First Impressions

The high-speed rail both ways was quite expensive at around 180RMB a piece in order to get to and from Shenzhen. Upon arrival, I was baffled by the fact that there was no metro system. Thus, I spent another 170RMB from Shaoguan train station to Mt. Danxia. This was quite annoying. The taxi driver told me that Shaoguan is still considered a “village” and its considerably lagging behind China’s other premium cities. Nevertheless, after arriving on Mt. Danxia, it got more and more enjoyable. It was also really nice to meet old college friends of my coworker, 曾颖, and to share the experience together with them.

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补票排队。。。

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曾颖老朋友家的风景

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Mt. Danxia (丹霞山) 

Danxia Mountain is a world famous geopark, containing the largest, most beautiful scenic area in Guangdong. The mountain is situated in Renhua County, about 45 kilometers (28 miles) from Shaoguan City. The Danxia Landform of this mountain represents the typical formation of the over 1,200 Danxia Landforms found throughout the world. Covering an area of more than 280 square kilometers (69,190 acres), the mountain is composed primarily of red sandstone rocks.

The scenic area contains more than 680 various stone peaks, stone fortresses, walls, pillars and stone bridges. The stones have been formed over the eons by nature, many of which take the shape of the human body, birds and even animals. The numerous stones and peaks are rhythmically interspersed among the scenic spot, making it a sculpture garden of red sandstone rocks. Set against the blue sky, white clouds, jade waters, green trees and the colorful algae, the mountain becomes a picturesque painting.

丹霞山简介

“中国红石公园――丹霞山,位于韶关市境内,面积290平方千米,是广东省面积最大、景色最美的风景区。1988年以来,丹霞山分别被评为国家风景名胜区、国家级地质地貌自然保护区、国家AAAA级旅游区、国家地质公园、世界地质公园。   丹霞山是世界“丹霞地貌”命名地。丹霞山由680多座顶平、身陡、麓缓的红色砂砾岩石构成,“色如渥丹,灿若明霞”,以赤壁丹崖为特色。据地质学家研究表明:在世界已发现1200多处丹霞地貌中,丹霞山是发育最典型、类型最齐全、造型最丰富、景色最优美的丹霞地貌集中分布区。   在距今1.4亿年至7000万年间,丹霞山区是一个大型内陆盆地,受喜马拉雅造山运动影响,四周山地强烈隆起,盆地内接受大量碎屑沉积,形成了巨厚的红色地层;在距今7000年前后,地壳上升而逐渐受侵蚀。距今600万年以来,盆地又发生多次间歇上升,平均大约每万年上升1米,同时流水下切侵蚀,丹霞红层被切割成一片红色山群,也就是现在的丹霞山区。   丹霞山在地层、构造、地貌表现、发育过程、营力作用以及自然环境、生态演化等方面的研究在全国丹霞地貌区最为详细和深入,已经成为全国乃至世界丹霞地貌的研究基地以及科普教育和教学实习基地。丹霞山风景区内有大小石峰、石墙、石柱、天生桥680多座,群峰如林,疏密相生,高下参差,错落有序;山间高峡幽谷,古木葱郁,淡雅清静,风尘不染。锦江秀水纵贯南北,沿途丹山碧水,竹树婆娑,满江风物,一脉柔情。   丹霞山现有佛教别传禅寺以及80多处石窟寺遗址,历代文人墨客在这里留下了许多传奇故事、诗词和摩崖石刻,具有极大的历史文化价值”

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福音峡

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Xiaokeng National Forest Park (小坑国家森林公园)

阴阳石

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Very bad daddy!

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Nanhua Temple(南华寺)

“Nanhua Temple is a famous Buddhist site, where the sixth founder of the Buddhism generation in Tang Dynasty (618-907), Hui Neng, established the southern sect of Zen. It is located in Maba Town, Qujiang District, about 22 kilometers (14 miles) southeast from downtown Shaoguan. With a history of over 1,500 years, the temple contains many national treasures, including the Da Zang Sutra, decree and cassock of a thousand years ago.

The temple holds many precious cultural relics; the most precious being the statue of Hui Neng, which is worshiped in the Sixth Ancestor Hall. There are 360 Buddhist arhats figures which are the only Chinese wooden carvings preserved from the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). It is notable that the lifelike figures have been made by highly-skilled carvers and each of them has a distinct sitting posture, representing the different characters of the arhats. Some were engraved with epigraphs which are of high value. The rare cassock trimmed with dainty embroidery of over 1,000 Buddhist figures is also worth mentioning. Many of the valuable cultural relics being kept in the temple are national treasure and significant in the study of Chinese architecture, sculpture, painting and Buddhism.”

南华寺

“南华寺是中国佛教名寺之一,是禅宗六祖慧能宏扬 “南宗禅法”的发源地。南华寺始建于南北朝梁武帝天监元年公元502年。据史料记载,是年印度高僧智乐三藏自广州北上,途经曹溪,“掬水饮之,香味异常”,“四顾群山,峰恋奇秀”,“宛如西天宝林山地”遂建议在此建寺。天监三年,寺庙建成,梁武帝赐“宝林寺”名。后又先后更名为“中兴寺”、“法泉寺”、至宋开宝元年公元968年,宋太宗敕赐“南华禅寺”,寺名乃沿袭至今。

南华寺距今已近一千五百年的历史,寺后有桌锡泉(俗称九龙泉),几株高达数十米的古老水松,是现在世界上稀有的树木,寺庙现存大量珍贵文物,为全国重点文物保护单位之一。 南华寺建筑面积一万二千多平方米,由曹溪门、放生池、宝林门、天王殿、大雄宝殿、藏经阁、灵照塔、六祖殿等建筑群组成。现有建筑除灵照塔、六祖殿外,都是1934年后虚云和尚募化重修的。

1983年,南华寺最早一批被国务院定为国家重点寺院。2001年06月25日,南华寺作为明、清时期古建筑,被国务院批准列入第五批全国重点文物保护单位名单。南华寺是写下千古绝句“菩提本无树,明镜亦非台,本来无一物,何处惹尘埃”的佛教禅宗六祖慧能弘扬“南宗禅法”的发祥地,六祖慧能在此传授佛法37年,法眼宗远传世界各地,因而南华寺有“祖庭”之称。”

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Final Thoughts

Overall, the experience was nice, but this was also my most expensive trip ever, due to all the good eating along the way, (close to 1200 RMB), next to going to Beijing. For me, Shaoguan is a one time deal.      

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*Majority of content is derived from the sources provided in the hyperlinks. Thus, the credit is given to the original author of those links.

*These experiences were made possible by the Gilman Scholarship 

8/21-8/22/15

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