Overview of Jiuzhaigou
Legend about Jiuzhaigou
A long time ago , a Tibetan boy named Dage was in deep love with Wonuo Semo , a beautiful goddess.
They decided to reside in Jiuzhaigou, Because they both deeply loved Jiuzhaigou's birds, animals, forests and mountains.Unexpected a devil called Shemozha fell in love with Wonuo Semo. He didn't want Dage live here with Wonuo Semo in Jiuzhaigou.So he waged a war in an attempt to drive Dage out so that he could marry Wonuo Semo.
A fierce battle occurred between Dage and the evil. During the battle, the devil snatched away Wonuo Semo.
Semo was so scared, she droped to the ground her a precious mirror made out of wind given by Dage as love gift. The mirror was broken, and pieces scattered on the human world and turned into 114 crystal-clear and gem-like lakes inlaid among mountain forests. Henceforth, here we have Jiuzhaigou, the Fairyland on Earth.
The battle continued, as Dage and the devil fought all the way from inner Jiuzhaigou to the entrance with no sign indicating who would win the battle. At this critical moment, Zhayizhaga, the king of mountains arrived, and he joined the fight on the side of Dage. The king put a huge screen-shaped cliff behind the devil.
Afterwards the King crushed and buried the devil beneath the cliff. Only his head remained visible on the rock cliff. Later local people called it the Devil Cliff.Since then, Jiuzhaigou has been peaceful and more beautiful due to the newly added colorful lakes and mountains, and Dage and Wonuo Semo still live together here to safe-guard Jiuzhaigou.
Known as the "Fairyland on Earth" . Jiuzhaigou sits on 103° 46' –I04° 4 ' E and32° 15 ' -33° 19' N, within the boundary of Jiuzhuigou County , Aba Prefecture , Sichuan . It lies between the southwest margin of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and at the north foot of Mt. Gonggang of the Minshan Mountains, with an average , altitude between 2, 000 and 3,000 meters, and a distance of about 435 kilometers from Chengdu , the capital city of Sichuan Province .
To its east, Jiuzhaigou neighbors both the Baihe River Nature Reserve and the Wanglang Nature Reserve , and to its south is the Huanglong Place of Scenic Interest .
It is 29 kilometers wild from east to west and 47 kilometers long from north to south, covering an area of 720 square kilometers, with a periphery zone of 600 sq. m. and a buffer zone of 110sq. m.
Origin of the name "Jiuzhaigou"
Jiuzhaigou, also called "Yangtong" in ancient times, currently has other names like "Heyao Jiuzhai", and the " Jade Sea ". Jiuzhaigou, literally the Nine Village Valley , is hence known for the nine Tibetan villages within its boundary, that is, Panxin, Rize. Yacuo , Panya, Zechawa , Heijiao, Shuzheng, Heye and Zharu.
The area of Jiuzhaigou as well as the upper reaches of the Jialing River and Minjiang River are called the land of Shiqiang (Qiang ethnic minority ) in ancient times, where human activities have been recorded dating back as early as to o the Yin-Shang Period (16th- 11th Century B. C.). According lo The Records of Songpan (vol. I - Rivers and Mountains), the "Jade Sea is 50-odd kilometers to the northeast county, within the territory of Zhongyang Tongfan Tribe. Its valleys are as long as several kilometers with green water and jade-like ripples." This evidences that the Jade Sea beauty was well known as far back in ancient times.
Distribution and Scenic Features
Jiuzhaigou covers the Shuzheng Valley . Rize Valley and Zechawa Valley that take a "Y" shape, in the Minshan Mountain Range. Inhabited by Tibetans, the nine villages and alpine lakes, affectionately called "Ham", are like reflecting mirrors or crystal jade blocks inlaid in snow mountains and forests. At the end of Zechawa Valley is the Chang (Long) Lake and the end of Rize Valley are virgin forests. From .south to north, both valleys stretch and meet at Nuorilang. The drop between the two valleys and Shuzheng Valley is over 1,000 meters.
Jiuzhaigou Valley always delights tourists from home and abroad with its emerald lakes, layered waterfalls, colorful forests, snow-clad peaks and Tibetan customs. Its charm lies in the primitive, natural and idyllic beauty of its landscapes.
