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Heilongtan (Black Dragon Pool)

Heilongtan (Black Dragon Pool) is a famous Taoist center in the Wulao Peaks of the Longquan Mountains to the north of Kunming. It is so named because legend says that there was a black dragon living in the pool.

Black Dragon Palace has three courtyards which served as the place where local officials came to pay tribute to the Black Dragon and ask for rain. Other famous relics are the ancestral hall of the Han Dynasty, the plum tree of the Tang Dynasty, the cypress of the Song Dynasty and the camellia of the Ming Dynasty.

Heilongtan is actually composed of two pools, one deep and clear, the other shallow and muddy. The water in the clear pool comes from underground, and looks dark as the pool is very deep. Where the two pools join is a bridge. Although the water of both pools meet here, fish in one pool would never move to the other.

The Longquan Taoist Temple, also named Zijixuandu, is hidden in the depth of the woods on the mountain top. It is a sacred Taoist center in Yunnan, and people come from far and wide to worship here. It consists of three halls, the Beiji, Yuhuang and Sanqing. The halls and mansions are well preserved. With Tang Dynasty plum tree, Song Dynasty cypress, and a camellia tree of the Ming Dynasty, it is one of the finest examples of temples in Yunnan.

The two plum trees from the Tang Dynasty are red and double petalled. It is said they were planted by the monk Dao 'an from the Longquan Mountains in the Kaiyuan and Tianbao periods (713-756)during the Tang Dynasty. The main trunk of the plum trees withered in 1923.But after more than a thousand years, through wind, rain, snow and frost, the trees still blossom and spread their pleasant fragrance. Besides the plum trees are two cypresses planted during the Song Dynasty. They stand in front of the Zushi Hall and the Yuhuang Hall, tall and green, like giant umbrellas. The larger requires five adults to join hands to encircle its trunk. It is said it was planted during the Song Dynasty(960-1279),and has lived for about 1,000 years. A carved stone tablet stands beside the cypresses. It is one of the most valuable antiques at the Taoist temple.

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