The gorge, 55 kilometers north to Lijing, is between two snow mountains, Yulong and Haba, incised by Jinshajiang River. There is a legend that tigers ever jumped the gorge via some huge stones that stand in the middle of the river. Thus, the gorge is called Tiger Leaping Gorge.
In the gorge area, a legend has gone round for a long time about the formation of Tiger Leaping Gorge.
Jinsha River, Nu River, Lanchang River, Yulong snow mountain andt Haba snow mountain were five sisters and brothers. When the sisters grown up, they went out together for their right men. On hearing the news, the parents were angry and anxious and asked Yulong and Haba to chase them. Yulong with thirteen swords and Haba with twelve bows dashed to Lijing by a short cut, sitting face to face to await their sisters. Yulong and Haba made a promise that one who let the sisters go would be killed by cutting down the head.
Tiger Leaping Gorge
It was turn to Haba. When Yulong just fell asleep, sister Jinsha came. But the road was blocked by her brothers. Thinking of that Haba was apt to fall asleep, the wise lady was singing when walking to them. Jinsha sang continually eighteen songs. The wonderful melody made Haba feel sleepy and fell asleep soon. Jinsha took advantage the opportunity to dash through the way kept by her brothers, laughing loudly. Yulong woke up. He was very sad and angry. Why he's angry is because his sister had gone away. The reason why Yulong was sad is because he had to cut down his brother's head according to the promise they made before. At last, Yulong pulled out one sword and cut down Haba's head. Yulong turned back, crying sadly with two lines of tears falling down. Two lines of tears became the black water and the white water. Haba's twelve bows became twenty -four sinuses and the head became the stones which stand in the river till now.
Today, people are moved by the myth story for its rich imagination. Now, people know the truth of the gorge is totally different from the myth. About two billion years ago, the drainage area of Jinsha River were experiencing lots of geological changes, including rise of the earth crust, rupture, earthquake, mounts slide, etc. the strong rise of Yulong snow mountain and the strong sinkage of Jinsha River brings on the great Tiger Leaping Gorge.
Tiger Leaping Gorge is from Qiaotou village, Zhongdian, to Daju, Lijiang. It is twenty-kilometer long and falls two hundred and ten meters. The gorge consists of upper gorge, middle gorge and lower gorge, including eighteen dangerous shoals. The river altitude is from a thousand five hundred meters to a thousand eight hundred meters. However, the mounts nearby are more five thousand meters. It is called the first gorge of Yangtze River.
When Jinsha River comes to the first sinus of Yangtze River, surface of the river is above150meters to 300 meters in breath, and the currents become smooth. The boat which is about 300 dun can go through the place where is 35 kilometers away from either end of bridge while the place where is 6 kilometers from either side of bridge to the mouth of the Tiger Leaping Gorge, the surface of Jinsha River shrinks to 30 meters because the Jinsha River is squeezed by two snow mountains. It is a place that sheer cliff flank the gorge, the swiftly rashing river seeks a way out, its rolling waves roaring like thunder, spray flying in all directions. It becomes the scenic spot of the Tiger Leaping River that is the most worth visiting---a soul stirring, breathtaking scene.
The main scenic spot of the Middle Tiger Leaping Gorge is a shoal called Baby's Breath, 5 kilometers from the Upper Tiger Leaping Gorge. It is called Baby's Breath just because there are a lot of rocks underwater just as stars are shinning in the sky.
The Tiger Leaping Gorge is dangerous and unconvenient for shipping, however, it has a soul-stirring scenery that attracts many explorers. At 1930s, Rock, a famous American anthropologist, traveled to the Tiger Leaping Gorge three times and took photos from sky by a rented plane and abstained a lot of useful recourses. From then on, the Tiger Leaping Gorge is famous all over the world.
The Tiger Leaping Gorge is not only the marvelous natural scenic spot, but also a vast treasury of energy. The Tiger Leaping Gorge may be built as the first highest dam in Asia, according to the geological survey by specialists, and becomes the leading hydropower station and a regulating reservoir of the big system of irrigation dams of the Jinsha River. In order to exploit the water energy of the Tiger Leaping Gorge, Zhangchong, the former vice governor of Yunnan Province, made an on-the-scene investigation eight times. When he passed away, his family members scattered his ashes over the gorge in obedience to the will from him.
Meanwhile, the Tiger Leaping Gorge is also one of the cradles of the ancient Lijiang culture. The caves of different types, big or small, located at one side of the Yulong snow mountain, are the natural houses of the ancient people and some inscriptions can be found on the cliff of the caves. It becomes a new scenic spot of the Tiger Leaping Gorge.
The Tiger Leaping Gorge is a good place for exploration and traveling. Now, there are two tourism routes:
1, Enter into the up mouth of the gorge from Lijiang old city to the Tiger Leaping Gorge Township via Lashihai, it takes two days to visit all the scenic spots on foot;
2,From Ganhaizi, where is on the eastern part of the Yulong snow mountain to the lower gorge.
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