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Elephant Trunk Hill


Regarding Elephant Truck Hill, there is a legend devoted to it. One day, the Taoism God Jade Emperor rode his elephant and wandered along Lijiang River merrily. Enchanted by the luring scenery of Guilin, this obedient creature found it is impossible to move a step further. When impatience succumbed to irritation, Jade Emperor took out a sword and pieced into the heart of the elephant. In no time, this elephant was reduced to a giant stone and the sword became the PuXian Pagoda atop. By now, this naughty elephant is still boozing along the crystal water of Lijiang River and his figure has become a landmark of Guilin printed on postal cards, local specialties products and numerous city guide books.


  Jade Emperor's Elephant is still boozing along Lijiang River


Elevated at 200m, Elephant Truck Hill rises 55m above water surface and measures 108m in length and 100m in width. The whole mountain covers 2471 acres and serves as an ideal platform to overlook Lijang River.

Between this elephant’s nose and leg harbors a cave named Shuiyue Cave (Water Moon Cave). Round in shape, this cave floats above water like a moon, hence its name. Because it faces east where sun rises above horizon, it is nicknamed as Sunrise Cave (Zhaoyang Cave). Together with Moon Cave of Chuanshan Mountain, they form the rare phenomenon named “Double Moons of Lijiang River”. Stretching 17m long and 9.5m wide, this 150m2 cave formed 120 thousand years ago is notable for its gorgeous reflections during full moon night. Since ancient time, Shuiyue Cave has been a popular haunt of Chinese scholars, and their fervent enthusiasm of this cave finally resulted in a famous debate on its name over 800 hundred years ago.

Impressed by the marvelous scene of moon in the sky, above the water and inside the cave highlighting each other’s beauty, one poet of Song dynasty (960-1279) chanted:

“Underneath the water harbors the shimmering moon,

above the water erects the Shuiyue Cave’s mighty dome,

the consistently flowing water melts with pure moonlight,

bringing out Elephant Truck Hill's spectacular sight.”


Peotic Shuiyue CaveMysterious Shuiyue Cave
Elephant Truck Hill bathed in moonlightShuiyue Cave, a gem embedded among Elephant Truck Hill

By now, Shuiyue Cave still houses over 50 pieces of stone inscriptions. Among them, the one measures 257cm long and 752 cm wide is the biggest one among Guilin’s over 2000 pieces of stone sculptures, and the author of this masterpiece spared no effort to criticize the Taiping Rebellion led by Hong Xiuquan during the mid 19th century. Today’s Yunfeng Temple, a museum devoted to Taiping Rebellion, once functioned as Hong Xiuquan’s headquarter in 1852, when Guilin fell prey to their merciless and ferocious attacks from cannons erected on Puxian Pagoda for 40 days . Besides, the most influential Buddhism master named Jian Zhen(688-763) who spent lifetime transmitting the advanced medicine and Buddhism to Japan, also left his footprints here.

Elephant Truck Hill is topped with Puxian Pagoda( Samantabhadra Bodhisattva Pagoda). Looking from afar, it looks like the handle of a sword, or an antique vase. It was built during the 14th century in honor of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, who is in charge of wisdom and morality according to Buddhism. This 13.6m high octagonal pagoda overlaps the myths and legends prevail among local people that Samantabhadra Bodhisattva usually rides a white elephant. Buddhists in south China and even Southeast Asia also believe that an elephant carrying a vase on its back symbolizes peace, prosperity and endless happiness. Thus, your visit to this auspicious hill will hopefully transcend a normal sightseeing experience, but a blessed pilgrimage with the blessing of an oriental Immortal.

At south and north side of Elephant Truck Hill sits the Elephant Eye Rock, which was formed earlier than Shuiyue Cave and served as an underground river initially. A winding stone path leads to this site. From its left eye, you can see the soaring Lijiang Hotel and downtown Guilin. From its right eye, you can see the glistening boats sail along the Pagado Hill and Chuanshan Hill. An hour is needed to tour around this site. So, enjoy it.

 Elephant Eye RockStone Inscriptions: Elephant Truck Hill's Shuiyue Cave
 Puxian Pagoda Stone inscriptures engraved within Shuiyue Cave


Travel Tips

Opening Hour: 8:30-16:40 ( Absolutechinatours Special Tips: it is free during night. With the whole mountain well-illuminated, the night view is fantastic.)
Admission Fee: 75RMB
Location: The intersection area of Peach Blossom River and Lijiang River. West Bank of Lijiang River, Downtown Guilin.
Bleak Season: December to March
Peak Season: April to November 5, 2012
Best Travel Period: April to October

Map of Elephant Truck Hill (click to enlarge)

A glimpse from Shuiyue Cave

 shuiyue-cave-elephant-truck-hill-guilin1 elephant-truck-hill2
 Shuiyue Cave houses over 50 pieces of stone inscriptures Elephant Truck Hill harbors the wine cellar of a very famous local white wine named Sanhua Wine

Author: Sophia  Posted on May 11, 2012
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