Avatar Secret Mountains Discovered: The Scenic world of Tianzi Mountains Can Leave You Mesmerized
Often surrounded by mist, the tower-like peaks of the Tianzi Mountains rise abruptly forming the tree-covered ground creating a mesmerizing landscape like no other. Tianzi Mountain Nature Reserve is one of the four scenic spots in Wulingyuan, the other being Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Suoxi Valley Nature Reserve and Yangjiajie Scenic Area).
Situated in the Zhangjiajie City of the Hunan province close to the Suoxi Valley in China, the Tianzi Mountain range covers an area of 21 sq. miles and 25 miles in length. More specifically the mountains are in the northwestern part of the Wulinyuan Scenic Area in Wulinyuan District, which is a part of the Zhangjiajie City. The main peak of the mountain rises at an incredible height 4,142 feet above sea level, the second-highest peak, by comparison, has a measly height of about 1,817 feet. The mountain range gives a stunning view of the peaks rising one after the other and is famously known as “The Monarch of the Peak Forest”.
The beautiful scene of the mountains attracts tourists round the globe in different seasons, consisting of four wonders: the Sea of Clouds, the Radiance of the Moonlight, Rays of Sunshine, and the Snow in winter.
Similar to the Suoxi Valley, sedimentary rocks formed the Tianzi Mountain some 318 million years ago and were eroded by water and wind, which turned the stones into quartz stones forming those amazing peaks, some quartz capping the mountains as thick as 1,970 feet.
The ancient sandstone peaks that one can view have been slowly carved out by water and wind, leaving behind weathered slender towers resembling skyscrapers. The continuous erosion created distinct, stratified layers that have developed various coloring and shape over the years of exposure to the elements. Meanwhile, the younger and the less eroded mountains dotting the rest of the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, thereby contributing to the unique varieties of mountain formations vividly found here.
The erosion took place at varying rates giving the Tianzi Mountain an irregular shape with uneven ledges jutting out from different places around the rock. Accumulation of soil along the jagged ledges of the towers helped in the growth of various types of flowers, trees, and shrubs. In turn, the vegetation also attracts wildlife, especially several species of birds making their homes in the trees.
The trees surround the mountain, although the mountain boasts more than this forest. The acidic rain and erosions helped in carving out and dissolving limestone at the base, making the lowest levels home to several caves.
Legends of Tianzi Mountain:
Tourists and explorers fill up their minds and believe with the legendary stories associated with a place. The legends state that the mane of the mountain came from a farmer, Xiang Dakun belonging from the Tujia tribe. He led a successful revolt of the farmers and elected to name himself Tianzi, the traditional name given to the Chinese emperors, meaning son of heaven.
Explorers love to visit the sites of the legendary story, stating the most impressive being: the Yu Bi Peaks, the Xi’an Nü San Hua, and the Shen Bing Ju Hui. Also Read: The Wave: Explore Arizona's Hidden Treasure Box Rippling Yet Frozen Sand Dunes
Covering with the pine trees on top, the Yu Bi (imperial bushes) Peaks rise straight to the sky. According to the legend, there are bushes used by Tianzi-Xiang Dakun, which transformed into stone peaks after his martyrdom. The Xi’an Nv San Hua (floral tributes by Fairies) located slightly opposite to the Yu Bi Peaks, which has another story about the Tianzi Dakun.
Legends state that Xiang Dakun, along with his army, was defeated and fell back to these mountains. He fought until the end, and after being defeated, he jumped off the cliffs. A girl fell in love with him and went across the mountain for searching for him.
On her way, she strewed some flowers over the cliffs and turned into a stone statue. Shen Bing Ju Hui is the name given to a forest of soldier-like peaks. One of these pillars was named “Southern Sky Column” stretching 3,544 feet into the air having a length of 78 school buses. In 2010, a strange turn of art imitating life imitating art, the name was changed to “Avatar Hallelujah Mountain” after the highest-grossing film, Avatar.
The film used photographs of the pinnacle as an inspiration for the floating Hallelujah Mountain of Pandora, making it a successful attempt to attract more tourists to the national park and using phrases: “Pandora is far, but Zhangjiajie is near” and “discover the real world of Pandora”. The prime threat posed by the mountains stems from the treacherous landscape and the incredible heights that can cause death to anyone falling from it, making safety a huge priority. However, there have not been any death reports from the site. Aside from the safety precaution, the mountain is a great site attracting more than 30 million tourists annually.
Head to Tianzi:
Zhangjiajie Central Bus Station located northwest of Zhangjiajie Railway Station has regular tourist buses to the Tianzi Mountains making the journey about 80-90 minutes. You will need a battery car ride for exploring the scenic area. If you are adventurous and been longing to explore the world of Pandora as in the blockbuster film Avatar, this is the place. A pillar of the site is the main theme of Avatar. Visit the place during the spring and fall, especially in April and October.
Pack your Bag and Explore the place with Friends & Family