The Flaming Mountain

On September 8, 2011, in Adventure Trip, Mountain Areas, Popular Provinces, Tours, Travel Info, Xinjiang, by Jack Li

Located in the north of Turpan Basin, namely the north road of the Silk Road,the Flaming Mountain is one of most famous scenic spot in Turpan, Xinjiang. In the language of Uyghur, the Flaming Mountain means the Kizil Tag or Red Mountain, while people in ancient Tang Dynasty gave it the name of Flaming Mountain […]

Located in the north of Turpan Basin, namely the north road of the Silk Road,the Flaming Mountain is one of most famous scenic spot in Turpan, Xinjiang. In the language of Uyghur, the Flaming Mountain means the Kizil Tag or Red Mountain, while people in ancient Tang Dynasty gave it the name of Flaming Mountain because its ground surface temperature was always very hot. The length of the mountain measures over 100 km, and the widest place is up to 10 km wide. The average height of the mountain reaches about 500 m with the main peak measuring 831.7 m in height. No plants could ever grow on this hot mountain, there is even no birds flying up above it. In summer, when the sun shines high up in the sky, the waves of desert heat and mirages dance on the red ridge that is furrowed by parallel gullies. So it does look like a wall of flames especially in the afternoons in a red sky. No wonder people all think of the Flaming Mountain as the hottest place in China, the highest temperature can reach 47.8℃ and thegroud surface temperature can be higher than 70 ℃, you can almost have eggs baked there. Due to the crustal movement and the river flowing in the old times, many valleys slowly took its shape down the mountain, including Taor Valley, Mutou Valley,Tuyoq Valley, Subo Valley and so on. In these valleys you can see beauty full scenery with trees, streams and fruits. The natural outlook of the Flaming Mountain is unique and special, what’s more, in the household novel—Journey to the West written by ChengEn Wu in the Ming Dynasty, the mountain is an important place where the main character Tang Sangzang and the Monkey King fight against the King Bull and his wife the Princess of Iron Fan. When visitors come to the mountain area, they can still see the stone post hanging in the air which was once used by Tang Sangzang to tie his horse. To the east of the post there is a huge stone looking like a giant snout, people call it the Pigsy Stone. There are many old legendary stories make this mountain unique, attractive and with lots of room for wild imagination. You can see the big ridge from anywhere, and if you are driving along Road G312 that follows the Flaming Mountains at the base going east and west, you can ask your driver to stop at some quiet place where you can have a walk and take photographs in some solitude.

The Flaming Mountain Stories:

1.           The first story about the Flaming Mountain is about a well-known novel called Journey to the West and the popular TV series adapted from the novel. In the novel there are five leading characters, the Monk named Tang Sangzang, his three disciples and his horse. The monk and his disciples, escorted by the Monkey King, are on their way over the Himalayas to India to take back the Buddhist scriptures when they are blocked by the Flaming Mountain, an impassable mountain range. The Monkey King realizes that the only way through is to borrow the indestructible magic fan from the Iron Fan Princess. The Princess, however, angry with the Monkey King for having sent her son to be a disciple of the Goddess of Mercy, refuses to lend him the fan. A fight between them breaks out. Failing to snatch the magic fan, the Monkey King, master of a thousand

transformations, turns himself into a fly. When the Iron Fan Princess drinks from a cup, the Monkey King leaps into the cup and is swallowed. Tumbling inside her stomach and causing terrible pains, monkey forces the Princess to relent and lend him the fan. Only in this way did the the monk and his disciples travel through the hot Flaming Mountain.

2.          The secondary story about the Flaming Mountain can also be found in the novel Journey to the West. When the Monkey King aroused a great havoc in the Heaven, he kicked down the Eight Trigrams Furnace, which was used to concoct pills of immortality by Lord Lao Zi of the Great Monad. Several pieces of coal fell from the heaven down to the earth and landed in Turpan, thus forming the Flaming Mountain. The mountain was on fire then, the Monkey King borrowed a special fan from the Princess of Iron Fan to put out the flames, so the Flaming Mountain came into being.

