After a lot of back and forth at work on whether I would need to be in Chongqing Monday morning it was finally decided I would not. However the travel bug had set in so Ashley and I made good of our non-CPH3 weekend and went in search of a new piece of Sichuan.
Located on the Min River as it exits the Tibetan plateau and spreads across the Chengdu basin is the Dujiangyan Irrigation project. This third century irrigation project is credited for preventing floods and the fertility of the Chengdu basin. Li Bing, the chief architect, studied the river and discovered the summer snowmelt from the plateau in combination with silt build up were responsible for the annual floods that plagued farmers along the Min river.
To tame the river Li Bing constructed a levee and a new channel used to absorb and redirect the extra water simultaneously managing silt build up. By allowing the river to flow between the original riverbed and the new channel silt build up became manageable and did not restrict the flow of the river during the summer surge that caused the floods. Redirecting water towards the Chengdu basin also provided farmers with a reliable source of water allowing for agriculture to flourish.
Dujiangyan was a pretty easy day trip from Chengdu. There is a high-speed train from Chengdu’s north station that stops at Dujiangyan and Qingchengshan (RMB 15.00/ ticket on way). Foreigners traveling via the high-speed train are required to produce their passport when buying tickets as recent changes by the local government restrict the purchase of one ticket per passport.
The site itself was interesting but not an absolute must see. Fighting through the tour groups and the people going out of their way to swing the suspension detracted from our enjoyment. Outside the park there were some interesting old buildings and a mosque beyond 南桥 but these were being rebuilt because of damage caused by the 2008 earthquake.