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Meng Liang Stairway & Iron Lock Pass

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 Meng Liang Stairway
On the cliff of southern bank in Qutang Gorge, there are many square holes arranging into a "Z" shape from the bottom to the top of the cliff, which is called Mengliang Stairway by local people. According to archaeologists, the holes were the remains of plank roads of ancient times.

Closely next to the Mengliang Stairway, a stalactite resembling a monk hangs up-side-down on the cliff. On the upper part of the "monk", you can even see a belly button, where grows a bunch of grass.

There is story about the Mengliang Stairway and the "monk". It is said during the Northern Song Dynasty (960 - 1127), the famous general Yang Jiye was killed by villains and his body was rashly buried on the Baiyan Mountain. Meng Liang, a loyalty follower of General Yang, decided to steal General Yang's body back to his hometown. Every night, Meng Liang took a boat to Qutang Gorge, chiseled holes on cliffs, plugged iron rods into the holes, put wooden planks on as stairs, and left before dawn.

One night when Meng Liang went up to the waist of the cliff, he was discovered by an old monk in Baidi Temple on the other side of the Yangtze River. The old monk crowed like a rooster, arousing all roosters in Baidi City to crow. Heard of the crow, Meng Liang thought it was close to dawn, so he had to stop chiseling in order not to be found by others, but all his previous work went down the drain. Meng Liang was so angry at the old monk that he killed him and hung the monk up-side-down on the cliff.

The story of Meng Liang and the old monk is just a legend, because Yang Jiye was buried in Shuoxian County, Shanxi Province. However, the story expresses local people's respect to the general.

 Iron Lock Pass
The Iron Lock Pass was the pass set to stop ships from passing the Kui Gate in ancient times. Early in the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907), people fixed iron columns on rocks at one side of the river and chiseled holes on the cliff at the other side, and tied several iron chains in between to prevent the enemies' ships. During the Song Dynasty, a general named Xu Zongwu tied seven chains which were all more than 660 meters (729 yards) long to stop the Yuan invaders. Iron Lock Pass, also named Kui Pass, became the largest control to collect tax from the passing merchant ships during the Tang and Song Dynasties. In the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 - 1279), an official named Jia Sidao ordered to carve the notice of collecting tax from passing-by ships on the cliffside near the pass.

Due to the rise of water level, the iron columns and a Song-dynasty inscription would be submerged under water, so the local archaeologists moved them to a rock opposite Kui Gate. 

 Legend about Iron Lock Pass
About 4,000 years ago, when Great Yu (Da Yu) regulating floods, he came to the Iron Lock Pass (it might not be called a "pass" at that time), but he found floods were blocked by the mountains of Qutang from three sides. He drove the divine cow to smash the mountains, but nothing happened and only the cow's horn was jackknifed. Great Yu then chopped the mountain with the ghost's axe. The axe was broken but the mountain was still unscratched. Great Yu combined the ideas of stonemasons, woodcutters, hunters, and fishermen and finally decided to set a fire to blast away the mountain. The strong fire burnt up to the sky and, at last, the mountain was burst apart. Therefore, a passage appeared between Chijia Mountain and Baiyan Mountain, which is known as today's Kui Gate.

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