Breath-taking Natural Wonders: ‘Avatar’-style Tianzi Mountains in Zhangjiajie, China

Last updated on May 20, 2015

Posted on May 20, 2015

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This is the second post in the series of natural wonders where I would love to go with my wife.

This one is very interesting.  It comes right out of one of the most popular motion pictures of all times – Avatar.  Rather, the movie’s sets were inspired by these mountains!  Before we go to the the place, let us recap what I am referring to.  Remember these scenes and the mountains in there?

Avatar's Floating mountains
Avatar’s Floating mountains
The Floating Hallelujah mountains.
The Floating Hallelujah mountains.

Tianzi (or the “Son of Heaven”) Mountain Nature Reserve part of the Wulingyuan Scenic Area. It is the smallest of the three subsections in this area. Tianzi Mountain Nature Reserve is in the North-west of this area. Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in the South-west and Suoxi Valley Nature Reserve represents its eastern point. Tianzi Mountain Nature Reserve has the distinctive tower mountains or forests of stone towers. The area when engulfed in mist looks like it is in a “sea” of clouds.  The mountain reserve – Tianzi –  is named after a farmer named Xiang Dakun of the Tujia ethnic group.  He had led a successful local farmers’ revolt and called himself “tianzi” or Son of Heaven which is a traditional epithet of the Chinese emperor.

Lying on the border of Hunan, the main draw is the Wulingyuan Scenic Area, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1992 and is made up of the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, Suoxi Valley, Tianzishan mountain ranges and Baofeng Hu. Avid hikers and nature lovers flock to Zhangjiajie explore the mountains, caves and forests of the area, enjoying one of China’s most famed landscapes.  While Zhangjiajie is most known for its unusual sandstone pillars, its caves with their numerous stalactites, underground cataracts and rock formations are also impressive.

We can learn a lot about this area in this two part video travelogue.

Part 2 of the travelogue.  This part has a lot of information of the culture around in this area surrounding the mountains.

For more information on the place, please visit these sites – Chinatravel and Travelchinaguide.

Now let us check out the breath-taking pictures.

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Walking through the Tianzi Mountains
Walking through the Tianzi Mountains
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Walking through the Tianzi Mountains
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Walking through the Tianzi Mountains
Walking through the Tianzi Mountains
Walking through the Tianzi Mountains

Images courtesy: Bill Hertha, BH2, BH3, BH4, BH5, BH6, BH7 Xianyi Shen, zuki, Richard Janecki, Eric, zuki, zuki, kevin, sunriseOdyssey, kevin

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