"If you have time for but one
  province in China, Yunnan should
  be it.
"
           
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Volunteer in Kunming, Yunnan,
a city with year-round Spring weather. Trips to 26 cultures &
5 nearby countries.

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The Black Dragon Pool

The Black Dragon Pool is 12 KM (7.5 miles) north of Kunming City proper, at the foot of Wu Lao Feng (Five Senior Peak) of the Long Quan Shan (Dragon Fountain Mountain). Also known as the Long Quan Guan, or Dragon Fountain Taoist Temple, it was a famous Taoist Temple throughout history. It was believed to be the site of the Black Water Shrine during the Han Dynasty. It has long been praised as the Number One Ancient Shrine in the center of Yunnan Province.
 
People believe that the palace for the king of dragons in Yunnan province, the Black Dragon, was here and the water in the pool never dried up.  Hence the name Black Dragon Pool came about. Believed to be a deity who takes charge of rain and water in Taoism, from China's Tang Dynasty more than 800 years ago, the Dragon King was worshiped by folks in the Kunming area for timely rain for agricultural cultivation. Renovations made by subsequent dynasties to add more and more attractions to the Taoist building complex have made it become a good place for relaxation and recreation.  

The Black Dragon Pool is also known for its four most famous scenes; namely the Plum Flowers from the Tang Dynasty, the Cypress Tree from the Song Dynasty, the Camellia from the Ming Dynasty, and the Tomb of the Ming Dynasty. Together, they are nicknamed the “Four Rare Scenes”. 

There are two main buildings in the site--the upper and lower Taoist Temples. The lower temple is called “Hei Long Guan”, or Black Dragon Palace. Built in1454, it is a typical Taoist building with distinctive Taoism-like symbols, the Eight Diagrams, the picture of Triones, of those believed to be able to deter evil spirits. On the center pillar of the Dragon King Building are two dragons in black and yellow. 

Right before the Black Dragon Palace is the Black Dragon Pool. It's a double water pool separated by a stone bridge in the middle. To its left is the “Black Water Pool”, and to the right is the “White Water Pool”. In this way the pool is special, and though it indeed is just one pool, the color of the water is different on both sides of the bridge. It is like the Symbol of Tai Chi, with black and white color in one circle. Actually, the reason is that a spring comes out from the mouth of the fountain at the bottom of the “White Water Pool” and keeps the water clean, while mud mixed with rain after a heavy rain flows into the “Black Water Pool” and makes it muddy.

Not far away from the bridge is the Ming Tomb. It is the tomb of a faithful martyr, Xue Erwang from the later Ming Dynasty and earlier Qing Dynasty in a local regime in South Ming. Xue was a scholar loyal to his master, lord Yongli. Knowing the Manchurian armies would conquer his own country soon, which would make him a slave to them, he was so loyal to his lord that he and his whole family preferred to jump and drown in the pool rather than be a subject of the new king. 

There are plenty of plum flowers at the back side of the Black Dragon Pool. It is said during the Nanzhao and Tang Dynasty, almost 800 years ago, a monk by the name of Daoan planted two plum trees here.  While neither of those trees survived; the Tang plum tree in the garden was grafted from a part of those two trees. Seemingly old, it always blooms earliest in the garden with a pleasant fragrance around the time of the Chinese New Year. There are more than 6000 trees from 90 species.  Covering an area of 427 Mu (70 acres), the plum garden is one of the largest of its kind in China. It has become a popular place for spring outings, especially to appreciate the beautiful flowers.

Right beside the Tang Plum tree is the Cypress Tree from the Song Dynasty. As high as 28 meters (92 feet) it is the highest ancient tree in the Black Dragon Pool Area and is between 800 and 900 years old. Every year, as spring approaches and the winter season finishes, the camellia bush from the Ming Dynasty presents its best blossoms while other flowering trees are still in bud.  These three--the Tang plum tree, the Song Cypress Tree and the Ming camellia are collectively called “The Three Rare Vegetations of Black Water Shrine”

Located in the northeast of Kunming City, the Black Dragon Pool can be accessed by taking bus 128, 76, 79 or 9.

 

 

Impact Abroad provides International Volunteering & Community Service Opportunities
to people in the western world to help children in Yunnan, China

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