Leaving Chengdu by the western gate and driving through the picturesque West Sichuan Plain, you will come to Yulei Hill, sixty kilometers from Chengdu, which affords a panoramic view of the Dujiang Dam water conservancy project. The dam was constructed under the supervision of Li Bing, prefect of Shu, from 256 to 251 B.C. during the Warring States Period. It is famous not only for its antiquity but also for its scientific design. The turbulent waters of the Minjiang River become peaceful after passing through the project. The project used to bring some 110,000 hectares of farmland under irrigation, turning the West Sichuan Plain into a “land of abundance.” In recent times continuous irrigation constructions have enlarged the irrigated area to 530,000 hectares. The project consisted of three parts: the Fish Mouth, Flying Sand Dam, and the Bottle Neck. The Fish Mouth is a bifurcation causeway built in midstream to separate the water of the Minjiang River into inner and outer channels. Flying Sand Dam, built between the Fish Mouth and the Bottle Neck, controls the volume of water flowing, into the inner channel. The Bottle Neck is where main stream water from the Minjiang pours into the inner channel and its shape gave rise to the name.
Other historical sites connected with the Dujiang Dam project include Li Bing and Son Temple (Erwangmian), Subduing the Dragon Monastery (Fulongguan) and Calming the Waves Bridge (Anlanqiao). Li Bing and Son Temple at the foot of Yulei Hill contains a stone statue of Li Bing with a smiling face and natural posture. Calming the Waves Bridge is said to have been built by a married couple and is therefore also called Husband and Wife Bridge (Fuqiqiao). The 340-meter bridge was built with planks and iron chains. To stand on the swaying bridge and look down at the turbulent river requires much courage.