Black Dragon Pool
Black Dragon Pool (Heilongtan), also known as the Dragon Fountain Temple (Longquanguan), is situated at the foot of Longquan Hill in the northern outskirts of Kunming, 17 kilometers from the downtown area. It was first built in 1394, the twenty-sixth year of the Hongwu Emperor’s reign in the Ming Dynasty.
The Black Dragon Pool was so named because of an ancient legend. A long time ago, there used to be ten violently destructive dragons caused serious injury to people. In order to save the people and create peaceful life, 'Lv Dongbin', one of the Eight Immortals of the Chinese legend, suppressed nine of the dragons and jailed them in a tower. The left youngest black dragon was restrained in the pool and is believed living in the Black Dragon Pool till today.
The Black Dragon Pool consists of two pools divided by a stone bridge. One is deep and clear while the other is shallow and muddy because of the different water sources. Although the water of these two parts meets each other, fish in one pool would never move to the other. Surrounded by towering old trees and bamboo groves, the pool has never got dry even in the years of drought.
Around the Black Dragon Pool there are two important building complexes; the lower one is Black Dragon Palace and the upper Longquan Temple (Dragon Fountain Temple). The Black Dragon Palace was built during the Ming Dynasty, around 700 years ago. Enshrined in the palace are the Dragon King, god and goddess of thunder, god of rain and god of wind. It consists of three halls and two courtyards, which served as the place where local officials came to pay tribute to the Black Dragon and ask for rain. Longquan Temple (Dragon Fountain Temple), which is hidden in the depth of ancient trees on the mountain top, is the largest Taoist temple in the south part of China. Built during the early Han Dynasty about 570 years ago, the temple is composed of Thunder Deity Hall, North Pole Hall, Sanqing Hall, Jade Emperor Hall and some other halls. It is a sacred Taoist center in Yunnan, and people come from far and wide to worship here.
Another highlight of the site is the three huge and ancient trees: the Tang Dynastic Plum, the Song Dynastic Cypress and the Ming Dynastic Camellia. The plum still blossoms and spreads its pleasant fragrance after about 1,200 years. The big cypress with a height of 25 meters has such a thick trunk that four or five adults can circle it with their arms stretched out. The camellia is a prodigious tree which blossoms every year and always precedes the other camellias.
Visitors will see many rare steles, tablets and plaques on the Pavilion of Stele. Among them, the most notable one should be the tablet sculptured with four Chinese characters - 'Wan Wu Zi Sheng' inscribed by Liu Yuanran who was a famous Taoist of the Ming Dynasty and had a vigorous handwriting. The four characters, written in one continuous stroke and look convex but feel concave to the touch, mean that all things in the world are propagating and developing, flourishing and animated.
Beside the Black Dragon Pool is the tomb of a scholar in Ming Dynasty named Xue Erwang and his whole family. After the Qing Dynasty overthrown the Ming Dynasty and ruled the Chinese mainland, many people killed themselves to show their loyalty to the Ming Dynasty, including Xue Erwang and his whole family.
If you visit here at the end of the year, you will have a chance to admire an ocean of plum flowers. The Dragon Fountain Plum Garden, with an area of over 28 hectares (69 acres), has about 87 varieties and more than 6,000 plums.