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Published: June 15th 2020
Standing on the edge of the sinkhole, looking down at the suspended towers, the fields, and the crops hundreds of meters below, you can’t help but wonder about when, where, and how these people got here and what their life may have been like thousands of years ago. It was that curiosity that drove me to explore further.
Sinkhole Village is next to The Lower Stone Courtyard Sinkhole. Locally the two sinkholes are called “The Sister Sinkholes”, but of the two of them, Sinkhole Village is larger. It has an opening diameter of 645 meters, making it the largest sinkhole in the world. Nowadays, Sinkhole Village has been fully developed into a well-known tourist attraction.
As you walk around the scenic overlook of the sinkhole, you can see its outline shaped like a heart, tilting toward the southeast. You’ll notice the cedar and oak forests growing on the sides as well. The slopes at the bottom of the opening are full of rambling farmland. The straw in the farmland is aged, and the overhang near the steep rock is well preserved.
The tour guide said that there were originally 50 aborigines in
the village. They lived there for generations, but were forced to leave because of the development of tourism.
I was trying my best to imagine the early life in the Sinkhole Village: birds, flowers, gardens, and crops. People farming, getting married, raising children, dancing, singing ancient folk songs and "shouting at mountains". All of a sudden came a shout: “Yo hey hey hey!! Yo hey!!”. Tourists were imitating the ancestral "shouting at mountains" call of the Tujia and Miao people. Having lived in the Sinkhole Village for generations, they always shouted to the mountains whenever they went hunting or leveling trees in order to ask the mountain gods for safety and happiness.
There was a bit of sanctity and respect in the imitation of the tourists. I wondered how they could express these feelings without living in the sinkhole themselves.
This reminded me that travel is very trendy in the world today. Then what’s the point of travel, why do we do it? First of all, it allows us to appreciate the unparalleled beauty of nature. Second, it lets us become familiar with human history and customs.
Sinkhole Village, after
being unknown for thousands of years, is now bringing a lot of amazement and happiness to those who experience it. This is due to both the dedication and the sacrifice of the local culture. I for one wish it had received this appreciation a lot sooner.
But whatever, the magnificent and mysterious fantasy of the Wulong Mountains is finally being given the recognition it so richly deserves. Here’s hoping more people will be able to discover all that the area has to offer in the future.
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