What to See on Helan Mountain
Rock Paintings of Helan Mountain
In ancient times, this mountain is the homelands of northern China minorities include Huns, Xianbei, Tujue, Uighur and Tibet. They carved the scenes of their daily lives on the stones of the mountain 3,000 to 10,000 years ago. The pictures reappear the aesthetic taste, social customs and life style of ancient people. On the 220 km mountain range, there are more than 20 spots of rock paintings. The contents of the rock paintings include forest-steppe animals, grassland animal and human head portraits. Most of them are carvings and a small amount of them are colored drawings. The most classic ones are located in the Helan Pass.
The rock paintings have abundant contents and painting styles, and they are vivid and full of imaginations. The paintings bring us precious information of ancient human beings and an enjoyment of art.
Helan Mountain Suyukou National Forest Park
Suyukou National Forest Park is located to the west of the Rock Paintings. Below are main spots in this park:
Helan Mountain Museum: Helan Mountain Museum is a modern museum with the theme of the mountain’s animal and plant resources, geological vicissitude, history and culture. There are 13 halls in the museum with more than 400 exhibits.
Sanqing Taoist Temple: This is an archaize building with red walls and grey tiles. This Taoist Temple had a history of 800 years but was ruined by war. It was rebuilt in 2004.
Cherry Valley: This 2 km (1 mi) long spot is filled with wild cherry trees.
The Two Pagodas in Baisikou
The Two Pagodas in Baisikou are located in Baisikou of Helan Mountain. They are the best-preserved Western Xia (1038-1227) pagodas with an age of 1,000 years old. These pagodas are extremely rare treasures in Chinese pagodas, which play important roles in archaeology, Buddhism, research and appreciation.
The east pagoda, with a height of 39 m (128 ft), is a regular octagonal building with 13 floors, and embossments of animal heads are under every eave of every floor. The colored animal heads have colored drawing rosary in their mouths. The west pagoda, with a height of 41 m (135 ft), is a little thicker than the east one. This pagoda is also 13 floors with a niche in every floor. The walls are filled with delicate Buddhism pictures. Both of them are brick pagodas. Sanskrit, Tangut script and coins in Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) were found in the pagodas.
Gunzhong Pass (Gunzhongkou)
Gunzhongkou is located in the east of the mountain. It is the most famous summer resort in Ningxia. The pass is ringed on three sides by mountains and opens on the east, which looks like a thwart bell. There is a hill in the middle of the area, which looks like the striker. Therefore the place is called “Gunzhong”, which means a rolling bell in Chinese.
Li Yuanhao, the first emperor of the Western Xia, used to build a grand-scale summer palace here. Many temples, halls and palaces were also built in Ming and Qing Dynasty (1368-1912) here. Nowadays, the buildings are still gorgeous and spectacular.
How to get to Helan Mountain
The public transport is not very convenient here, if you’d love to go there in slack season, charter a car is recommended. The price is about CNY300-400/day.
|Rock Paintings of Helan Mountain||70|
|Helan Mountain Suyukou National Forest Park||60|
|The Two Pagodas in Baisikou||20|
Western Xia Imperial Tombs