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A scene directly from the book of fairytales is the Huanglong National Park which falls on the north-western part of Sichuan, China. Nestled in the southern part of the Minshan Mountains, this place seems unearthly with its blue pools, snowy mountains, waterfalls, hot springs, and an ecosystem which is filled with diversity.

The Huanglong is also home to a number of animals belonging to the endangered species, namely the Giant Panda, the Golden Snub nosed Monkey of Sinchuan, and so on, because of which it has also been named as the UNESCO Heritage site.

Golden snubbed nosed monkey and giant panda

The main attraction of the park is the 3.6 kilometres Huanglong valley and its landscape which is the result of years of geological changes and developments. As the area is surrounded by snow capped mountains, it has been prone to glacial changes which have created the terrane structure and a landscape called the travertine landscape.

The entire valley has layers of calcium carbonate deposits and also has blue pools made of limestone deposits which give the valley a feel of a golden dragon sliding through the green forests and snow peaks. It appears brighter when the sunshine falls on it glistening the dragon up. It is therefore that the valley is called the Huanglong Valley which means Yellow Dragon Valley.

Huanglong Yellow Dragon Cave - China
Huanglong Yellow Dragon Cave – China

This travertine scenery of China is by far its best. Inside the valley there are coloured ponds which are called Yingbins which are surrounded by a variety of trees, a plethora of colourful flowers, and birds and wildlife. Such is the clarity of the ponds that they give a clear reflection of the sky, mountains, and the neighbouring flora and fauna. The depositions of limestone and calcium carbonate add to them the colours which increase their beauty.

The mains attractions of the Huanglong valley include the waterfalls called Feipuliuhui, the cave Xishen, the Huanglong temple, and the ponds named Shitazhenhai and Zhuanhua to name some. Inside the cave there are three Buddha like statues with bodies covered in calc-sinter crystals.

The Muni valley of the Huanglong Scenic and Historic Interest Area also have the biggest calcified waterfalls of China, namely Erdao and Zhaga. The colour of the Erdao Lake which is formed from the water of the fall keeps changing its colours with the seasons.

The Zhaga waterfall covers an area of 5 kilometres which appears like flowing jade when sunlight falls on it. There is also a place where the fossils of ancient animals, plants, and fishes have been preserved and the place has been named as Guhuashi. There is also the magical spring named Feicui in the Huanglong Scenic Area whose water is known to have medicinal values which can cure illnesses like stomach sickness and arthritis.

Zhaga waterfall
Zhaga waterfall

The best time of visiting the Huanglong valley and historic interest area is known to be the months of May to August when the mornings are misty and the evenings are mostly rainy. There are a number of transportation facilities to reach the valley, namely Chengdu-Mianyang-Jiangyou-Pingwu-Jiuzhaigou-Huanglong or Chengdu-Dujiangyan-Wenchuan-Maoxian-Songpan-Huanglong to name some.

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