Red-hot tourist attraction

Updated: 2013-10-10 07:23

By Huang Zhiling (China Daily)

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With incessant sweat, many of the tourists who do not believe in the inspiration from a bygone scholar, however, deem the trip conducive to their health as sweat can discharge toxins from their bodies.

The Ganlu Temple is another must-see destination pertaining to both zhuangyuan and Danxia formations in Taining.

Built in 1146, the temple is named Ganlu, or sweet dew, because it has a stalactite above it that drips spring water believed to be as sweet as dew.

The temple is small and worships Buddha who helps childless people have babies.

There's a story of a woman in the Northern Song Dynasty who could not become pregnant long after she got married. She prayed in the temple, vowing that she would rebuild a new, large temple if she had a son.

One year later, she had a son named Ye Zuqia who became a zhuangyuan 24 years later. To keep his mother's promise, Ye rebuilt the temple.

The unusual temple built into a Danxia cave 80 meters above ground has only one pillar to support it.

Endorsing Confucianism, students in Taining worked hard and more than 50 of them became jinshi (successful candidates in the highest imperial exams) throughout history. As a jinshi, a scholar tended to become an official in ancient China.

The best jinshi-turned official in Taining was Li Chun-ye (1571-1637), minister of national defense in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).

Known as Shangshudi, or Residence of the Minister, his home in the county seat is Fu-jian's largest and best-preserved residence of the Ming Dynasty.

Built from 1623 to 1627, it covers more than 4,000 square meters and has 120 rooms made of bricks, stones and wood. Buildings are mainly one-story. Reign titles of two Ming emperors can be seen on wells, which are still used.

Many of Taining's Danxia landforms coexist with water.

About 22 km from the county seat is Shangqing Stream surrounded with Danxia landforms on both sides.

More than 50 km long, the stream passes Danxia landforms, which look like horse hoofs, a human mouth and loving heart. It's ideal for visitors to drift on, seated on bamboo chairs on rafts.

Drifting for about two hours in the uninhabited stream, where wild ducks, white egrets and eagles are spotted from time to time, costs 85 yuan ($14).

"As it is not cold in Taining in winter, drifting is available all year round. And flowers can be found on both sides of the stream in winter," says boatman Li Zonghui.

Red-hot tourist attraction

Relaxation and relief

To people who have long lived in cities, drifting in the stream reminds them of the good old days devoid of heavy air pollution.

"An agricultural county that started focusing on tourism in the mid-1980s, Taining has no industry. Eighty percent of the county is covered with forests and more than 95 percent of the county has the cleanest air, in line with national standards," Dai says.

Taining also boasts clean water in line with national standards. In the hotel we stay in near the county town, cold water can be drunk directly from the tap.

A gigantic, organic fish named Big Male Fish takes advantage of this clean water to flourish in the Dajin Lake.

When we dine in a restaurant, the steamed fish is so big that Xiao Leran, the boy from Sichuan, lowers his head beside the plate to make a vivid comparison showing the huge size of the local delicacy.

Hitting Tea is another delicacy in Taining.

"Tea is mixed with peanuts, sesame and herbs in a container. Then the mixture is broken to pieces with a wooden hammer before boiling water is added," says Zou Jinlan, a young woman selling Hitting Tea in Zhaixia Grand Canyon, 15 km from the county seat.

"It is named Hitting Tea because of the hitting process," Zou explains.

After we become exhausted by the trek to the dragon-shaped canyon, we happen to meet Zou's stall and taste the Hitting Tea sold for 5 yuan per bowl.

The fragrant tea not only quenches our thirst but also satisfies our hunger.

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