China is full of treasures. I had already shared with you the beautiful pictures of the cormorant fishermen of the Li River and the karst formations of Xinping as well as my walk in the ancient city of Pingyao where the walls and the one-story wooden houses are still preserved.
I also told you about my climb up the 60,000 steps to the top of Mount Emei Shan… To these exotic names, add now Juzhaigou (pronounced chiusaikou). This pearl of colors and unmissable Chinese nature reserve listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site is located in the Sichuan province, at the southern end of the Minshan Mountains.
It is located on a rugged karst plateau, the result of glaciations, earthquakes and land movements, which rises nearly 2000m and culminates at 4558m at the top of the Zechawq ravine where Mount Ganzigonggai is located. It is placed under the jurisdiction of the Tibetan and Qiang autonomous prefecture of Aba. This Tibetan influence is very present and dates back to the 7th century when a tribe settled there following Songtsen Gampo, one of the three religious kings of Tibet (the one who founded Lhasa and built the first Potala Palace), in his military campaign against China.
The region is known and renowned throughout the country for the beauty of its lakes and its majestic waterfalls. The park is also appreciated for its numerous endemic species, the richness of its flora and does not fail to delight the ornithologists because it includes more than 140 species of birds. But don’t ask me to name them, for my part, I didn’t see anything… Among the protected and endangered species we find the legendary giant panda, the golden monkey with camel nose as well as the Sichuan takin (emblematic animal of Bhutan) and which resembles the African gnu.
The local legend says that a goddess, who received a mirror as a proof of love, broke it into 118 pieces which were transformed into as many lakes. Of the 9 Tibetan villages which gave the name to this valley (ravine of the 9 villages), 6 are still inhabited and the population of 800 inhabitants is divided into 112 families. Since the implementation of the safeguard program and consequently the stop of the forestry and agriculture, this one lives only of the subsidies of the government and tourism and is in constant decline; the departure being done on the basis of the voluntary one. Nevertheless, expect a strong tourist presence because this 720 km² park is a bit like the local Yellostone… nevertheless, when you see its beauty, you quickly understand why. I reassure you, there are passages, which I will reveal to you below, where one feels alone in the world.
In Europe, we find this rich lake system in the national park of Plitvice in Croatia