Tuesday, May 31, 2011

ABC Wednesday: T is for Taroko Gorge

Taoroko Gorge is part of the Central Cross-island Highway and belong to the Taroko National Park.  It is the most scenic place in Taiwan.  On impulse, I made a day trip from Taipei to the park two weeks ago when Grace was on a trip to Paris.  The meaning of the Taroko is "magnificent and beautiful" in local tribal language.  Central Cross-island Highway was built in between 1956 to 1960 by the veterans of Communist-National conflict of China .  The 20 km of highway that goes through Taroko Gorage was the most difficult part of the whole construction project.  The road had to be carved into the marble cliff.  It was purely built by hands and dynamites with the lost of 212 life.  

The above picture was taken at Swallow Grotto.  The legend has when the road was built, there were a lot of swallow living on the cliff.  Most of them probably scared away by the dynamite.  From the picture you can see how tall is the gorge.  The black hole in middle on the left is the road.  Today most of the original roads are footpaths for the tourists, the major road is further inside in the mountain as tunnels of two-lane highway.

This is the Bridge of Kind Mother.  It is located at the junction of two rivers.  The legend has that a local tribesman was lost in the river during the road construction.  The mother who brought lunch for him everyday came to the same spot each day hoping for his return.  The little gazebo on top of rock, which is called Frog Rock, was built by Jiang-Kai Shek's son to remember his mother.  There is another gazebo built by Jiang-Kai Shek to remember his mother at the other side of the bridge.  This is not the original bridge, like most of the original bridges along the gorge, they have been often destroyed by flood water.

This is the most impressive part of the Taroko Gorge, Tunnel of Nine Turns.  During my trip to the gorge two weeks ago, I found that this area is no longer open to the public.  The entrance to the tunnel was littered with broken rocks.  A few years ago, a Chinese tourist was killed by the fallen rock.  I have to take out this photo from my previous travel to show you how impressive the gorge is.  The rock below the road was pure white as original color of the marble.  It has been washed by the flood water.  I surly do not want to be at that road spot when Typhoon hits Taiwan and the flood water in the mountain explodes.

At the narrowest part of the "Tunnel of Nine Turns", when we look up, we can see the sky through a space formed by the cliffs at the two sides of the gorge.  It is in a perfect shape of Taiwan.  It illustrates how narrow the gorge is at this area.

This is Eternal Spring Shrine located near the end of the gorge where it joins the Pacific ocean.  It was built in memory of the life lost during the construction of the highway.  The shrine looks different from what I remember when I visited the area as a college student.  Do not take lightly of the gentle spring water that coms out from the mountain.  The shrine has been destroyed many times and rebuilt many times due to the flood water.

To see more entries of ABC Wednesday clcik here.


Tina said...

Amazing pictures! LG Tina

richies said...

What a beautifully amazing place. Lovely photos!

An Arkies Musings

Sylvia K said...

What an awesome place and your photos are breathtaking! Incredible scenery and a perfect choice for the T Day! Have a great week!

ABC Team

EG Wow said...

WHOA! That is one very deep gorge...but beautiful!

Meryl Jaffe, PhD said...

OHHHH. One photo is more stunning than the next. Thank you for sharing. This is now way up on my list of places to visit.

Karen said...

Gorgeous scenery and photos.

Roger Owen Green said...

stunning, to be sure, and a little unnerving, if one were walking it.
ROG, ABC Wednesday team

Jane and Chris said...

Absolutely breathtaking. Isn't our world beautiful?
Jane x

Leslie: said...

INCREDIBLE! What amazing natural rock formation! You have some terrific photos here. Thanks for sharing and have a great week,

abcw team

photowannabe said...

What an amazing day trip you took. I marval at the construction that was done to make such a breathtaking road. The marble walls of the gorge are magnificient.

hocam said...

Taroko Gorge is aptly named and your photos are beautiful. I love the one of the shrine.

Tumblewords: said...

Astounding! Superb photos and lovely legends.

Reader Wil said...

Thanks for showing these photos and the stories that goes with them. I am impressed by your beautiful photos and by the patience of the people working on the roads. It's so amazing that people can make these roads, bridges and buildings in such a rocky, mountainous area!

Living In Williamsburg Virginia said...

What a stunning series of photos. The color of the structures is great against the landscape.

Darryl and Ruth : )

Shu said...

Good to see this beautiful place again.


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