New Delhi : Sichuan has made its mark as a tourism cynosure of China with China’s 21 best tourist cities, 5 world heritage sites including natural and cultural heritage sites, rare species of flora and fauna, diverse topography, confluence of rich history of traditions and contemporary modernization and incredible variety of delectable cuisine.
Sichuan, located in the hinterland of south west China has complex and diverse topography with plateaus in west, Sichuan basin in middle and hilly region in east. Sichuan has favourable geographical and ecological resources with more than 4000 tourist attractions which includes 9 of 5A level scenic spots, 5 world heritage sites, 4 world biosphere reserves, 2 World Geo Parks, 21 China’s best tourist cities. The complex and volatile natural environment of Sichuan gives birth to a rich wildlife making it a home to rare species including 80% of the world’s giant pandas, Sichuan golden snub-nosed monkey, black bears, rare birds, plants and trees.
Sichuan is gifted with remarkable world cultural heritage by throwing light on ancient Chinese masterpieces. A prominent name amongst these in the Conference was Dujiangyan Irrigation Project in Sichuan which has made its mark as one of the world heritage sites and “ancestor of the world’s water conservancy culture”. The UNESCO-listed Dujiangyan site shows how ancient Chinese ingenuity mastered the raging waters of the rivers running down from the Tibetan foothills at a furious speed back over 2,200 years.
This brilliant system transferred what was a hazardous series of floods into the life force of the province as it filled the otherwise dry plains of Chengdu, Sichuan. Dujiangyan irrigation infrastructure is the only existing ancient hydro-power project featuring diversions without a dam in the world. It is still in use today and has many historic sites surrounding the area. Another famous historic and cultural tourist attraction – Mount Qingcheng which is listed as a world heritage site and is located to the southwest of Dujiangyan was highlighted during the conference. Mount Qingcheng is one of the birthplaces of China’s Taoism and is reputed for the Taoist culture, ancient architecture, temples and historical and cultural deposit of this ancient city ruled by various dynasties in the past.
The Leshan Giant Buddha or Lingyun Giant Buddha which is the sculpture of a seated Maitreya is interesting too. Buddha located at the confluence of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers in southern Sichuan, close to the city of Leshan. The stone sculpture carved out from a cliff faces Mount Emei, with the rivers flowing below its feet. Built in Tang Dynasty, this stone sculpture is the largest stone-carved sitting Maitreya Buddha in the world. Mount Emei Scenic Area including Leshan Giant Buddha Scenic Area is another UNESCO World Heritage Site and easily rivals other famous stone carvings such as the Sphinx and the Valley of the Kings in Egypt. As one of the four sacred Buddhist mountains of China, Mt. Emei features more than 26 temples including 8 major ones which frequently hold Buddhist ceremonies. Mt. Emei has a steep terrain and boasts of great natural scenery.