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Dongting Lake

The Dongting Lake is the second largest freshwater lake in China, stretching between Hunan and Hubei provinces. Also known as the 800-hundred-li Dongting Lake, it connects the Yangtze River to the north and the Xiangjiang River, Zi River, Yuan River, and Feng River to the south. As described by the name Dongting (the abode of fairies and immortals), the lake has fascinating scenery, with the most famous feature of lake in lake, hill in lake.   

The Dongting Lake is also famous for historical scenic spots on the lakefront, including the Yueyang Pavilion, Junshan Mountain, Tomb of Du Fu, Wen Temple, and Longzhou Academy. At present, tourists can still enjoy five famous sights out of Eight Views of Xiaoxiang, namely the Autumn Moon on Dongting, Returned Sail from Faraway Riverside, Wile Gooses Settle on the Smooth Sand, Sunset Glow over Fishing Village, and Snow Curtain Hanging over the River Sky. Moreover, the Ten Shadows of Dongting Lake are also attractive sights, including Shadow of Sun, Shadow of Moon, Shadow of Cloud, Shadow of Snow, Shadow of Hill, Shadow of Tower, Shadow of Sail, Shadow of Fishing, Shadow of Gull, and Shadow of Wild Goose.     

The most famous mountain in the Dongting Lake is Junshan Mountain. It is an isolated island with 72 peaks, large or small. Junshan Mountain was originally called Dongting Mountain. Legend has it that Emperor Shun toured to the south 4,000 years ago. His two concubines, Ehuang and N
ying, could not catch up with him, and then they leaned on bamboos and cried bitterly. Their tears dropped on the bamboos and left stains. Those bamboos turned into mottled bamboos. After their death on the mountain, people of later generations built an Erfei Tomb (tomb of the two concubines) in memory of them. Since they were also known as Xiangfei or Xiangjun, the name of Dongting Mountain changed into Junshan Mountain. Now Junshan Mountain has several historical sites such as Erfei Tomb, Xiangfei Temple and Feilai Bell (a bell flying from afar), etc. It is also famous for its various kinds of bamboos, including mottled bamboo, Arhat bamboo, black bamboo, and Mao bamboo. Every year, various activities are held here, including the Dragon Boat Festival, the Lotus Festival, and other water sports.   

Reputed as a land flowing with milk and honey, the Dongting Lake abounds in top-grade products, including the Silver Needle Tea, the Pearl Rice, and rare food from river such as clam, mud eel, Dongting crab, and salangid. The Lotus Lake, embraced in the Dongting Lake, is famous for the well-known Xiang Lotus, one kind of rare lotus with plump seeds and crisp flesh.

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