As a tourist resort it boasts 114 lakes lying downward in an echelon manner, on which are 17 waterfalls, 47 springs, 17 splashing waterfalls, 11 turbulent streams and 5 travertine beaches and 9 Tibetan villages, formulating alpine lake clusters and travertine spots that are rarely seen in China and even in the world. All these scenic sights, set against the backdrop of 92 snowy peaks, create a unqiue natural landscape of high mountains and deep gullies in Jiuzhaigou.
The water, the soul of Jiuzhaigou, is so cystal clear and rich in colors that it has earned the reputation, so well expressed in the saying "Those who have visited Jiuzhaigou will no longer appreciate the water landscape again", Varying in size and shapes, sparkling with colors in brilliant sunlight, the more than 100 lakes define the waterscapes and form their essence. The unique tourist culture of Jiuzhaigou is captured by the purity of the green water, the reflections in the lakes, the stone mills, the Tibetan villages, the Buddhist sutra-streamers and the folk songs and dances of the Tibetan and the Qiang people. With its 30,000 hectares of virgin forests, Jiuzhaigou is also a botanical and zoological paradise, a habitat of dense conifers and broadleaf trees for such rare and endangered animals as the Giant Panda, the Golden Snub-Nosed Monkey, and the White-Lipped Deer.
Status and Reputation
In 1978, it was ratified as the National Nature Reserve for the Giant Panda and for the forest ecosystem.
In 1982, it was designated as one of the first group of China National Key Tourist Resorts.
In 1990, it was inscribed on the List of World Natural Heritage by UNESCO.
On October 14, 1992, it was inscribed on the List of World Natural Heritage by UNESCO.
On October 29, 1997, it was admitted into the World Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations.
In 2000, it was rated as the State 4 A-Level Scenic Area by the China National Tourism Administration.
In 2004, it was ratified as one of the National Geological Parks.
Who discovered Jiuzhaigou ?
According to data collected by the World Natural Heritage Organization, there is only one other site similar to Jiuzhaigou in the world: Pretev National Park in Croatia . It has one waterfall with a drop of only 1/12, and the size of its lakes is only 1/3, of that of Jiuzhaigou. What made Pretev National Park most popular than Jiuzhaigou is that it was in Europe and was developed and opened up to worldwide tourism for over 200 years ago. From the 1970s, large scaled development projects were completed, its natural beauty attracting thousands of visitors annually.
In 1992 when officials with. the World Natural Heritage Organization paid their first visit to Jiuzhaigou. the the poured down blocking out the views from Jiuzhaigou Entrance to scenic sights. As they reached Huohua (Spark) Lake site, it suddenly became clear, and sunlight penetrated through the mists, painting out a fascinating rainbow, and presenting fascinating lake views. They were shocked and exhilarated. They bent their knees on the lakeside in appreciation of the nature's wonder. According to their memory. Jiuzhaigou was such a natural beauty that they were shocked straight out of their unexpectedness for their admiration of nature's extraordinariness of Jiuzhaigou in China. They bent on their knees to show their esteem to the Nature, and express their gratitude to China ,a developing country that offers the world such us a nature's rarely and a Fairyland on Earth.
In the 60s of the 20th Century, the horse trail and hillside paths of Jiuzhaigou were the only link between the self-sufficient life of local Tibetans and the outside world. According to the Records of Nanping County - Jade Lake , Jiuzhaigou is within the boundary of Yangtong Tibetan-inhabited area, with valleys as long as several kilometers, where lake water is green and reflects the nearby forest images.
Its virgin forests had not been disturbed until the end of the 1960s when large groups of lumber workers started work at Jiuzhaigou. In 1975,the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry sent a team to Jiuzhaigou for field investigation, who were surprisingly impressed by its natural beauty and immedialely publicized their surveys and comments - Jiuzhaigou collects rich and rare animal and plant resources, and most of all. it is to become a place of scenic interest well-known throughout the world.
After their visit, Professor and Expert of Forestry Wu Zhonglun, president of the Chinese Academy of Forestry, together with officials of Sichuan Forestry Department, visited Jiuzhaigou and completed a fullround investigation. They prepared a document requesting Sichuan People's Government and Sichuan Forestry Department lo lake immediate measures for conservation of Jiuzhaigou's resources. Sichuan Forestry Department worked out an official document to notify Nanpin County Forestry Bureau that felling could only take place 200 meters away along the Zechawa Valley and Rize Valley . This is the earliest formal measure taken to conserve Jiuzhaigou resources.
