Xiling Gorge

Xiling Gorge,76 kilometers long, stretching from the Xiangxi stream to Nanjin Pass in Yichang, isthe longest part of the Three Gorges on the Yangtze River.

Xiling Gorge comprises seven small gorges and two of the fiercest rapids in the stretch of the Yangtze between Chongqing and Yichang. Its channel is full of shoals, whirling pools and submerged reefs, making the water run in different directions. There are many scenic spots alone this gorge.

The four-kilometer long Military Books and Precious Sword Gorge is the first spot at the western entrance of Xiling Gorge. The name of the gorge refers to a stratified layer of rock resembling a stack of books, and a perpendicular rock shaft below it, at a small cave on the north bank. Legend has it that Zhuge Liang, military adviser to the King of Shu in Three Kingdoms Period, became seriously ill while passing this way. He placed his valuable military treatises up here to safeguard them for later generations. Just opposite the gorge a large cleaved rock stands on the south side. Because fine sand, blown by river winds, piles up on this rock and then slowly sifts through a hole below, the gorge has another name, which is aptly called Rice Granary Gorge.

Ox Liver and Horse Lungs Gorge, situated on the north bank of the Yangtse, is five kilometers from Qingtan Shoal. This section of gorge was named after the yellow stalactite formations on the north side. One of the 'Horse's Lungs' is missing during the war battle.

Huangling Temple, formerly known as Yellow Ox Temple, sits on a piece of flat land on the southern bank of the Yellow Ox Gorge.Legend has it that Yu, the Great, when harnessing the raging waters in the Three Gorges, got help from a yellow ox, the incarnation of God of the Earth. People built a temple called Yellow Ox Temple to memorialize this event.

Nanjin Pass, located at the Xialao Stream on the northern bank of the entrance to the Xiling Gorge, is the dividing point of the middle reaches and the upper reaches of the Yangtze River. It is the east gate of the Three Gorges. A new statue of Zhang Fei beating a drum has been erected at Nanjin Pass.

Lantern Shadow Gorge is situated on the south bank of the Yantze River. There are many beautiful scenes along this gorge. The best-known is the Heavenly Pillar Peak, just opposite of Maya Mountain. Legend has it that one day the Monkey King arrived here. Knowing that he would soon become a god, he threw his golden cudgel into the river which grew into a peak, hence the name Heavenly Pillar Peak. The cliff of this mountain is so steep that it seems to have been cut by a knife.

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