Gongtan is one of the famous rapids on the Wujiang River. It is located in the western region of Youyang, Chongqing and closes to the Yanhe County of Guizhou Province. At the west side of Gongtan, the cliffs stretch to the sky. On the top of the cliffs, there are many beautiful birds singing and monkeys roaring. The famous Manwang Cave is covered in the frost. At the east side, the slope is gentle. The Gongtan Old Town is located on the slope.
In the old town have Chuanzhu Temple, Sanjiao Temple and many old stone tablets. Some tablets are carved with Wuliang (immeasurable) Buddhist literature. Some tablets belong to Ming Dynasty. Besides that, there are Quartet Well of Song Dynasty, skyscraping stone column, one ditch and thirteen bridges and Gongtan arch stone bridge.
Why is this place called “Gongtan”? Some people say many residents living in the east coast surnamed “Gong” in particular and they were distinguished families. So it is called Gongtan. It was also said that Wujiang River and Apengjang River were dug up by two big and small dragons. Wujiang River was an advancing route for Wu Dragon who had a strong body and strength. Wu Dragon advanced from northeast of Guizhou Province to southeast of Chongqing. After flying a very long distance, Wu Dragon reached the junction of Sichuan and Guizhou. Meanwhile, Apengjiang River was an advancing route for Along Dragon who had a weak body and strength. It couldn’t fly further. So it just reached the junction of Sichuan and Guizhou and gathered with Wu Dragon. After that, they worked together and struggled to cross the canyon of junction of Sichuan and Guizhou. And then a very steep fast-flowing rapid formed. People called it “Gong Tuan” and also called “Gongtan”.
In ancient times, Gongtan was the entrance to Wuxi and Yelang and the military base. Now it’s the waterborne transport artery of the Chongqing and Guizhou. Gongtan Old Town had always gathered businessmen in ancient. And now this old town is still prosperous.
Dazu Stone Caving
In Dazu region, there are the unique series of rock carvings. The time spans form the 9th century to the 13th century. These rock carvings are famous for high quality art spanning various subjects. From secularity to religion, these rock carvings reflect the Chinese daily social life of that period. In 1999, the world heritages that China declared had only one approved. That is world’s cultural heritage “Dazu Stone Caving”.
Dazu is the hometown of stone carvings. The whole county has more than 40 stone carvings and over 50,000 sculptures. Among them, the most famous and largest are Baoding Hill and Beishan (North Hill). The two hills are under national key cultural protection and is the art masterpiece of late Tang Dynasty. Dazu County was built in BC 758. “Dazu” means “adequate harvest”. It is well-known as “stone village” and “metals village”. Dazu County has a long history with a rich natural landscape and tourist resources. Within the county, the stone sculptures spread widely.
Beishan (north hill) stone carving
Beishan Cliff Statues were carved between the end of the Tang Dynasty and the end of Southern Song Dynasty. It is located on the north hill which is 2 kilometers away from the north of Dazu County. Taken the Buddha Bay as the center, around it is the Goddess of Mercy slope, Yingpan slope, the Buddha ears rock and Beita temple. The Beishan stone carving is more than 500 meters long and about 7 meters high with 5,000 statues. They are delicate and exquisite. Apart from some stone inscription and tower blocks are broken, others are kept well.
It is 15 kilometers away from northeast of Longgang Town, Dazu County with an elevation of 527.83 meters. This hill was built during the Southern Song Dynasty. On the rock within 2.5 kilometers are carved many statues, including big Buddha Bay and small Buddha Bay. There are over 360 huge carvings, such as Baolou pavilion, two Huayan icons and thousand hands Goddess of Mercy.
Nanshan (south hill) stone carving
Nanshan was called Guanghua Hill. It is 5 kilometers away from southeast of Dazu County. In the past, there was Yuhuang (jade emperor) temple on the top of the hill. Nanshan stone carving was built between AD 1127 and 1279. It belonged to Taoist statues. In Ming and Qing Dynasty, it was rebuilt.
Shizhuan Hill Stone Carving
Shizhuan hill is located in the Fohui village of Sanqu Town, which is 25 kilometers away from southwest of Longgang Town, Dazu County. The elevation is 444.6 meters. According to historic record, sculptures were dug up between AD 1082 and AD1096. It’s about 130 meters long. Each sculpture in Shizhuan hill has its own number. There are totally ten numbers. The sixth number is Confucius, who was the famous Chinese philosopher. On both sides of Confucius are his ten disciples. The seventh number is a niche for a Buddha. The eighth number is a senior shrine. On both side of it have seven master statues.
Shimen Hill Stone Carving
Shimen hill is located in the Xinsheng village of Shima Town, which is 20 kilometers away from the east of Longgang Town, Dazu County. The elevation is 374.1 meters. It was built between AD 1094 and 1151. It is about 71.8 meters long. There are sixteen sculptures in Shimen hill. They also have their own numbers. The second number is Jade Emperor. The seventh number is Wutong Emperor with only one foot. The tenth number is Sanhuang (three emperors) Cave.