Goddess Peak in Wushan – The Most Renowned Peak in Three Gorges

Goddess Peak in Wushan

Goddess Peak, nestled at an elevation of 860 meters, graces the northwestern side of the Three Gorges Courtyard in Wushan County, Chongqing. Positioned along the northern bank of the Yangtze River within the Wuxia Gorge, its geographical coordinates fall between 109°33′ to 110°11′ east longitude and 30°45′ to 31°28′ north latitude. Approximately 22 kilometers west of Wushan County, the scenic wonder is 486 kilometers away from the main city of Chongqing and 170 kilometers east of Yichang in Hubei province.

Among the twelve peaks of Wushan, Goddess Peak stands out, resembling a poised young maiden when viewed from afar. Its ethereal presence overlooks the majestic Yangtze River. Throughout the years, the only glimpse one could catch of the Goddess was from a boat on the river, leaving observers with infinite contemplation and melancholy in that fleeting moment.

The fame of Goddess Peak spans through ancient and modern times, owing to three main reasons. Firstly, the mythical story of a rendezvous between King Xiang of Chu and the goddess is woven by the ancient Chinese poet, Song Yu, in his work “Shennü Fu.” Secondly, the legend of the goddess Yao Ji descending to help Yu the Great control the floods adds to the mystique. Thirdly, the fact that a stone on the side of the peak stands upright, resembling a young girl.

In Chinese mythology, Goddess Peak is considered the incarnation of Yao Ji, the youngest daughter of the Queen Mother of the West. Legend has it that she assisted Yu the Great in water control and, after the success, chose to stay in Wushan to ensure safe navigation, earning respect and reverence from later generations. On the opposite bank of the Goddess Peak, beneath the Feifeng Peak, there remains a surviving Book-Teaching Platform, believed to be the place where Yao Ji imparted knowledge to Yu the Great. The temple originally named Goddess Temple on the east and west sides of the county was later renamed Ningzhen Taoist Temple. Throughout the ages, poets and literati have flocked to Goddess Peak, inspired by its mystique to compose numerous poems and literary works.

The scenic area surrounding the peak spans 6,700 hectares, adorned with a concentrated expanse of vibrant red leaves. The area boasts 200 varieties of trees, with predominant species including Chinese sweet gum, Chinese pistache, maple, and Chinese catalpa. These deciduous trees thrive in places with sparse vegetation and thin soil, displaying resilience to cold and drought. As the temperature fluctuates significantly during the early morning and late evening, the leaves turn progressively redder in colder weather. In deep autumn, the vast mountains and gorges are blanketed in a sea of red, harmonizing with the emerald waters of the Wuxia Gorge, creating a breathtaking spectacle.

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