Back to Dunhuang

The "Southern" Gate

What tradition and the Tun Huang Lu describes as the "Southern" Gate is in fact located approximately due East from the Mogao oasis.  This photograph shows it in the distance across the dunes, on the right of the ridge of hills.  To the left on the ridge is a small stupa.   Access to the Gate is via a trail that begins in a gulley off to the left.    The Gate commands a fine view of the Mogao oasis, against the backdrop of the Ming-Sha dunes, with the main Dunhuang oasis off to the right.  The portion of the Mogao caves with the giant Buddha of cave 96, concealed behind its pagoda, can be seen directly through the gate.  The Gate in the picture seems to be of recent construction.

The trail continues past the Southern Gate and drops down into a nearly flat, dry river bed.  following it to the north quickly brings one to an impassible gorge where at one time there must have been a major waterfall.  Following the trail to the south leads in about another hour of hiking to the monastery at the Guan-yin Well.

© 1999 Daniel C. Waugh