By Keen Zhang
China.org.cn correspondent reporting from Sichuan
For the time being, most of Sichuan's peaceful and fascinating natural and cultural tourist resorts are not presently available for public use. Yesterday a China.org.cn team of reporters drove to Dujiangyan, a place so celebrated for its ancient irrigation network that it was listed as a United Nation's World Heritage site in 2000. But they struggled down the cracked, damaged road only to discover a collapsed temple at the famous site.
Upon reaching the entrance of the Dujiangyan mountain scenery resort, a ranger asked us to move our car and park in a safer place since aftershocks could cause landslides.
"I was there when the earthquake hit," the man said, displaying a bruise on his left arm that he identified as the result of some panicking tourists clutching at him. "Everybody was screaming and crying," he added.
The ranger was several meters away from the entrance building, Qinyan Tower, when the quake struck. He began trying to help people leave but at least one tourist was badly injured when the tower came down during the nearly 30-second long earthquake shocks.
Dujiangyan resort contains many well-known cultural heritage buildings. For example, Erwang Temple, also known as the Temple of Two Kings, was built 2,000 years ago to honor Li Bing, the then Sichuan governor, and his son. It commemorates their outstanding efforts toward the construction of Dujiangyan, the world's oldest, still active irrigation scheme. The ranger told us that the temple didn't completely collapse as has been reported and rumored, but it did suffer great losses.
"Yet the statues of Li Bing and his son, and statue of the merciful Bodhisattva still firmly stand. So we're sure we can renovate everything in the future," he said, adding that a small aftershock in the morning caused some big rocks to slide down the slopes but nobody got hurt except the road. The ranger and his colleagues are still on 24-hour duty and the resort is still sealed off from outside world.
He assured the reporters that the ancient irrigation project was safe even though it's over 2,000 years old.