Jiuzhaigou, China's Fairyland
Sichuan Province in southwest China is renowned for its many fascinatingnatural wonders which have attraaed millions of travelers over the centuries.
The recent discovery of the scenic beauty of Jiuzhaigou (Nine-village Ravine)has added charm to the picturesque landscape. Known as "China's Fairyland", Jiuzhaigou is located in the hills along the borders of Nanping,Pingwu and Songpan counties, some 400 kilometers from Chengdu, the pro-vinaal capital. Three scenic areas-Shuzheng qunhaigou, Zechawagou and Rizegou-combine to make up the 60,000 hectares of fairyland, which is nearly 2,500 meters above sea level. Its name "Nine-village Ravine"is sup-posed to be because Tibetans once inhabited nine villages in the ravine.
Here is a brief record in "Green Lakes", a chapter in the Annals ofNanpingCounty: "In Jiuzhaigou, lakes meander for miles, with wooded hills mir-rored in the clear water." The scene, actually, is much more beautiffil than can be put into words. Sichuan Prorrince is rich in scenic wonders, each with its own distinctive features—the elegance of Mount Emei, the serenity ofMount Qingcheng,the sharp precipice of Jianmen Pass, and the grandeur of Kuimen. But to depict the diverse natural beauty of Jiuzhaigou in one or two words is not nearly enough. "Fairyland",however inadequate, is perhaps the only word to choose.
Intrigued by this fairyland, true lovers of nature have tried recording its uniquebeauty in poems, paintings, photographs and travel notes. An old local Tibetan tells the story of Jiuzhaigou: "Once upon a time, there lived deep in the mountains an immortal named Dage and a fairy maiden named Wonuosemo. They fell in love. One day, Dage presented Wonuosemo with a bright mirror which he had polished with the wind and the clouds. Unfortunately, the mirror slipped from the maiden's hand and broke into 108 pieces, each turning into a lake of emerald green."It is no wonder why scenic Jiuzhaigou is so entertaining, with so many distinctive "Green Lakes" reigning over the whole area.
China is a land of scenic contrasts, each uniquely representing its own area: West Lake in Hangzhou with enchanting pavilions set in quiet surroundings, Mount Emei in Sichuan with peaks peeping through mist and clouds, Guilin in Guangxi with panoramic views of mountains and rivers. And Jiuzhaigou presents another view. Aged trees wave the seasons by, amid carpets of wild flowers and thick green vegetation. Sparkling lakes and waterfalls vary with every season. Some rare trees and grasses, survivors of the glacial epoch,still thrive here in harmony with a host of creatures which make this ravine their home, for the land teems with such animals as giant pandas, golden monkeys, takins, white-eared pheasants, deer and river deer. All of this unfolds into a panorama of beautifully balanced fauna and flora. As observers from Nanping County have justly put it, "All the beauty of Jiuzhaigou is endowed by nature. If the natural charm were removed, there would be no more of Jiuzhaigou."Mystic lakes and sparkling waterfalls captivate your eyes as you enter the ravine. The trees are their greenest in spring when intensified by colorful flowers. In summer, warm tints spread over the hills and lakelands. As summer merges into autumn, the maple trees turn fiery-red, splashing color through the thickly forested hills. Tranquility pervades primitive Jiuzhaigou throughout the year, particularly at places around Mirror Lake and Five-flower Lake at Rizegou, and Multi-colored Lake at Zechawagou, where a profusion of colors is brought into full harmony with nature. This singular spectacle can only be seen in Jiuzhaigou-a natural preserve.
In addition to this natural beauty Jiuzhaigou, again, is noted for its three scenic areas which are so concentrated in the region and yet so strikingly contrasted with each other that tourists cannot believe their eyes even when they see them. After visiting this fairyland in autumn, a tourist entrepreneur from abroad exclaimed, "Of all the scenic spots the world has ever produced, nothing compares with this." He then turned to his companion, the deputy head of Nanping County, and said, "You are lucky to govern the most beautiful place in the world."Scenic Jiuzhaigou is indeed one of nature's most extravagant splendors anywhere and the crowning glory of Sichuan Province.