Tag Archives: Sichuan

Lost temple discovered after 1,000 years in China

Chinese archaeologists have found a famous temple that remained hidden for nearly a millennium in China’s southwestern Sichuan province. The Fugan Temple, located in downtown Chengdu, was a famous temple that lasted from the Eastern Jin Dynasty (317- 420) to the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). Daoxuan, a famous Tang Dynasty (618-907) monk, once wrote that an official rite to pray for rain to end a persistent drought was held in front of the temple, and it rained as if the prayers had been heard in heaven.

The story was the record of how the temple got its name, Fugan, which means “perceive the blessing.”  The popular Tang Dynasty poet Liu Yuxi left a poem to commemorate the temple’s renovation, describing its heavenly appearance. The poem further noted the temple’s important role at that time, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. However, the building was worn down during the later period of the Tang and Song dynasties, with all traces of the temple disappearing during wars.

Archaeologists unearthed more than 1,000 tablets inscribed with Buddhist scriptures and over 500 pieces of stone sculpture as well as glazed tiles with inscriptions. “We have only excavated a part of the temple’s area, but already have a glimpse of its past glory,” said Yi Li, who led the excavation project. He said they have found the temple’s foundation, ruins of surrounding buildings, wells, roads and ditches.

During the excavation, archaeologists found some 80 ancient tombs scattered near the temple, dating back to Shang and Zhou dynasties (1600-256 BC). In the temple’s surroundings, they have unearthed large amounts of household tools and utensils and building materials dating back to various periods from the Song to Ming dynasties. Chengdu became an economic and cultural centre in western China during the Sui and Tang dynasties. The temple’s discovery could greatly contribute to the study of the spread of Buddhism in China during that time, said Wang Yi, director of the Chengdu Cultural Relic Research Institute.

Photo credit: telegraph.co.uk

Chengdu, the capital of China’s southwest Sichuan Province,  is famed for being the home of cute giant pandas. The history of the city can be traced back 2,400 when the first emperor built his capital here and named the city. Through thousands of years its original name has been kept and its position as the capital and as the significant center of politics, commerce and military of the Sichuan area (once called Shu) has remained unchanged. Since the Han (206B.C.-220) and Tang (618-907) Dynasties when its handicraft industry flourished, the place has been famous for its brocades and embroideries. Shu embroideries still enjoy a high reputation for their bright colors and delicate designs, ranking among the four main embroideries in China.

Photo credit: telegraph.co.uk

The city was also the place where the bronze culture, an indispensable part of ancient Chinese culture, originated; the place where the Southern Silk Road started; and the place where the earliest paper currency, Jiaozi (not the dumpling!), was first printed. It is listed among the first 24 state-approved historical and cultural cities and owns 23 state and provincial cultural relic units.

Photo credit: businessdestinations.com
Advertisements

An airport at half the Everest’s altitude

Photo: TheHindu
Photo: TheHindu

Daocheng Yading Airport, the world’s highest civilian airport, which is located 14,472 feet above sea level, began operations this month in China’s Sichuan province in a remote Tibetan region of China.

The new airport is approximately 98 miles from Yading Nature Reserve in the eastern part of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Yading is known as “the last Shangri-La” for its untouched lands and breathtaking scenery. The new airport will cut travel time from this provincial area to the city of Chengdu from two days to just 65 minutes. Additional flights to cities including Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chongqing are scheduled to commence in the future.

Daocheng Yading is home of Pearl Lake and the Yading Nature Reserve. Photo: DOTWNews
Daocheng Yading is home of Pearl Lake and the Yading Nature Reserve. Photo: DOTWNews

China’s Tibet Autonomous Region has recently experienced a surge in tourist arrivals, with numbers rising 19.6 percent for the period of January-August from the previous year, and more peak numbers expected for the fall with the start of “climbing season.” With five mountains in Tibet that are more than 8,000 meters in height – including Qomolangma, which is known as the “Mount Everest of the West,” and Mount Cho Oyu, the world’s sixth highest mountain – and thousands of mountains above 6,000 meters, climbing in Tibet is a huge draw.

Mountaineering in the region tends to be most accessible in the spring and fall, and the local guides and suppliers are primed and ready for visitors to the destination. With the nature, beauty and history of the region, now is the time to visit China and the Tibet Autonomous Region. New Airport at Daocheng Yading will certainly increase this flow of tourists to the roof of world. It is hoped that the US $277 million development will not only increase accessibility to the region generally, but will lead to a higher influx of tourists at the nearby Yading Nature Reserve, an attraction renowned for its natural beauty. Daocheng Yading Airport sits 250ft higher than China’s previous champion, Qamdo Bamba Airport, which is also located in the Tibet Autonomous Region. Few airports are built in high mountainous areas because thinner air means that aircraft require longer runways. There is also the risk of passengers suffering from symptoms of altitude sickness on arrival, something which tourists arriving at Daocheng Yading are warned of