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backHunan

Hu’nan

Hunan lies in the central south of China and contains some of the most fertile land in the country. It is surrounded by mountains in the west, south and east and by the Yangtze River in the north. The mixture of mountains and water make the nature of the province very special. For thousands of years it has been an important center of agriculture, rice, tea and oranges. 
A number of prominent Communist leaders were born in the province, including Mao Zedong himself. Shaoshan, the home village of Mao, and Changsha where he was educated, have become popular destinations for tourists. 
But Hunan is also home to two of China’s most popular national parks – Wulingyuan and Zhangjiajie, famous for its unique sandstone pillars and the sub-tropical forest. And in addition, the province is -together with Sichuan- known for its especially spicy cuisine.


Zhangjiajie(Wulingyuan Scenic Area)

Listed as UNESCO's World Heritage Site in 1992, this scenic area is made up of three adjoining subtropical parklands, with quartzite sandstone peaks and pillars to rival Guilin's scenery. There are plentiful rare plants and insects, swarms of butterflies, a large cave with calcite deposits, and stunning views through bamboo, pine, and oak forest.
"A spectacular area stretching over more than 26,000 hectares in China's Hunan Province, the site is distinguished by more than 3,000 narrow sandstone pillars and peaks, many over 200 metres high. Between the peaks lie ravines and gorges with streams, pools and waterfalls, some 40 caves, as well as two large natural bridges. In addition to the striking beauty of its landscape, the region is also noted for the fact that it shelters a number of endangered plant and animal species." (Description from UNESCO's World Heritage List)


Phoenix Town (Fenghuang Cheng)

It is a township of mystery, elegance and primitive simplicity. The bridges over the water and unique houses built on stilts display a harmony that is so often portrayed in traditional Chinese paintings. Tuojiang River runs through the town. Typical high gabled wooden houses are built on stilts along its banks at close quarters. The majority of the residents are Tujia & Miao ethnic groups. Their lifestyle remains reasonably traditional. The old town is very pretty at night when all architecture by the river light up.


Huoluping Village

Further driving from the gradually touristy Phoenix Town, up and up the mountains with layers of rice terraces, there lies a miao village. Hidden behind the high mountains and valley, Huoluping is completely authentic. The Miao people's life is still unchanged. The local farmers' market is fascinating.


Nanyue Temple

Nanyue Temple is situated on the northern tip of Nanyue Township and at the southern foot of Chidi Peak. In a layout of nine rows, It is the largest and best-preserved ancient palatial architectural complex of south China. Magnificent and splendid with resplendent upturned eaves. Inside the east in parallel to eight Buddhist palaces on the west, It is indeed a wonder in the history of religion that Taoism. Buddhism and Confucian culture can co-exist within a single temple.
The exact time of the construction of Nanyue Temple is unknown. It existed asearly as in the Qin and Han Dynastis. Originally Located on the summit of Zhurong Peak, The temple was later moved to the mountain foot to facilitate the religious activities. The beginning of the Tang Dynasty witnessed the formal construction of the Heavenly Lord Huo's Temple' the 'Heavenly Master Temple'. So as to enshrine and worship the Gods of the five sacred mountains, During the Song Dynasty the immortal of the Hengshan Mountain was revered as the 'Heavenly Master Zhaosheng',as a result the temple was gradually expanded and enlarged. Since the Tang Dynasty Nanyue Temple had beed subject to six fires and 16reconstructions all through the Song. Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. In the 8th year of Emperor Guangxu's reign in the Qing Dynasty (1882 A.D), the Imperial Court ordered the rbuilding of Nanyue Temple. Which had been ruined by lightning, The project was imitative. Copying the styles of the Imperial Palace. And even to the present day it is still well preserved.

Fenced with red-brick walls. Nanyue Temple ccupies an area of some 70.000 square metres. From north to south lies in sequence nine rows and four courtyards-Lingxing Gate. Kuixing Tower. Chuan Gate. Pavilion of Imperial Study, Main Hall, Dwelling Palace and the Northern Rear Exit. The whole architecture complex stretches across on axis extending from south to north with its halls linked up together. The winding corridors and wing-rooms on both sides merge with each other. Accentuating the magnificence of the stature of the principal part. On the east side of the main temple there are eight Taoist palaces. Coordinating with eight Buddhist palaces on the west side.

Nanyue Temple occupies a prominent position in the history of ancient Chinese architecture. It carries the grandeur characterized by palaces in the North. And at the same time it smacks of the loveliness featured by gardens in the South. The architectural arrangement of the temple is clearly demarcated and gently modulated. Strongly indicating the ingenuity and originality of the craftsmen.