Both Troop-avoiding Cave and Jade-belt Welkin refer to the same place. The two names mean two totally different existing states and living conditions which are like connected twin brothers and will take you back to the arms of nature. The Cave is located in Zhong Village on the west bank of Qudi River in Zhenxiong county, twenty kilometers to the south of the county. Qudi River, formerly called Juke River, is a branch of Wu River which comes from Oxcart Mountain of Hezhanggu in Guizhou Province, and runs from west to east and then south. The part near its source is called Liusha River, the downriver section is Hot Water River, and Qudi River is in the middle. On both sides of the river stand high hills covered with green trees and grass, and in the depth of the woods run clear springs. It is said that at the very beginning Liusha River ran past Looking-down Ridge north into Long Fossa; until one day, skillful writer Luoying, a Wiseman in the legends of north-east Yunnan, came here. He cleaved the peaks with axe, chopped the cliffs, inaugurated a channel long as several miles among ridges and peaks, and thus changed the course of the river. From then on, Liusha River poured south-east and snaked like a jade-belt round Troop-avoiding Cave on the cliff of the right bank to Seven-star Barrier. Because of this, Troop-avoiding Cave which was overlooking Qudi River gained another beautiful name, Jade-belt Welkin, and became a local attraction. There are two entrances for the Cave, one is upside and the other is downside. Entering by the upside one, you will see many standing walls inscribed with numerous anonymous poems which are obviously posthumous works of those avoiding troops and wars. Most of the poems are sad and gloomy, blaming everything and everyone, sighing for the broken family; while there are also quite several humorous and ironic poems which pretend to be broad-minded, self-mocking but self-praising.
Entering the Cave, walking along the right sidewall, there is a parallel corridor with a width of more than one Zhang (Chinese unit of length, ≈3.33 meters) and a height of several Zhangs, which is domed and hanging with stalactites. Walking tens of steps further, you will see two sidewalls with bright-colored veins which give the walls subtil shapes of dragons. Looking closely, the shapes become clearer and clearer, and in a trance, it looks as if the two stone dragons gained life, and wriggled and soared into empyrean with rosy clouds. Advancing till the other end of the corridor, the stone dragons turned their heads, with a round stone pearl right near their mouths, which the people call Two Dragons Playing with a Pearl. It is too mysterious that people always come to burn incense and hold a memorial ceremony for sacrifice, hoping that God of Dragon would give them a happy and long life. Stepping further, you will see clusters of stone buds and rugged stone bones. Looking as far as you can, you will see stalagmites, stelae, stone lions and stone tigers around you. Suddenly, you may feel dim light leaking in from some place. If you hold your breath and search carefully, you will find a hollow jumping out of clusters of stone buds and bones, which is only two rulers high and wide. Passing through it sideways, you will suddenly be enlightened by a vast cave. The floor of the cave is just like open fields crinkled with stone ridges which go vertically and horizontally and divide the fields into hundreds of thousands of farmlands. So it is used to be called Thousand Farmlands. Following the ridges, there are stone steps like sky ladders. Scramble up and there is another hall more than ten Zhangs long and several Zhangs wide. In the hall hang some stone curtains with delicate veins which make the hall magnificent. In the front of the hall stand a row of stone posts of different shapes. The post in the middle has a shape of Guanyin, a Chinese God, sitting straight and looking composed and sacred. Before the post is a block shaped like a censer with a natural concave upside and a round hole in it. People always burn incense in this “censer” and pray for Guanyin’s blessing. On both sides of Guanyin are two rows of posts standing like serving boys. Troop-avoiding Cave zigzags deep and remote, with caves in the caves and views in another view. Queer peaks and strange stones supplement each other and make a miraculous vision. There roars also underground river in the Cave which is bound to give you a different feeling. So Jade-belt Welkin will be a good choice if you really want to have a good time.
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Recommended time for tour: three hours
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