Dongting Lakeis located in northeastern Hunan Province.Dongting Lake is the second-largest freshwater lake in China.. It is also known as 'eight- hundred Li Dong Ting Lake' (The Li is a Chinese length unit equal to 500 meters or about 1,640 feet). An impressive characteristic of the lake is it is inter-nested. Depending on the season, concentric ridges of land appear in the lake in many areas. This is because the lake acts as a flood basin for the Yangtze River. The appearance of Dongting Lake changes throughout the different seasons, sometimes even during the same day. Many ancient Chinese poems and stories were written about the beauty of Dongting Lake. Dongting Lake is a large, shallow body of water surrounded by mountain chains.
Four streams including the Xiangjiang River, the Zishui River, the Yuanjiang River, and the Lishui River, all flow into Dongting Lake, and the lake is sometimes known as 'the holder of the four streams'. Because Dongting Lake acts as a tremendous natural reservoir or flood-basin, it plays an important role in adjusting the flow of the Yangtze River The Lake is sometimes known as 'the taker and sender of the Yangtze River'.
The climate of Dongting Lake is between middle and northern subtropical, so it is warm and humid, but there is also a 'draught window' from which cold air from the north sometimes enters. So in spring and summer, the temperature is variable, while in late summer and autumn, it's sunny and hot with a little rain. Occasionally in autumn, it's a little bit cold and windy. The area around the lake has tremendous agricultural production ability with a long history of development. Since the plain is graced with fertile soil, proper temperature and plentiful rain, Dongting Lake is also called 'a land flowing with milk and honey'.
◎ Junshan Island on Dongting Lake
The most famous scene in the lake is an island called Junshan, a lone, mountainous island on Dongting Lake. Junshan Island contains 72 peaks. There are ferries to take the passengers back and forth. The ferry ride takes about an hour, but plan to spend the whole day exploring the island. The original name of the Junshan Island was Dongting Island, which means the cavity for the immortals to live in. It is said that 4,000 years ago, after the emperor Shun went south to go on a tour of inspection, two of his concubines tried to find him but failed, and they began to cry while grasping bamboo. Their tears dropped onto the bamboo, and the bamboo became mottled from then on. After their death, people built a tomb for them, which is called 'two concubines' tomb'. To commemorate them, people changed the name of the island from Dongting Island to Junshan Island. The bamboo on the island is well known for its many varieties such as mottled bamboo, arhat bamboo, square bamboo, sincere bamboo, and purple bamboo. In addition, the island holds a large-scale dragon-boat festival, a lotus festival, and various sporting events on the water every year.
Dongting Lake attracts people from all over the world with its vast historical heritage, places of interest, and its convenient location. If you want to sail, go bird-watching, fish, or pick lotus flowers, Dongting Lake is a perfect place to go.