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.

Jack Li

Leave a Reply


Page 1 of 11