3.         The third story about the Flaming Mountain is a folk tale of Uighur people. The legend holds that once there was an evil dragon hidden in the deep Mt. Tianshan who was feed for young boys and girls. The ruler of that time ordered Khara-khoja to get rid of the dragon. After a life-and-death fighting, the great hero Khara-khoja killed the dragon in Qijiaojing northeast of Turpan. During the fight, the wounded dragon tried to escape to the west area, his blood made the whole mountain red and hot, therefore, the Uyghur people called this mountain the Red Mountain, which is also known to us all as the Flaming Mountain.

Tuyugou Canyon Travel Tips

On September 8, 2011, in Adventure Trip, Caves & Canyons, Mountain Areas, Tours, Travel Info, Xinjiang, by Jack Li

Food in Turpan is almost as same as in Urumqi. You can enjoy Cantonese cuisine, Sichuan cuisine, Uygur snacks and Islam halal food. If you ask the local people in Turpan what is their favorite food, their answer might all be grapes and other fruit. In Turpan, grapes and other fruits could be seen as […]

Food in Turpan is almost as same as in Urumqi. You can enjoy Cantonese cuisine, Sichuan cuisine, Uygur snacks and Islam halal food. If you ask the local people in Turpan what is their favorite food, their answer might all be grapes and other fruit. In Turpan, grapes and other fruits could be seen as people’s main food. They even eat grapes and other fruits while they are walking. A fruit meal is with great Turpan characteristics. In additional, halad food in Silulvzhou Hole is very good. They are local and the prices of food are moderate. They serve roast meat and cantaloupe at the restaurant.

Best Time to Visit the Tuyugou Canyon

Turpan is often called the land of fire. The highest temperature there is 49.6℃. At the summer noon, the surface temperature can reach 80℃. There is a saying that eggs in Turpan can be boiled in the sand and pastries are be baked on the wall. For tourists, the best time to visit the Turpan area is in July, August and September when all kinds of melons and fruits are ripe.

Tuyugou Canyon Best Routes

Tuyugou Canyon—Mazha Tomb—Thousand-Buddha Cave—Tuyugou Ancient Village

Tuyugou Canyon Tickets:

Joint Ticket: 190 RMB

1. Open time: In season (April 21st—October 20th) 8:00—21:00; Off Season (October 21 st—April 20st) 10:00-18:30

2. Box Office: Turpan Tourist Service Center (600 meters to the east of toll station in the No. 312 National Express in Turpan)

3. Special prices:

A. Free ticket: children under 1.2 meters, people above 70-year-old, serviceman (including the armed police), handicapped people with certificates.

B.  Favor ticket: 20% price cut for a student with the student ID; half the price for people between 65 and 69 with certificates; half the price for people between 60 and 64 when the national and international ole people festivals.

4. Attention: Tickets with less than 6 attractions are effective for one time within 48 hours. Tickets with over 6 attractions are effective for one time within 72 hours.

9P joint ticket includes Grape Ditch, Kan’er Well, Gaochang City, Ancient Tomb and Tuyugou

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Mazha Tomb

On September 8, 2011, in Caves & Canyons, Historical Relics, Tombs, Xinjiang, by Jack Li

Mazha Tomb is the first ancient religious relic you will see in the south mouth of the Tuyugou Canyon. It is a tomb of ancient saints. The Mazha Toms has a histore of more than 1300 years. Back to the 7th century when Mohammed created Islam, his six disciples came to China to preach their […]

Mazha Tomb is the first ancient religious relic you will see in the south mouth of the Tuyugou Canyon. It is a tomb of ancient saints. The Mazha Toms has a histore of more than 1300 years. Back to the 7th century when Mohammed created Islam, his six disciples came to China to preach their religion. They had been through a harsh and tough trip and finally gotten to Tugugou Canyon. With the help of the local sheepherder, they lived there for a long time and did a very good job on publicizing Islam. After the sheepherder died, the six Islam disciples buried him at the cave. It is now called the Mazha Tomb. There are records in a Germany explorers’ book that even in the early 20th century Moslems still went to the Mazha Tomb and worship. They were from Turkey, India and other countries. Nowadays Moslems from Xinjiang, Ningxing, Qinghai, Gansu, Turkey, Hongkong and Macao come to the Mazha Tomb every year. It is a very important holy land for Islam in Xinjiang. It is also called China’s Mekka.  Before Moslems at the Tuyugou Crayon go to worship at Mekka, they come to Mazha Tomb first.

