Fragrance Stream (Xiangxi Stream)

Fragrance Stream, one of the tributaries of the Yangtze River, originates in the mountainous Shennongjia area in the northwest of Hubei Province. Meandering 37 kilometers (about 23 miles) southwards, the river finally joins the Yangtze River near Zigui County . The water of the stream is crystal clear with colorful cobble stones at the bottom. Green-covered ridges of peaks and cliffs surround and are reflected by, the stream, creating a tranquil and secluded picture.

Legend has it that the Yan Emperor (one ruler of primitive society and the finder of Chinese herbal medicine in ancient China) once washed herbal medicine at the headstream of the Fragrance Stream, thus the water carried the essence of all kinds of herbal medicine. More over, fragrant flowers blossom near the headstream, so the water carries fragrance aroma all the year round.

Fragrance Stream is renowned for its close relation with Wang Zhaojun who was one of the Four Beauties of ancient China. A very popular legend goes that once when Wang was washing in the river, her necklace fell into the river and thus the river began to flow with a fragrant aroma. That is how the name 'Fragrance Stream' came about. Another striking story is that peach-blossom jellyfish appear in the river when peach flowers are blooming each year. A legend has it that, at the touching scene of farewell when Wang left for the Hun Tribe, petals of the peach blossom became peach-blossom-like fish and followed her along the stream for miles.

In addition, at the headstream of the Fragrance Stream we find another natural wonder. It is said that the Yan Emperor once harvested and brewed the herbs that grow here, and so, because of these very select herbs, the water of the Fragrance Stream is of spiritual quality. The water flows past Zigui County which is the hometown of Qu Yuan , one of the greatest patriotic poets in China. 

Relics along the Fragrance Stream are quite rich such as the statue of Wang Zhaojun, Wang's residential house, and other relics in connection with Wang. Further downstream, Quyuan Temple in Zigui County is well worth a visit. Visitors could also watch the spectacle of the Dragon Boat Race in the Dragon Boat Festival every year (5, May Lunar Calendar).

Entrance Fee: CNY 30

Getting to the Fragrance Stream: Visitors can take a long-distance bus from Yichang to Xingshan County. The bus trip takes about 4 hours. In the Xingshan County, you can also visit the home town of Wang Zhaojun, Zhaojun Village, where historical site about Zhaojun wil also be found.

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