Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China
Travel to Chengdu, capital of the Sichuan Province
Chengdu, the capital of the colorful Sichuan Province, is located in the western section of the fertile Sichuan Basin (Red Basin). In recent years Chengdu also became the “capital” of Southwest China. The visitor will find a modern, bustling city with skyscrapers, western fast food chains, bars and countless fashion stores.
On the other hand there are the fascinating narrow lanes, with colorful, small street markets, barber shops and food stalls, standing in a vast contrast to the nearby new Chengdu. Looking for an address in Chengdu is not an easy task, as most streets change their names 3 times within 500 meters!
Chengdu is the ideal starting point for trips to Jiuzhaigou National Park, Heilongtan, Leshan, Emei Shan, western Sichuan or Tibet.
Giant Panda Research and Breeding Base, Chengdu
Visit Panda Research and Breeding Base. A visit to Chengdu should be combined with a visit to the Giant Panda Research and Breeding Base outside Chendgu. This is probably the only chance to see these amazing creatures up close in a somewhat “natural” environment.
Giant Pandas are solitary. They have a highly developed sense of smell that males use to avoid each other and to find females for mating in the spring. After a five-month pregnancy, females give birth to a cub or two, though they cannot care for both twins. The blind infants weigh only 5 ounces (142 grams) at birth and cannot crawl until they reach three months of age. They are born white, and develop their unique color patterns later. Thanks to artificial breeding programs several Panda babies have been born in recent years at the Giant Panda Research and Breeding Base.
Only around 1500 Panda Bears are believed to live in the wild. The best time to visit is early morning when the Pandas get their breakfast. That is when they are most active. A good time to visit is also during winter when the park is quieter and there are less crowds.
Qingyanggong Taoist Temple, Chengdu (Temple of the two Immortals)
Situated west of town on the banks of the Jinjian River, Qingyanggong Taoist Temple (also called Temple of the two Immortals) can be traced back to the Zhou Dynasty (1122 B.C. – 221 B.C.) but only gained fame when emperor Xizhong (881, Tang Dynasty) retreated to Qingyanggong Taoist Temple during an upheaval. After the upheaval was put down, emperor Xizhong appropriated some money to expand the temple.
During the Ming Dynasty Qingyanggong Taoist Temple was destroyed and later reconstructed under the reign of emperor Kangxi (early Qing Dynasty). The buildings are some typical examples of Ming and Qing style Taoist architecture. The two rams (the two immortals, hence “temple of the two immortals”) at the entrance of the “Hall of Goddess Doumu” are said to have mystical healing power.
Visit Chengdu: Wenshu Temple (Xinxiang Temple), Chengdu
The Wenshu Temple (Xinxiang Temple) is located north of the town not far from the railway station. It is the largest Buddhist Temple within Chengdu and is dedicated to the God of Wisdom. Wenshu Temple (Xinxiang Temple) was first built during the 7th century but none of the original structures are still standing. The present buildings all date back to the early 18th century (Qing Dynasty). The lovely park and the teahouses within the temple area are well worth a visit and should be part of a Chengdu City Tour.
Wuhou Temple (Wuhou Ci) in Chengdu, Sichuan
Wuhou Temple (Wuhou Ci) is located south-west of the city centre within a lovely garden. Wuhou Temple (Wuhou Ci) is dedicated to Zhuge Liang (181-234), a famous statesman, ideologist and military adviser to Liu Bei, the first emperor and founder of the Shu Kingdom during the 3 Kingdom Period (220-264). (Zhuge Liang is also known as Kong Ming). In modern China, Zhuge Liang is considered to be the most popular statesman and strategic general in Chinese history.
Most people learned of the historical achievements of Zhuge Liang through the many stories and plays written about him. From Sun Tzu's classic “The Art of War”, leadership is one of five major attributes that determine the strategic success of a nation. Due to Zhuge Liang’s emphasis on strategic leadership, Liu Bei's "Shu Han" state became one of the last three surviving kingdoms during that chronological period of the Three Kingdoms.
Du Fu’s Cottage (Dufu Caotang), Chengdu
Du Fu, a famous 8th century (late Tang Dynasty) poet, was born in Henan Province but lived and worked on the outskirts of Chengdu from 759 -765 A.C. After having fled from Henan during an upheaval, he settled down on the banks of the Jinjiang River.
Many of his most famous poems with titles like “Enjoying Flowers while walking alone on the riverbank” or “My cottage unroofed by autumn gales” were written during that time. His work is very diverse, but his most characteristic poems are autobiographical and historical, recording the effects of war on his own life and the people around him. Today the park features a replica of Du Fu’s Cottage, a temple dedicated to Du Fu, a Du Fu Museum and the excavation site of the “original” Du Fu Cottage. The 60 Yuan entrance fee is a little steep though, unless you are a real Du Fu Fan.