Tuyugou Canyon

Thousand-Buddha Cave

On September 8, 2011, in Caves & Canyons, Towers, Pagodas & Grottoes, Xinjiang, by Jack Li

In the middle part of the Tuyugou Canyon, the Thousand-Buddha Cave is one of the top three Buddhism Grottoes in Xinjiang. It started to build at the Jin Dynasty (265-420). It is among the first list of protected cultural relics in Xinjiang autonomous region. In the Jin Dynasty, the Tuyugou Grottoes are important for the […]

In the middle part of the Tuyugou Canyon, the Thousand-Buddha Cave is one of the top three Buddhism Grottoes in Xinjiang. It started to build at the Jin Dynasty (265-420). It is among the first list of protected cultural relics in Xinjiang autonomous region. In the Jin Dynasty, the Tuyugou Grottoes are important for the hierarchy in Gaochang Kingdom in Xinjiang. During the Tang Dynasty (618-907), there were great progresses on Buddhism wall paintings in the Tuyugou Grottoes. It was into a new era. The book ‘Xizhou Paintings’ in the Tang Dynasty recorded that the Tuyugou Grottoes at the time was a fairy land. The describes at the book are as followed:There are numerous temples in the Tuyugou Crayon. Back in the temples are usually steep peaks. In front of the temples are always clean waters. Big green trees are around the temples and monasteries. More than 1700 years can be divided into two periods. The first period is that the Tuyugou Grottoes were destroyed by human movements. The second period is that the grotto was ruined by natural disasters. Nowadays there are 96 Grottoes with only eight of them keeping wall paintings. There existed paintings show ancient civilization to the public and still attract experts and scholars from different countries to visit the Tuyugou Canyon and do researches. There researches and fruits provide immeasurable vales of history and art. The ancient name for the Thousand-Buddha Cave was Dinggu Temple which is the earliest temple in the Turpan area. The Tuyugou Grottoes’ most prosperous time was between the year 443 and 450. 90 percent of the wall paintings were robbed and taken when imperialism countries invaded China. The No.1, No.2, No.3 and No.4 Grottoes still keep the wall paintings of Uighur scripts.

Tuyugou Canyon

Tuyugou Ancient Village

Tuyugou Ancient Village lives a very old and quiet Uygur ethnic group. It is a village with over 1700 years of history. UP till now, the Tuyugou Ancient Village is the oldest Uygur village. It spread in the surrounding area of Islam mosques. There are in all over two hundred households in the village. In […]

Tuyugou Ancient Village lives a very old and quiet Uygur ethnic group. It is a village with over 1700 years of history. UP till now, the Tuyugou Ancient Village is the oldest Uygur village. It spread in the surrounding area of Islam mosques. There are in all over two hundred households in the village. In the village, old Uygur customs and habits are well preserved and kept among local people. People get up early in the morning and have rest as the sun goes down in the evening. They talk in Uygur, wear colorful clothing with obvious Uygur characters. The transport tool there is neither bicycle nor car. They use donkey as a vehicle. People living there are quite, happy and satisfied. The living they are keeping is simple, peaceful and leisurely. They don’t even bother themselves to worry of feel anxious about anything. You can see smiles on everyone’s face there. Their houses were built by yellow clays. That’s a traditional way. Some of the houses are quite a junction of Buddhism and Islam. Some of the yellow clay houses are big, some of them are small, some are tall and some are short. Building a house like that is economical and cheap but houses there are with good quality. It is warm in the winter and cool in the summer when people stay at the houses.

Tuyugou Canyon

Tuyugou Canyon

On September 8, 2011, in Caves & Canyons, Ethnic Group Flavors, Historical Relics, Xinjiang, by Jack Li

Tuyugou Canyon is in Shanshan County which is 55 kilometers to the east of Turpan. Tuyugou Canyon was once the holy land of Buddhism and Islam. The Thousand-Buddha Cave in Tuyugou Canyon is 15 kilometers to the east of the south slope of Huoyan Mountain. There were ninety-four caves there. Now there are 45 caves. […]

