By Bishal Gurung (Nepal)
I was very glad to get this opportunity to go on a four days trip to Pingjiang, Daweishan Mountain and Hengshan as one of the contestant of the second Hunan province foreigner photo contest. I would like to thank Hunan official Web Portal and Hunan Tourism Bureau for providing me such a great opportunity to experience eastern Hunan where I spent 4 days in nature’s lap and rejuvenated myself.
We started our trip at 8 a.m from Changsha to Shiniu Village National Geopark, situated at Pingjiang County, Yueyang, Hunan which is famous for its unique danxia landform formed by red-colored sandstones and conglomerates of cretaceous age. We rode a cable car enjoying the beautiful panoramic view of large landscape through window to get to the top. As soon as we got off from the cable car, I was so thrilled to walk through suspension bridge that was straddling 300 meters between two peaks suspended by dozens of cable’s arms. To my surprise, initial wooden planks of the bridge were replaced by transparent glass through which seeing underneath canyon was an “adrenaline rush” experience. After crossing the bridge, we had long walk on concrete walkways built on sides of the mountain. I am still wondering about the hard work that they put into building such an amazing walkway. In between the walk, we also observed unique sightseeing, the massive stone looking like as if it was drunken man lying on the back of hills surrounded by beautiful lake. Throughout the walk everyone was busy taking pictures even though it was raining and foggy. Those who can appreciate geological wonders, steep cliffs, beautiful scenery and love to walk along with your companion, this place is eagerly waiting to welcome you.
Our 2nd day trip was to visit Dawei Mountain National Forest Park that is located on Mount Dawei in Liuyang city. It spreads over 180 square kilometers in circumference and scenic zone occupies an area of 38 square kilometers. Varieties of rare plants and animal species are specialty of this park including 48 Buddhist temples. I was feeling calm, peace and wonderful to hike on this park, observing and taking pictures of breath taking scenery , astonishing waterfalls and beautiful local people. The water in the waterfall was pure, clear, clean and unpolluted representing the vitality, spirit and enjoyment of nature. The water was making its way around, over and through the rocks, making beautiful noise which was like music to the ear. Here, air was fresh as if it was filling me with all positive vibration by penetrating into each cell of my body and mind. Those hiking lovers who want to encounter closely with nature then this is the exact place you are searching for.
Our 3rd day destination was Hengshan Mountain that was situated in Hengyang city. It is one of the china’s five sacred mountains. The sacred five mountains represent the five elements in China’s ancient philosophy (Gold, Woods, Water, Fire and Earth) and Hengshan is for fire. The main saint of Hengshan is Zhurong peak. At the peak I was surprised by a simple, powerful stumpy design temple from where we observed tranquilizing sunset view. That changing of color from pale yellow to dark red spreading all over the sky and slowly fading away scene was soul touching moment which I felt like as if painter was splashing his canvas with that color to create his masterpiece. This is the place to connect with your soul and to raise your spirits. A place to sit, daydream and simply enjoy the uniqueness of beautiful, serene nature which is becoming rare. Beautiful scenery and colorful flowers all over the area in a perfect sunny day makes it the most romantic place for couples. So, add Hengshan Mountain to your destination list to spice up your romance and make lifelong memories.
On our last day, we visited Nanyue temple which is located in the northern tip of Nanyue Town. The whole temple covers a land of 98,500 square meters. It is symmetrical in structure; the main construction is distributed along the middle axis in a north-south direction with eight Taoism palaces in east and eight Buddhism temples in west. I was so amazed and impressed by its ancient palatial architectural complex that I couldn’t resist myself taking pictures of such unique and marvelous structures. Here, you can pray, burn incense sticks, know you future from fortune tellers, make a wish on the wishing tree or just simply lazily roam around and enjoy the environment.
Over all, this trip has been a refreshing experience, one step closer to the nature away from the hustle, bustle of the city life. After this trip, I realized that Hunan has so much natural beauty in so many forms, colors and stages that is meant to touch our souls and minds at least for a moment, to inspire us and to make us fall in love. It is worth to leave your current life behind to pursue a more relaxing or adventurous break to explore Hunan and I am sure you will bring back best experiences of your life to share.