Guide to Du Fu’s Thatched Cottage Museum

When journeying into China’s Sichuan Province, the common stop for tourists is Chengdu, the provincial capital. Chengdu is primarily a stopover on the way to Tibet or Tibetan regions in the Northwest of the province. There are quite a few tourist sites in the city as well as throughout the province. With a history dating back approximately 3600 years, there is plenty to do in Chengdu. Primarily, there are some beautiful Buddhist and Taoist temples scattered among the expanse of the city.

One of the main attractions of Chengdu is Du Fu’s Thatched Cottage Museum-a relatively short, 10RMB bicycle taxi ride from Qing Yang Gong Taoist temple. It is possible to walk and stop along in the stores and markets, but it is a long trek on a hot day. In between the temple and museum is a large antiquities market-a traveler should go early if the market is a desired stop.

It is well worth the time and 60RMB to walk through Du Fu’s Thatched Cottage Museum. Even for someone who does not know the work of the Henan Province poet Du Fu or isn’t interested in poetry, this is a wonderful walk around the park. There are many tree-lined, winding trails through the immense park that lead to bridges, sculptures, rivers, lakes, pagodas, and other sites. Of particular note are the many sculptures of the poet himself in different styles throughout the grounds.

The main attraction is supposed to be the believed remains of the original thatched cottage, which was unearthed in 1991. It was there that Du Fu and his family dwelled during their exile of four years to flee the rebellion of An-Shi. This is also the area where Du Fu wrote 240 of his famous poems-quite a few of which are about the dwelling he built. There is a replica of the thatched cottage according to Du Fu’s poetic descriptions that was erected in 1997. It is a very simple hut with a few rooms and replicated furnishings. It was during the Northern Song Dynasty that a temple was established to commemorate the great poet.

If a visitor has knowledge of Chinese, there are many explanations of the grounds and other renowned poets who have lived in the area. It’s also a good idea to use the map that is included with the ticket as the grounds can be confusing to navigate. It takes a few hours to walk through the park and museum and will take longer if you have difficulty finding the exits. During hotter weather, the grounds are well shaded from the sun, but there is still significant humidity. It is advisable to bring mosquito repellent as the ponds and creeks are breeding grounds for the pests.

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