Tuyugou Canyon is in Shanshan County which is 55 kilometers to the east of Turpan. Tuyugou Canyon was once the holy land of Buddhism and Islam. The Thousand-Buddha Cave in Tuyugou Canyon is 15 kilometers to the east of the south slope of Huoyan Mountain. There were ninety-four caves there. Now there are 45 caves. 21 caves are in the east side of the canyon and 24 caves are in the west side of the canyon. The tuyugou Cranyon is the most mysterious place in the west China. It is a land with mingling civilizations of religions and histories. The Thousand-Buddha Cave is a perfect prove of that. Mazha Village has been named the historical and cultural village in China. It is the oldest Uygur ethnic group with over 1700 years of history. Up till now, Uygur customs and habits are still well preserved and kept among villagers. In the village, the old earthen architectures are still bright and gorgeous. The Tuyugou Canyon is a holy land for Muslims from home and abroad. It is also an attraction for scholars in the fields of religion, history, culture and art as well as for artists of painting and photographing. Dinggu Valley is the folk custom and culture zone in the Tuyugou Canyon. The landscape there is special and beautiful. Dinggu Valley, Thousand-Buddha Cave, Mazha Tomb and Ancient Village are the four main attractions in the Tuyugou Canyon. In the north side of the canyon is Subeixi Village which is along the NO.312 National Express. Subeixi Cultural Relic is one of three ancient cultures.  It is to the north mouth of the crayon. In the south side of the canyon is the Mazha Village which covers an area of one kilometer wide and eight kilometers long. The highest mountain in the canyon is Huoyan Mountain which is 831.7 meters above the sea level. The canyon cuts the Huoyan Mountain from north to south. That is an amazing natural work. Along the road, you can appreciate the beautiful scenery in the Tuyugou Canyon which is magnificent and gorgeous. Water in the canyon is clear and fruits there are very sweet.

Tuyugou Canyon Attractions:

Thousand-Buddha Cave

Mazha Tomb

Ancient Village

The Heaven Pool Travel Tips

On September 8, 2011, in Lakes, Nature Scenery, Travel Info, Waterfalls & Pools, Xinjiang, by Jack Li

The Heaven Pool is a beautiful lake dotted on the mountainside of the Bogda Peak in the Tianshan Mountains. The lake adopts the shape of half moon, with clear and limpid water in it. The surrounding of the lake is covered by verdant grass and colorful flowers. The reflections of the blue sky and the […]

The Heaven Pool is a beautiful lake dotted on the mountainside of the Bogda Peak in the Tianshan Mountains. The lake adopts the shape of half moon, with clear and limpid water in it. The surrounding of the lake is covered by verdant grass and colorful flowers. The reflections of the blue sky and the gorgeous surroundings on the lake make a picturesque scene. But remember to bring a coat with you on your trip, because the temperature is relatively low in such a high elevation area.

Best Time to visit the Heaven Pool

The seasons in the area where the Heaven Pool is located is quite distinct and one of a kind. In spring, there are beautiful blossoms all over the mountain, and in summer, the place is like to be covered by a green carpet. In autumn, the leaves of the plants on the mountain turn yellow and red, while in winter, the water in the lake freezes and appears to be a giant mirror. It is advisable to visit the Heaven Pool from April to October because the weather then is mild.

The Heaven Pool Best Routes

Usually the tour starts at the Stone Gate, then stop by the Ancient Elm Tree, the Heaven Pool, the waterfall beside it, the Southern Hill, the Western Hill, the Bogda Peak, the Eastern Pool, and end at the Temple of the Queen Mother of the West.

The Heaven Pool Tickets

Ticket price to visit the Heaven Pool from April the 1st to October the 31th : RMB 100 per person.

Ticket price to visit the Heaven Pool from November the 1st to Marth the 31th : RMB 40 per person.

How to get to the Heaven Pool

It takes around one and a half hours to get to the Heaven Pool from Urumchi through highway. If you want to go to the Heaven Pool from the Renmin Park or the Hongshan Hotel, you can take a bus there, too. It will take you directly to the pool within 2 hours.

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The Ancient Elm Tree

The Ancient Elm Tree, also known as “the Iron Rod”, is located on the bank of the Heaven Pool. You can easily notice it because it is actually the only big tree by the lake. The elm tree gains such fame because people said that it was the incarnation of a hair clasp that belonged […]

The Ancient Elm Tree, also known as “the Iron Rod”, is located on the bank of the Heaven Pool. You can easily notice it because it is actually the only big tree by the lake. The elm tree gains such fame because people said that it was the incarnation of a hair clasp that belonged to the Queen Mother of the West.

