Remember the movie Avatar? You know, the movie that everyone was in awe with because the CGI was done so amazingly. Don’t remember? How about the fact that the main species on screen were blue? A few years ago I was lucky enough to visit Zhang Jia Jie in China. It is a national forest park in the Hunan area.
This area is famous for their vertical “mountains” that resemble pillars. These were made
by erosion or water over millions of years. So how does this relate to Avatar? The “Southern Sky Column”, one of many different displays of ‘column mountains’, has recently been renamed as “Avatar Hallelujah Mountain”. This is because the movie had used the scenery of this national park to create the floating mountains simulated in the movie.
We spent hours walking around and taking pictures of these so- called pillars, each of them named differently to what they once represented. One that I particularly remember are the three beautiful sisters, which were three pillars, with greenery on it. The shape of it appeared to have a face of three different women.
Around the area, a small village was built. The village was modeled to represent villages from long time ago in China. Women dressed in traditional Hunan clothing will try to lure you to take pictures with them for tips. It may be worth it because the clothing is bright and beautiful, so are the women. There were restaurants with chickens in small nests in the back. But the main feature of the village is big canal that took several boats on a tour back and forth around the village. We ate a traditional Hunan meal in this village before we headed back out of town to our hotel.
Unfortunately, and this may sound very weird, but the day was clear and the sun was bright. All the pictures that we took were just so clear that we couldn’t have gotten the mystical feeling of Avatar captured. Otherwise, this place is beautiful. Lots of walking but worth it.