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When I was traveling in China on a 15 day trip, one of my favorite sites was the Black Dragon Pool Park just north of Lijiang (also known as the Venice of the Orient) at the foot of Elephant Mountain in Yunnan province.  It is also called Yuquan Garden, or Jade Spring Park.  The park has over 430,000 square feet (40 hectares) of lush landscape.

My love of photography compelled me to select the cities and villages for my travel in China based on their beauty and unique venues.  Many people come to Lijiang to view Jade Dragon Snow Mountain across the lake in what has been described as one of the best viewpoints in China.This park was not on our original itinerary.  We happened to have a few extra hours before our flight to our next city, and our excellent guide from Imperial Tours was gracious enough to arrange for a visit for what became one of my favorite sites…..a dream for avid photography lovers.

Picturesque scenery surrounds a crystal clean spring pool within the park which is called Black Dragon Pool.  The spring sprays between the stones creating a pool or small lake.  The opportunities for exquisite shots were there at every turn and pathway. Whether photography is a high priority when traveling or not, I highly recommend adding this to your time in Lijiang.

I was very fortunate to be there at a time when Jade Dragon Snow Mountain was visible in its full glory.  The park offers a spectacular view of this mountain and is the region’s tallest mountain over 18,000 ft. elevation. Our guide told us that it is only clear enough to see about ten days a year.   The mountain makes for a beautiful backdrop for all the photos taken at the park.

The Longshen Temple is the impressive center-piece of the park.  It consists of a gate-house with two wings and a great hall. “Longshen” means Dragon God in Chinese, the God of Rain in Chinese mythology.  It was built in 1737 during the Qing Dynasty.

While there are many ancient buildings on the grounds, the marble bridges made for some beautiful photos. The pool is divided into two parts by one of these white marble bridges.  Even though the water is connected, the sides maintain different colors and the fish on either side refuse to swim to the opposite pool. On one side the color is a brilliant turquoise green. Standing on the white marble of the Five Arch Bridge, Wukong Qiao, it is possible to see several temples and pavilions. The cover of my book was taken at this incredible park.