Lantern Shadow Gorge (Deng Ying Xia)

Lantern Shadow Gorge (Dengying Xia ) is located ten kilometers (six mile) west of Nanjin Pass in Yichang City of Hubei Province. It is straight and narrow although not very long. Passing through it, you may believe that you are entering your own gate to paradise.

The limestone on the mountains standing on two sides of the gorge has specially developed to form a masterpiece of nature. Steep cliffs and towering peaks extend continuously on the banks. Plenty of trees, stones in various shapes and cliffside springs scatter here and there on the mountains.

The gorge features some unusual sights on the south side. On the peak of Baiya Mountain located on the southern bank of the Yangtze, stand four strange rocks. The four rocks are just in the shapes of the four well-known figures - Monk Xuanzang (San Zang) and his three disciples, Monkey King (Sun Wukong), Pig Zhu Bajie and Friar Sand (Sha Wujing) - in Journey to the West. Maybe you know something of Journey to the West? It is one of the four Chinese classical works, describing an interesting story. Xuanzang, a respectful monk in the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907), went on a pilgrimage for Buddhist scriptures to India with his three disciples. During the long journey, they defeated many sprites and monsters and overcome many difficulties. They were highly praised by Emperor Taizong of the Tang Dynasty when they came back to Chang'an (the then capital which is known as Xi'an today).

All the four of them are favored by Chinese people very much. The four rocks in the Lantern Shadow Gorge just vividly show the figures of them which are familiar to every Chinese - the decent Monk Xuanzang, the smart Monkey King, the clumsy Pig Zhu Bajie and the surefooted Friar Sand.

Cruising on the Yangtze River, you will have a chance to admire these four lifelike stones when passing this section. If passing it at the sunset, the four are just like characters in the Dengying Play (Shadow Puppet Show). They appear dark shadows in the dusk just like the shadows of leather-made puppets being projected on to a screen. Hence the name, Dengying Gorge.

It has another name - Mingyue Xia (Bright Moon Gorge). The cliff is regarded as a masterpiece by nature with a smooth surface in solid color. When you pass through the gorge on a clear night, you will marvel at the wonderful scene - bright moonlight casts upon the glazed cliff and the elegant ridge is clearly reflected in the water.

Ten kilometers (six mile) to the east of Lantern Shadow Gorge is the Nanjin Pass, the east end of Xiling Gorge and also the Yangtze Three Gorges. Additionally, not far west of Lantern Shadow Gorge you can visit the Immortal Bridge, which is the best place to view the enchanting scenery of Xiling Gorge.

- Last modified on Jul. 24, 2019 -
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