In 1977, Sichuan Rare Animal Investigation Team proposed that Nanping While River Nature Reserve be extended to cover the Jiuzhaigou area. In the same year, the Academia Sinica (Chengdu Branch) again stated the significance and necessity for setting up the Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve.Furthermore, they reported the matter directly to the Academia Sinica headquarters.Sichuan CPC Committee and Sichuan People's Government.
On December 15, 1978. the State Council promulgated a document (Code No. 256),formally announcing that four belts of Jiuzhaigou are listed as the National Nature Reserve, and felling is strictly prohibited,including any lumbering productive activities within the valleys. In 1979, the Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve Adminisiration was officially established, and meanwhile, two forestry farms were removed out of Jiuzhaigou. Since 1979, the Ministry of Forestry and National Construction Commission, Sichuan and local governments and Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve Administration invested billions of RMB yuan for construction and conservation works, including works against mudflows, forest renewal, infrastructure works, environmental protection, and tourist development projects. In 1984, the Slate Council listed Jiuzhaigou as the National Key Place of Scenic Interest. In 1992, it was included by the UNESCO in the World Natural Heritage list. In 1998. Jiuzhaigou was conferred the World Biosphere credential, and in 2002, the "Green Globe 21" authentication credential.
Exploitation of Jiuzhaigou is a successful example of rational utilization of forestry prospecting and bio conservation, and an outstanding contribution of China to the human progress. The Chinese people take the conservation of Jiuzhaigou in the overall situations in global modern conservation undertakings, and demonstrate their lofty national characters. Progress of Jiuzhaigou may not be a wonder, yet the real wonder is that a developing country like China has left the best natural beauty to our generations today and tomorrow.
It is said that forefathers of Jiuzhaigou Tibetans originally lived in Maqu of Gansu Province, and belonged to a valiant tribe living at the foot of the Aniqing Mountain, The Tang Dynasty (617-907) - History of Tibetans records that, when Tufan (referring to Tibetans in general) launched the war in the early Tang Dynasty, Songzan Ganbu ordered his gallant front forces led by general Hequbu to seize Songzhou Prefecture. After their victory, some of his men stayed at the foot of Gonggang Mountain . They brought with them the legends of (heir tribe to Jiuzhaigou . Semo Divine Mountain in Jiuzhaigou and [he goddess Semo are named according to. legends from Hequ.
According to a hisiory record by Meng YiLinhio, a scholar of the Song Dynasty (960-1279), "At this grand occasion, over 1 ,000 dancers, on Their masks and in embroidered garments, gathered for show. They circled around the village until The end of the road." According to some researchers, the devil dance of Jiuzhaigou can be regarded ,is a living cultural fossil, and the devil dance of Baima people is of it long history and of high artistic values.
At the end of 1975, bamboo slips (used for writing on) entitled The Sun Book were unearthed from the No. 1 Tomb at Yunmeng , Hubei province. One chapter recorded on the slips "The Robbers" mentioning, "The bull has a long nose and a long neck; the rat has sparse mouth whiskers." The twelve animals (any of that is used to symbolize the year in which a person is born, namely, rat, bull, tiger, deer, horse, ape, pheasant, and goat) mentioned in the chapter are largely the same with that of Jiuzhaigou. This 12-animal birth- symbol pattern differs a great deal from that recorded by Wang Chong of the East Han Dynasty (25-220).
According to shiJing (Classic of Poetry, or The Books of Songs, completed in the 11t h Century B. C). listing the horse into the 12-animal birth-symbol pattern started from the early Qin Dynasty (221-206 B. C). And the listing of the tiger started from the year 217. which is evidenced that The Robbers was completed one year later. Furthermore. The Robbers of The Sun book records events as far buck as to the Qin State ( 22l -206B. C). and the editor/ writer of The Robbers, according to textual researches ,was a native of present-day Hunan province. Oui of all thses researches, the jiuzhaigou l2-animal birth-.sym- bol pattern contains largely that of the Warring States (403-221 B. C).
As a World Natural Heritage and World Biosphere, Jiuzhaigou is largely known for its mountain and lake landscapes. But,Jiuzhaigou is also famous for its local people who have fostered and guarded those mountains and lakes. They are Tibetans living among beautiful lakes and mountains. When you cherish a pilgrim's heart to visit this earthly heaven, you find yourself to have come to a site where both history and reality meet and both civilization and nature coexist in harmony.
