Nature’s Own Kaleidoscope: The Rainbow Mountains, China
Ever heard of the Rainbow Mountains? Sounds fancy right? Well in case you haven’t, we’re here to save the day. The Rainbow Mountains of China lies within the Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park. What makes them particularly special are the rare kaleidoscopic colours. Probably, the very reason people call them as the Rainbow Mountains. They are truly far-fetched but wait until you see them up close. Your eyes won’t stop flickering.
How Did They Come To Being?
Now the real question arises, “How?” As per the telegraph, variegated sand stones and minerals were forced together over 24 million years by tectonic plates near about 55 million years ago in the northwest of China. These tectonic movements eventually formed these prismatic mountains in the latter years. The wear and tear of the layers of rocks and exposure of these formations to different inorganic substances causes this resplendent alternation in colors.
Magnificent Color Formation
The principal color of these sandstones is dark red which is because of iron oxide coating. The yellow color however is the result of iron sulphide. And if you see a slight bit of green, that’s probably because of the presence of chlorite. These minerals when thrust together deposited this off rarity combination of hues and that’s how the famous Rainbow Mountains were formed.
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Fast Fact: This landscape was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2010.
When to visit the Rainbow mountains?
The best time to visit these rainbow ridges is from June to September when the weather is appealingly congenial and the sun adds a brilliant shine to the colored cliffs. The best hour to visit would be around dusk as the sunset defines each color differently and frankly, these lot looks quite exquisite. Local guides will assist you throughout your visit.
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Sunset timings: 7:30 pm in Spring – Autumn; 8:00 pm in Summers.
How to get there?
There are direct flights to Lanzhou from China’s prime cities. There are five flights from Lanzhou to Zhangye daily of one hour each. Plan your route beforehand to avoid any further complications. You can also travel by train which is approximately half the price of flights, but double the time. There are direct services to Zhangye (Beijing, 18 to 29 hours), (Xi’an, 11 to 20 hours), and (Chongqing, 24 to 29 hours).
Some Travel Tips
Despite of its looks, these hills get really cold at night as the temperature drops at pace. Carry a jacket or coat for the early mornings and evenings. Be sure to cover your face from the dry wind and sun protection is always advised. Always be equipped with water to stay hydrated at all times. Wearing a pair of shoes that doesn’t allow the sand to sink in is advisable.
Why Zhangye Danxia Landscape
These colorful ridges are a surreal painting by nature’s own pair of hands. People have named these landscapes as ‘The eye candy of Zhangye’ which completely makes sense as these hills give rainbow-like sweetness to your eyes. These artistic mountains and ridges will make you comprehend deeply at the miracles of nature.