The West Hills stretch from north to south for 40 km. The rolling hills are at an elevation of 1,900 – 2,350 meters and are magnificent and grand.
The hills resemble a reclining girl lying along the shore of Dianchi Lake with her long hair flowing down into the lake. Therefore, the West Hills have the nickname of the "Sleeping Beauty Hills". The West Hills include excellent sceneries of rolling hills, luxuriously green forests, together with singing birds and blooming flowers. The major sites include Huating Temple (Huating Si), an ancient Buddhist temple; Taihua Temple (Taihua Si), a temple with charming courtyard; Sanqing Pavilion (Sanqing Ge), a Taoist temple; Nie Er's Graveyard; and Dragon Gate (Longmen) with a collection of Taoist caves and sculptures.
Dragon Gate is the steepest spot in the West Hills, but the view is spectacular. It seems to be a place hung on the cliff, and the winding stone stairs seem to be reaching the sky at the end. Beside Dragon Gate are some stone rooms of Ocean of Cloud (Yunhai), Stone Forest (Shilin), Colorful Cloud (Caiyun) Cave, Yunhua Cave and Sky Reaching (Datian) Pavilion, all of delicate sculptures and fine craftsmanship. The images of some deities are sculpted in the wall, all with vivid postures and carved from the rocky cliffs by hand. Standing on Dragon Gate and looking at the vast water of Dianchi Lake, you cannot but feel calm and inspired by the harmony in nature and the reverence for nature and the people who built the constructions here.
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