Rumor has it that, once upon a time, the Queen Mother of the West held a grand ball in her palace. All the gods and goddesses were invited except for the God who was in charge of the Heaven Pool. He was so angry that he stirred the water in the lake, created huge waves and caused terrible floods in the Earth. His absurd deed interrupted the ball and enraged the Queen Mother. The furious Queen Mother then take a hair clasp out of her hair, turned it into an iron rod, and stucked it into the northern bank of lake. Depressed by the power of the iron rod, the God of the Heaven Pool could not do harm to the world any more, and floods ended soon. Later, right at the spot where the iron rod was, an elm tree appeared. People believed that it was the incarnation of the hair clasp, and came to worship it from every quarter.

But that is only a legend. As a matter of fact, this elm tree was planted there by some Taoist disciples to in honor of the Queen Mother of the West. Generally speaking, it is impossible for elm trees to grow in such a high elevation. However, this ancient elm tree is still in a very good condition today. It is very tall, and its crown looks like a giant umbrella. The most miraculous thing is, even in the year when there is abundant rainwater; the root of the tree would not be submerged by water.

The Heaven Pool

The Temple of the Queen Mother of the West

On September 8, 2011, in Lakes, Mountain Areas, Popular Provinces, Temples, Waterfalls & Pools, Xinjiang, by Jack Li

The Temple of the Queen Mother of the West, also known as the Jade Pool Temple , is located on the eastern bank of the Heaven Pool, where the sea level elevation is around 2,000 meters. The temple is one of the oldest Taoist temple in the Xinjiang Province. It is said that the Queen […]

The Temple of the Queen Mother of the West, also known as the Jade Pool Temple , is located on the eastern bank of the Heaven Pool, where the sea level elevation is around 2,000 meters. The temple is one of the oldest Taoist temple in the Xinjiang Province. It is said that the Queen Mother of the West cultivated herself according to the Taoist doctrines there and finally became a Godness.

The Temple of the Queen Mother of the West was built by a great Taoist master in Chinese history, Qiu Chuji, to in memory of his meeting with Genghis Khan. In the year 1218 BC, 70 year old Qiu was invited by Genghis Khan to the Heaven Pool to give lectures on Taoist doctrines. Qiu went there with his eighteen disciples and had a quite nice meeting with Genghis Khan. Later he built the temple near the spot where the meeting was held, and it became one of the holy places of Taoism.

The Taoist priests are often very strict at where to build a temple because they think the location will have a great influence on the temple. While building the Temple of the Queen Mother of the West, Qiu picked a very good spot for it. It is surrounded by hills to the east, the south and the north, and by water to the west. From inside the temple, you can enjoy the elegant lake scene of the Heaven Pool. According to the Taoist doctrines, the location is perfect. Perhaps that is why the temple is still nestling there and greeting tourists every day.

The Heaven Pool

The Meadow Steppe

On September 8, 2011, in China Attractions, Cool Places, Nature Scenery, Xinjiang, by Jack Li

In the region where sea level elevation ranges from 2800 to 3500 meters on the northern side of the Bogda Peak locates a vast area of breathtaking grassland—the Meadow Steppe. The landform there is flat on the whole, but in some area it fluctuates slightly because of water erosion. During the summer, that is, between […]

In the region where sea level elevation ranges from 2800 to 3500 meters on the northern side of the Bogda Peak locates a vast area of breathtaking grassland—the Meadow Steppe. The landform there is flat on the whole, but in some area it fluctuates slightly because of water erosion. During the summer, that is, between June and August every year, the steppe is a verdant paradise full of life thanks to the mild temperature and the abundant rainwater then. Various small, perennial plants, such as wormwoods, sedges, and Spartina patens, form the green basis of the steppe, and on it dotted many gorgeous colorful flowers. Because the steppe is located in a relatively high sea level elevation, the ultraviolet rays there is sufficient for plants to grow very well. The landscape there is picturesque and breathtaking in the summer.

Many lovely wild animals take the vast Meadow Steppe as their homes. Visitors can see elegant choughs walking slowly in the grass with their tiny red claws, and chubby little marmots playing with each other and bursting out cheers that sounds like puppies every now and then. Eagles sometimes visit the steppe, too. They hover in the sky and search for preys patiently. If they had identified their target, they will make a steep dive suddenly with a speed of around 120 kilometers per hour, and catch it. If you want to get close to nature and enjoy it, the Meadow Steppe is definitely a good choice.

The Heaven Pool

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