflection. The scenery has inspired the passion of many artists and poets. A figure of speech is used here just right to describe the situation. It says, "Inside the water birds fly, and up in the sky fish swims."The depth of the lake is between 10 and 20m, the water so clean that you can see soft green algae move and fish swim at the bottom, and trunks in the water fully have been covered by calcified sediments that look rather like huge corals in pretty shape.

After you leave Jinghai Parkm you continue to walk for a while before arriving at another scenic site by the name of Zhenzhutan. The slope-shaped shoal is calcified, 160m in width and 200m in length. The water flows freely downwards on the surface of the shoal that appears quite uneven due to the calcification. As the water unrolls, it splashes numerous tiny drops rather like rolls and strings of snow-white pearls spraying over the whole shoal. Moreover, poplars, willows, and Azalea grow all over the upper part of the shoal. In May it is amazing to view the scenic beauty as you walk underfoot the rolling water spray, passing through the patches of azalea in blossom and listening to the ceaseless gentle sound from swaying willows.

Wuhuaihai Lake is one of the main scenic sites, where it is an ideal place for photographs. The algae and bryophyte grow very well in the lake. Sediments act in the sense of these plants and give rise to the clusters of multi-colorful ribbons on the surface of the lake. When maple and smoke trees around turn red in autumn, their reflection on the water resembles raging flames. encircling the ribbons in multi colors.

The road near Wuhuaihai Lake spirals up the steep mountain. As it turns to a curve of the mountain, two lakes emerge in sight. One is called Xiongmaohai and the other Jianzhuhai. The panda and bamboo lakes join together, which indicates that pandas used to eat arrow bamboo plants and drink the water here.As you know, the plant is the pandas’ chief food source, In winter the Panda Lake is frozen, but the Arrow Lake remains what it is like before. At the lower end of the lake is a Waterfall, the highest one in Jiuzhaigou. It is called the Panda’s Waterfall that resembles a flight of three stages. The first stage is 19m in height and 5m in width; the second one is 24m in height and 4m in width; the third one is 19m in height and 14m in width. Water falls down rebounding stages one after another before cascading into the deep valley. In midwinter, the three stages hang ice-formed dripping water, which forms varied-patterns and looks magnificent as if you found yourselves in the ice-carving world.

Not far from Rizegou Guesthouse is the Swan Lake. It is said that swans used to reside here. At the present time, the lake remains semi-marsh land with waterweeds fully covered on the surface. In spring the lake resembles a carpet of green grass; in summer the lake is splendidly decorated with blossomed flowers; in autumn the yellowness in the lake meets the eye on every side; in winter the lake remains a world of ice and snow. Near the upper end of the lake is an another lake called Fangchaohai. The lake leads to hills where the hill peaks raise one higher than another. However, among the hills, there is a peak that obviously towers. It is named the Sword Rock because it looks sharp on the top and wide at the lower part. Passing the foot of the towering peak, you start to walk into a dense primeval forest, where you find yourselves deep in the boundless expanse of trends and plants, feeling as light as if you had left the world of men and became immortal beings. There are an abundance of trees that looking up you hardly see the sunshine. Some of the trees curve down like awnings; some loom up like obelisks; some stand erect like men; some recline like dragons. Beneath your feet are soft mosses that grow in a thick furry mass on wet soil. When you walk through the forest, cool greenery rests your eyes, gentle breeze soothes your ears and the utter quietness refreshes your heart.

Wucaichi, 100.8m in length and 56m in width, is the smallest lake in Jiuzhaigou. However, it is commonly believed that it is richest in color. Someone says that it looks like an emerald inlaid inside the hills. Many visitors usually stop to sit by the lake and seem to feel ease at heart. The water is ruffled, and its azure translucence below the water stretches to the bottom before your eyes. you may look in amazement at multi-colored clusters displayed at the bottom like inexhaustible treasures supplied by the Greator. Some visitors even doubt whether it is painted by the local people. The water from Wucaichi neither increases nor diminishes. It soaks into the lake from Changhai Lake. As the sun casts lights on the water, sediments at the bottom act on the sense of algae and bryophyte plants and give rise to the multi-colorful clusters as it occurs in Wuhuaihai Lake.

After passing a cold from Wucaichi Lake, you arrive at Changhai Lake which is located at the top of Zechawa gully at 3, 100m above sea level. There are several questions related to the lake. How did the lake take shape? Why does the lake have no exit? Is any fish in the lake? How long is the lake? How deep is it?

The first question still remains a mystery. It is uncertain if it took shape due to earthquakes, landslides or mud-rock flow. The source of the water comes from springs from the forests and snow on the mountains around. The way of draining off water in the lake is to evaporate and permeate into the ground. In the lake, the water never overflows in summer, and it never dried up in winter. The lake has no fish probably because it is too cold in the lake. a legend says that a monster had eaten up all the fish a long time ago. The lake is 7.5km in length, and in some parts, it is 103m i9n depth.

The lake, the largest one in Jiuzhaigou, glimmers like jade, nibbling at the distant hills covered with snow. Green forests around grow verdant, casting shadows on the lake. From here you have a view of the unruffled lake, floating clouds, water birds frolic below across the lake, displaying them merrily. as you sit here, such natural beauty strikes you as vast and imagination. Whether or not a creator exists, this site will make you feel that there must surely be one. It seems strange that such wonders are set in the remote areas like this, where hundreds of years may have passed before you come along to appreciate them.

End

The daily tour to Jiuzhaigou is steadily and serenely approaching to the end. Anticipation, curiosity, delight are all held in delicate balance. Reluctantly you are prepared to return to the reality of our own everyday world after you have enjoyed the brief glimpses of Jiuzhaigou where cool greenery rests your eyes, running water soothes your ears, the great void revives your spirit and the utter quietness refreshes your hearts.

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