Yangtze River, the biggest river in China, the third longest in the World,,originates the Tuotuo River at the Roof of the World -Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, takes in countless rivers, and flows eastward across the interior of China. With an overall length of more than 6,300 kilometers, the Yangtze River, next only to the Amazon and the Nile, is the third biggest river in the world and is a cradle that has bred the ancient civilization of the Chinese nation.
When the Yangtze River reaches the eastern Sichuan Basin in southwest China, it cuts through the Wushan Mountain. Here the river course suddenly narrows and the waters become turbulent. Sheer cliffs and steep mountains rise on either side, creating one of nature’s most fantastic sights. The Three Gorges—Qutang, Wu and Xiling start just after Fengjie and end near Yichang, stretch about 200 kilometers. The Gorges vary from 300 metres at their widest to less than 100 meters at their narrowest.
Qutang Gorge is the smallest and shortest Gorge, but grandest of the three. The Yangtze River is flowing forward here with great strength and vigor, but suddenly controlled here like “thousands of seas poured into one cup”, as the Song Dynasty poet SU Tungpo described the spectacle. High on the both bank, at a place called Bellows Gorge, are a series of crevices. This area is said to have been the home of an ancient tribe whose custom was to place their coffins in these crevices, some containing bronze swords, armour and other artifacts, these coffins are believed to date back as far as the Warring States Period (475bc—-221BC).
Wu Gorge extends 40 kilometers along which the river snakes between many strange-shaped mountain peaks, each of them has a charming legend. The story of” the 12 Peaks of Wushan” goes like this: 12 fairies once descended to enjoy themselves in the secular world. Finding how perilous Wushan Gorge was, they decided to stay there to protect ships. As time went by, they transformed themselves into 12 peaks. The Goddess Peak, the most graceful of the 12, is said to have been yaoji, the youngest daughter of the Queen mother of the Western Heaven . Goddess Peak stands out from the peaks on the northern bank to be the first to greet the morning sun and the last to bid farewell to the setting sun,hence it has another name,:Viewing the glow Peak. Seen at a distance, it resembles the silhouette of a beautiful young lady.
Down stream from the zigzagging Wu Gorge is Xiling Gorge which stretches 78 kilometers eastward and the cliffs on either side /can rise to over 900 meters. Xiling Gorge is awesome with its dangerous rapids, shoals, reefs, sharp turns, billowy whirlpools. The water at one point is so turbulent that it seems to be boiling during the flood season. Xiling Gorge in the east consists of several small gorges. On the crag of the north bank are two pieces of brown rock, which are named Bull’s Liver and Horse’ Lung after their shapes. Next is the Lantern Shadow Gorge, which has four rocks, resemble Monk Xuan Zang and his three disciples—Monkey, Piggy and Sandy in the chinese classic “Journey to the West” on their way to India to obtain Buddhist scriptures.
Around the last bend of Xiling Gorge stretches a vast plain. The river suddenly becomes wide here. Travelers on the Yangtze cruise may also visit many sites of historical and scenic interest along the river banks including the ruined of Baidi Town and Germstone Village.
Great changes have taken place in The Yangtze River’s Three Gorges since the well-known Three Gorges Dam Project was built . The flood in the Yangtze River valley has been controlled, navigation improved besides the economic benefits. Many cultural and historical relics are now being removed to a higher ground before the rise of the water level approaches.
The Yangtze River and its Three Gorges are benefitting the people on both sides of it and the the whole country.