Dujiangyan irrigation system 都江堰 was first constructed in 256 BC to control floods. It is still used today to irrigate the region. Instead of building a dam to prevent floods, governor Li Bing constructed an artificial levee to redirect a portion of the water as well as cut a channel through Mount Yulei to discharge the excess water upon the Chengdu Plain beyond. The traditional levees were made of long sausage shaped baskets made of woven bamboo filled with stones. After the irrigation system was completed, there were no more floods in the area. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site because unlike modern dams where water is blocked by a wall, Dujiangyan allows water to still flow through naturally. We started our visit at the top and descended towards the river. Along the way are beautiful temples dedicated to Li Bing and his son.
Erwang or Two Kings Temple which was originally called Wangdi Temple built in memory of an ancient Shu King. After it was moved, locals renamed the temple after Li Bing and his son who they have promoted to the status of kings.
Anlan Suspension Bridge also known as Couple’s Bridge
Anlan Bridge connecting the artificial island with both banks.
The Fish Mouth Levee dividing the water into the inner and outer streams.
Other than the Dujiangyan Panda Base and the Irrigation System, Mount Qingcheng 青城山 in Dujiangyan area is also worth a visit. It is an important centre of Taoism and according to Taoist mythology, this was the birthplace of Taoism over 2,000 years ago. It is the site of Yellow Emperor’s studies with Ning Fengzi. The mountain has 36 peaks and is home to numerous temples. Panda Village in the movie Kung Fu Panda 3 was inspired by Mount Qingcheng.
Laojun Pavillion Pagoda at the top
View from the top of Mount Qingcheng
There is a cable car for those who don’t want to hike all the way up.
Both Dujiangyan Irrigation Base and Mount Qingcheng were made UNESCO World Heritage Sites in year 2000. It is great spending time away from the busy city and enjoying the ancient engineering marvel as well as the beautiful serenity up in the mountains.
Next post will be on our excursion to Leshan Giant Buddha. Stay tuned!
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