Several kilometers far from the Three Gorges Dam , located at the foot of the Yellow Cow Mountain at the south bank of the Yellow Cow Gorge in the Miaonan Broad Valley , there stands splendid ancient buildings with red walls and yellow titles , which was built in the earliest time in the Three Gorges --- the Huangling Temple ( the Temple of the Yellow Cow ) .
This temple is said to have been built during the Spring and Autumn period ( 770---476B.C.) to memorize a divine cow that had ever helped Yu to excavate the gorges . During the beginning period , the Huangling Temple was very magnificent . Then it was destroyed in several wars . After bring rebuilt several times , it was not as magnificent as before , but it is the largest scale of ancient buildings in the Three Gorges , of which , only the hall of Yu and the Wuhou Shrine rebuilt in 1618 , were preserved .
During the Three Kingdoms Zhuge Liang passed the temple , leading his troops on their way to Shu and saw it on the verge of collapse . He stopped , took charge of the renovation , and wrote the essay "Yellow Cow Temple Notes ', which was later inscribed on a stone tablet standing out of the hall now . One paragraph said : " From ancient times the legend has been passed down that a holy cow helped Yu gore the mountain to fight against flood . It took them nine years to finish the construction . I believe it was true .'' But Ouyang Xiu , a talented writer in Song Dynasty only believed that Yu dug up a mountain and did not believe in the story of the holy Yellow Cow. When he was head of Yiling Cuonty ( Yichang ) , he changed the Huangniu Temple into Huangling Temple .
Since ancient times , the temple has attracted many literary men because of its exquisite construction and attractive legends. The hall of King Da Yu is very splendid with zigzag arches and sticking-up eaves. Two big wooden plaques hang over the entrance to the hall . One bearing the inscription "Di Ding Jiang Nan (Pacifying the Turbulent Waves)"written by Empress Dowager Cixi (1835--1908)of the Qing Dynasty and the other one inscribed with four characters meaning " Illustrious Feat Remembered Through the Ages " written by a certain Hui Wang . Behind and in front of the temple , mountains and waters are unique and breathtaking . There is an old popular ballad : " In the morning you start from the bull place and in the evening you still stay in the bull place . Three days and nights you look the bull is the same". It expresses that the way of traveling is hard everywhere in this area. There are many steles with good hydrology records of the Three Gorges in the past . One of them was about a flood happened in the ninth year of Tongzhi Emperor in the Qing Dynasty . It says that the water rose to the level of the gold tablet inscribed board . This is the highest watermark in the Three Gorged ever since .
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