Mazar Tagh Mountain, Hotan
Red-and-White Mazar Tagh Mountain
"Jade City" was the name given by the camel drivers to Hotan, located on the Silk Road a thousand years ago. However, Hotan is famous not only for its jade. This is the city of silk and carpets, the city of skilled craftsmen and artisans. Even after a thousand years, its local carpets and jade still rank among the best in the world.
In addition, the city is a Chinese Mecca for researchers of penetration of Buddhism to China. There are many historical and natural attractions extant up to date: Museum of Culture, ruins of ancient cities next to the modern city, as well as the famous Hotan bazaar, though smaller than that of Kashgar, but here rather than elsewhere you can buy the best jade products of Xinjiang.
One of the most interesting attractions of Hotan is Mount Mazar Tagh (cemetery mountain), located near the city. The mountain is relatively small. It is rather a huge sand hill in the middle of the white sands of the Takla Makan Desert. This mountain is also called Red-and-White Mountain, because it is red from one side and is white from the other.
However, this mountain attracts thousands of tourists not only with its unique nature. Inside the mountain, there is a cave with ancient characters, having been written, for a couple of centuries, by hundreds of Buddhist monks and hermits, who were attaining enlightenment in solitude and silence of the cave.
Mountain Mazar Tagh has played an important role in the history of Taoism. It is believed that the legendary Lao Tse (Lao-Tzu), the founder of the Tao teachings came there to live at the end of his life. Though the validity of this fact is impossible to confirm with documents, thousands of followers of this religion come annually to Hotan to make a pilgrimage to the last shelter of Lao-Tse.