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Home >> Yunnan Travel Guide >> Kunming Travel Guide >> Attractions >> Dragon Gate

Dragon Gate And Western Hills

Western Hills, Yunnan tour Kunming travel China tripDragon Gate or Longmen in Chinese, known for its perfect Daoist and Buddhist grottoes, is set in the sharp cliff of the West Hill; the Dragon Gate is a huge project taking seven decades to complete, from 1781 to 1853, in the Qing Dynasty.

The most impressive grotto is the Datiange(also named the New Stone House)which is a stone room chiseled out on the cliff. Inside the stone room are statues of Daoist figures including Kui Star God, Guan Yu God, Wen Chang God and the Eight Daoist Immortals; all of them are made from the natural stone with exquisite workmanship. Datiange is also the highlight of the whole Dragon Gate; Kui Star God in the middle is popular among students and people who took part in the imperial exams in old times, because he is supposed to be in charge of the scholarship and literacy; Guan Yu on the left, a brave general in the Three Kingdoms Period, is taken as the God in charge of marshal arts and warfare; while the Wen Chang on the right, is supposed to be in charge of promotion. Outside the room are a big stone carp on the right and a dragon on the left, both skillfully carved; the Dragon Gate is originally meant to illustrate the saying, "Once you set your foot on the Dragon Gate, your fortune is to come". In China, there is another Dragon Gate on the Yellow River, it's said that after Da Yu opened the Dragon Gate with a magic axe and tamed the waters to solve the floods disasters for people, a deep valley was formed; however, the carps in the river could no longer return home and were blocked by the waterfall. Da Yu's wife, a kind lady showed her sympathy and pleaded the Jade Emperor to permit those carp which could jump over the Dragon Gate to become a dragon; while those which could not would be dyed a dot on the forehead and sent back to the river. So, "a carp jumps over the Dragon Gate" indicates that one succeeds in something he or she is undertaking. On the top of Datiange, there is a white-bearded man, he is Naji Immortal, or the God of Longevity. On the stone archway, there are two big Chinese characters, Longmen(dragon Gate) and a stone pearl that has been polished by hopeful touches because the pearl can invite in good lucks.

A half-meter-wide passage was chiseled through the cliff to connect Datiange and Yunhua Cave; differing from Datiange, Yunhua Grotto is shrine for the Goddess of Mercy Presenting Babies(Songzi Guanyin in Chinese), the statue and figures inside are also made from rock but are not so exquisite as those in Datiange.

Dragon Gate, China travel Yunnan tour Kunming tripDown further is the Phoenix Rock on which one can see a Stone Phoenix is engraved on the big rock with a seal in its beak; it's said that the seal was for Da Yu. The Phoenix Rock is also named the Old Stone House made in the Ming Dynasty, there are several stone tablets in side recording some historical information of the Dragon Gate.

Several yards down from the Old Stone House is the Filial Cattle Spring. It is said that in the old times, a butcher named Zhao lived in the village on the foot of the West Hill; one day, he purchased a mother cattle and a baby cattle from the market and decided to butcher the mother cattle for trading the beef. Everything was ready and just at the very moment he wanted to work his knife, he heard somebody call him form outside his house, he then put down his knife and went out to make sure what happened; but nobody was found and when he resumed his work, he found the knife was gone. Though he managed to find the knife under the body of the young cattle, he gave up because he was moved by the tears of the young cattle for its mum; the coming years saw Butcher Zhao ended his day as Daoist monk in the West Hill together with his two cattle. Once, the mother cattle was thirsty, her baby managed to make a mini spring by "chiseling" the rock with its horns and licking the rock by its tongue; the Filial Cattle Spring thus was born. Obviously, this is a fabricated story; however, it suggests that the young generation be obliged to show filial piety to the elder, which is referred to as Xiao in Confucianism.

Dragon Gate, China travel Yunnan tour Kunming tripFrom the filial cattle spring, one can see Yin and Yang sign on the Zhenwu Hall. Zhenwu Hall is a temple for Zhenwu God, or the North God in Daoism ; Zhenwu here has the same story that can be found in the Golden Palace. The most significant view is the Snake and the Tortoise at the entrance steps to the hall; the two sacred divine "guys" are carved from a natural stone; the Snake is set on the back of the Tortoise, Guichanshe in Chinese, which could be transliterated as Changshou(Longevity); they are also polished by frequent hopeful touches as the Dragon Pearl does: for longevity.
Sanqing Pavilion. Sanqing Pavilion or Sanqing Temple was first built in the Yuan Dynasty as a Summer Palace for Lingwang King, the forth son of Kublai Khan; so Sanqing Temple is also nicknamed Liangwangge by the Kunmingese, which means a pavilion for Liangwang King. Sanqing Pavilion is said to be the utmost fairy land in Daoism, where three top immortals live, namely God of the Prime Origin, God of the Sacred Jewel and God of the Way of Power. Nowadays, it has been converted to a tea house for visitors to take a break.

Lingguan Hall is another small temple or shrine on the Dragon Gate complex. Wang Lingguan usually works as the guardian at the entrance to the Daosit Monasteries, just like Skanka in Yuantong Temple; Wa Lingguan and his two assistants, God of Fire and God of Water look quite angry for evil spirits; they have special detecting instruments with them such as a mirror, or a third eye on the forehead, sometimes we just deem them as X rays when going through the security check in the airport. On the opposite of Lingguan Hall is a purplish God of Fortune by touching which most people finish their visit to the Dragon Gate and usher in good lucks.

 

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