3. The Yangyuan Column
Yangyuan Hill means “the Hill of Male Sex”. It is so named because the stone column here, 28 meters tall and 7 meters in diameter, is the very image of man’s external genitals. According to geological studies, this stone column was a part of the cliff and it is over three hundred thousand years since Mother Nature severed if from the mountain body and carved it into this shape.
In the old days, men were regarded as superior to women and people often prayed for having more sons to carry on their family name; therefore this stone column was highly worshiped by pilgrims.
4. The Yinyuan Cliff
Yinyuan Cliff means “Stone Cliff of Female Sex” in English, because it is a strong resemblance of woman’s external genitals. It was formed some one hundred thousand years ago.
Just as God had sculptured the first man and his wife, Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden, so had nature carved a couple of stone husband and wife in the Danxia Mountain. What a wonderful world this is!
5. The Jinshi Cave
Jinshi Cave means the Colorful Rock Cave in English. The inside of tred lihis cave is a Buddhist monastery consisting of the Thousand Buddha Hall, the Guanyin Hall and Sakyamuni Hall etc. Among these halls, the Guanyin Hall for the Goddess of Mercy is the largest, 30 meters deep and 4 meters high with adequate space to accommodate a hundred pilgrims at the same time. In this hall there are many images of the Goddess of Mercy in her different incarnations, 32 in all, which are all made to be lifelike with different facial expressions.
In the Sakyamuni Hall there is a piece of rock that shapes like a dragon. It is called “Bian Se Long”, meaning color-changing dragon or chameleon, because its color changes with the season like a chameleon whose color changes according to its background. It is light green in spring, dark green in summer, yellowish green in autumn and brownish green in winter. Why is that? It is because on the surface of the rock is growing a kind of alga that is highly water-absorbing.
The alga is lush and green when water is adequate in rainy seasons while in dry seasons, when water is insufficient, it turns yellow or brown. On the cliff outside the cave, there are two big characters “jin yan”, meaning “colorful rock cave”. They were written by Zhao Rulai, a man of letters of the Southern Song Dynasty, and are the earliest engravings on cliffs in the Danxia Mountain.
6. The Biechuan Temple
It’s a Buddhist monastery called Biechuan Temple. Built in 1662, i.e. the first year in the reign of Emperor Kangxi of Qing Dynasty, it was frequented by a large number of pilgrims and is one of the three largest Buddhist monasteries in Northern Guangdong (the other two being the Famen Temple Ruyuan County and the Nanhua Temple in Qujiang County).
Up on the main gate of the temple, there are four Chinese characters: Bie Chuan Chan Si, meaning Biechuan Chan Buddhist Monastery. They are written by Li Hanhun, who was then chairman of Guangdong Provincial Government of the Republic of China. Going through the gate, we can see many engravings on the red cliff. Among them the two big Chinese characters Dan Xia, 5-6 square feet each, are the most beautiful. They are written by an official of Qing Dynasty.
The Biechuan Temple is constructed in more or less the same layout as other Buddhist monasteries. It consists of the Hall of the Heavenly Kings, the bell and drum towers, the Sakyamuni Hall and the Hall of the Goddess of Mercy and so on.