Tibetans of Jiuzhaigou
For generations after generations, Tibetans have been living in beautiful Jiuzhaigou, in harmony and mutual respect with other ethnic groups like Qiang, Hui and Han nationalities. Even today, Tibetans of Jiuzhaigou maintain their traditional yet simple life styles, as well as modes of production. Their lifestyle falls in a marginal culture of strong ethnic coloring.
People of Jiuzhaigou are largely Tibetans, speaking the Tibetan language. As the area is gradually open to the outside world, middle-aged and young people begin to speak the standard Chinese. A few Tibetan words will be lots of fun on your way of tour.
A few commonly-used Tibetan expressions
Good Luck Zha Xi De Le They Ge Rang Gu
How are you Ze Rang Ji Boy Bu
Goodbye De Me Girl Bo Mo
I Yan Sorry Ma Rang Te
You(singular) Ze Welcome Ga Su Xu
He Kuo Ru Thanks Rang Te
We E Gu Excuse Me Ka Zhuo Ka Zhuo
You(plural) Chu Gu No Mei Lang
Baima (white horse) people
Baima people (a Tibetan tribe) have been living in North Sichuan and South Gansu province, between the north and south of the Tianshan Mountain Range and along the banks of the Fujiang River and the headstreams of the Baishui (White Water) River. Although in harsh living conditions, they have been keeping their unique ethnic customs for a long time, thus their language, religion, garments and accessories arc a little different from that of Anduo and Jiarong Tibetans. In Wenxian. Nanping and Pingwu counties, the Baima population is only about 10.000. They are lineal descendents of ancient Huang Di (Yellow Emperor) and have preserved certain traditional lifestyle of the Chinese nationalities of their early stage.
Baima Devil Dance
In general, Baima people believe in devils and demons. From the 5th and 15th of January on every Chinese lunar calendar, tourists will notice, on their way from Pingwu County to Jiuzhaigou County, the "folk devil dance" - the only one of the kind preserved in China.
According to textual researches, Zhou'ou. the "mask dance" or "idol dance" in Chinese, is a very ancient kind of devil-driving dance ceremony. For over 5.000 to 6,000 years, this dance remains active in Baima tribes - a wonder that could hardly be understood.
The Han nationality in Jiuzhaigou tailed Zhou'ou the 12 facial-features dance, but actually has much to do with the traditional Chinese 12 animal symbols (to symbolize the year in which a person is born) According to local folk artists, Zhou'ou had over 30 kinds of masks in ancient times, and those remains up to day are only 12 ones, namely, phoenix, sculpture, heavenly dragon, earthly dragon, tiger, lion, bear, bull, senior demon and junior demon. Zhou'ou really means a puppet dance instead of a 12-animal-symbol dance.
It is said that, a long time ago, visits among villages were accompanied with the devil dance. The best mask of a village was placed on top of their priority show list, and they regarded ii as their own god of patronage. Dancers were welcome and well treated wherever they went, and at their arrival, villagers were overjoyed.
Garments and accessories
Garments and accessories of Baima people are colorful and gorgeous. All over the year, they wear the white, discshaped felt hat, with white cock tail feathers on top. Their dressing seems to symbolize certain anticipation of a new world. For Baima gentlemen, the white tail feather represents bravery and uprightness; for ladies, purity and femininity. In Baima area, everyone is a good singer and a good dancer, and they sing and dance almost at any time, not to speak of big occasions.
The fireplace of Baima people is set close to the family altar, with men sitting on the left and women on the right. Only distinguished guests or friend from afar are treated with seats close to the altar. When you sit down with your knees bent, the host begins to offer you the honor of liquor that you will drink, instead of in a common manner, but literally sip through a carved bamboo pipe. When you are in high spirits, Baima young ladies will dance out and hold bronze-cups of liquor over the "toasting song."
Most Tibetans do have their given names, but not surnames. Their name is usually made of one through four characters generally selected from Buddhist scriptures, and as a result, one name may be given to quite a number of people. However, many Baima people name themselves, largely by the Han nationality names: Lei, Hou and Yang.
On the bank of the Baima River , the Baima Village preserves the most authentic tradition of their tribes. From 1984 when Duan Jia (the last ruler of the tribes ), together with his necromancers, passed away, no one is able to identify the Baima hieroglyph which is similar to Dongma hieroglyph in Naxi , Yunnan . This puzzles many visitors and researchers: why did the Qiang and Naxi necromancers use the same language even though they are thousands of kilometers apart?
