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Three great historic sites in Dongxihu District

Source: Changjiang Weekly 03/10/2016 10:03:44

Lotus flowers in bloom in Yuetangjiao Village (file photo)

Baiquan Well

Baiquan Town (柏泉), a very old town with a long history, is located in Dongxihu District, and it is definitely worth visiting. It is located on what was once Panlong City, the birthplace of Chu culture. If you visit this town, you will want to take time to explore the town's three great historic sites, which include an ancient well, a grand temple, and a historic village. Contained within these famous historic sites is the fascinating history of Dongxihu District.

The three great historic sites in Baiquan Town are the Baiquan Well (柏泉古井), Jingde Buddhist Temple (景德寺), and Yuetangjiao Village (月塘角村).

As you approach the well, which is hidden amidst a dense bamboo forest, you are sure to feel as though you have stepped back in time. There is something almost spiritual, a kind of tranquility that dwells here. Walking along the stone walkway, you can feel it. There is a legend associated with the history of the well. The legend has it that Emperor Yu, a Xia Dynasty emperor, planted a tree on Dabie Hill, what is now Hanyang's Tortoise Hill, over 3,000 years ago. It is said two carp-shaped roots stretched to a crescent-shaped pond in Dongxihu and were discovered during the Tang Dynasty. During the Ming Dynasty, a well was built by the pond. The name, Baiquan Well, means "cypress well;" the name is a reference to the tree planted long ago.

The more-than-800-year-old well is surrounded by many tall pine trees. Although a great deal of time has passed, the well remains. The water temperature is constant, regardless of season or human interference. The two-carp shaped roots are also still present. It is said that in the summer, one can see the roots in the bottom of the well; with the sun shining down upon them, they resemble two fish swimming. Even during winter, many visitors couldn't help looking into the well to see if the story is true. Some people visit specifically to collect water from the well; they often praise the water here for its purity and sweetness. It is said that the water here is great for cooking rice or making tea.

Baiquan Well represents the harmonious balance between man and nature. Because the pond nearby is shaped like a crescent moon, the villagers call it Yue Pond (yue means "moon"); the village nearby is called Yuetangjiao. Over the years, the people have protected and preserved the natural landscape in this area. Over a thousand years ago, a prominent monk traveled to this region and found it to be rich in natural treasures. He built Jingde Buddhist Temple as a place for self-discipline and self-improvement. It is a perfect place for those seeking enlightenment. Because of its long history and popularity, Jingde Buddhist Temple is as famous as Gude Temple and Guiyuan Buddhist Temple.

The village is currently being extensively renovated. This is part of a project that was launched by the local government. All the original features, the bells, winding paths, and springs, will be preserved. If you decide to visit the three great historic sites in this area, you might also consider going to Maomiao Market to pick fresh fruit and vegetables in the local orchards and gardens. You can also treat yourself to a delicious farm-style meal.

(Source: Changjiang Weekly)