Four seasons of Jiuzhaigou are equally charming. Spring ushers in greenness with birds' singing, as well as peach blossoms competing beauty again snow landscape. Summer sees greenness in its prime, waterfalls and sunshine waking up every living organism, particularly wild flowers over the hills. Autumn is the most beautiful of all Jiuzhaigou seasons when tree leaves turn rosy, light yellow, purple, sil ver grey, brown, and ochre. Winter is such a time when icy twigs and green branches climbing on jade-like trees, resembling a picture scroll of traditional Chinese landscape painting.
Jiuzhaigou is noted for its freshet air in the world, with an atmospheric visibility of 50 kilometers. Situated in a temperate zone. Jiuzhaigou sees lots of sunny days, cool summer and less wind in winter, with favorable conditions for tourism, sightseeing and holidays.
Monthly Temperature and Rainfall(At Chawa)
January February March April May June
-1 2.5 4 8.5 11 14
July August September October November December
10 17 12 8.2 2.2 2.3
January February March April May June
15 24 35 42 87 96
July August September October November December
104 82 76 53.2 25 19
Major Event of Jiuzhaigou
1978 On December 15, 1978, the State Council issued its approval document [Guofa 1978 No. 256] for the Report on Strengthening the Works of Conservation and Domestication of Giant Pandas, and the report on establishing the Nanping-Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve.
1979 In 1979, Sichuan Revolutionary Committee issued the document [Chuangefa 1979 No. 36] for setting up the Administrative Office of Sichuan Nanping-Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve.
1982 In 1982, the State Council issued its approval notification [Guofa 1982 No. 136] for the Ministry of Construction's Report: Review and Approval of the First Group of State-Protected Places of Scenic Interest, that listed Nanping-Jiuzhaigou as the Place of Scenic Interest.
1983 In 1983, the Administrative Office of the Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve of Sichuan Nanping County was renamed as the Administrative Division of Sichuan Nanping-Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve.
1984 In 1984, the State Council issued the document [Guofa 1984 No. 136] to list Jiuzhaigou into the first group of state-level key places of scenic interest, and establish correspondingly the Administration of Sichuan Nanping County Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve.
1989 In 1989, Jiuzhaigou Township was established.
1991 In 1991, relevant government organs started applications for inclusion of Jiuzhaigou in the World Natu- ral Heritage list.
1992 In June 1992, the UN experts concluded their comments on Jiuzhaigou, "It is an incredible place of great natural beauty. It meets the full standards and terms for the Natural Heritage and thereby shall be in- cluded in."
On December 14, 1992, the 16th Session of UNESCO WHZ Committee held a meeting at Santa Fe , New Mexico , USA , during which the delegates unanimously voted to include Jiuzhaigou in the World Natural Heritage list.
1993 On February 28, 1993, the issuing ceremony of the World Natural Heritage credentials and news brief-ing were held at the Great Hall of People, Beijing , China , where Secretary General Majore of UNESCO awarded the credentials to representatives of Wulingyuan, Jiuzhaigou and Huanglong World Natural Heritage Administrations.
1994 On May 17, 1994, Sichuan People's Government issued the document [Chuanfu
1994 No. 188] to confirm Jiuzhaigou as the state-level Forest and Wildlife Nature Reserve.
In July 1994, the Ministry of Forestry issued the document [Linhan Huzi 1994 No. 174] to confirm Jiuzhaigou as the state-level Nature Reserve.
On August 16, 1994, the Ministry of Forestry, based on the document "Notification on Standardizing the Names of State-Level Nature Reserves [Linhuzi 1998 No. 97], renamed the Administrative Division of Sichuan Nanping-Jiuzhaigou Nature Reserve as the Administrative Division of Sichuan Jiuzhaigou State-Level Nature Reserve.
1995 On September 14, 1995, Jiuzhaigou was included by UNESCO MAB in the China Biosphere and in the recommendation list for the World Biosphere.
1998 In 1998, UNESCO issued Jiuzhaigou the credential of the World Biosphere.
2000 In March 2000, at the request of the Ministry of Forestry, the Administrative Division of Jiuzhaigou State-Level Nature Reserve was renamed as the Administration of Jiuzhaigou State-Level Nature Reserve.
2002 In 2002, Jiuzhaigou passed authentication of the Green Globe 21.
2003 In 2003 in Jiuzhaigou Place of Scenic Interest, commercial facilities were removed.