Many people think that Tay Truc, the destination of the teachers and students of Tang Tang in their journey to ask for sutras, is located in present-day India, but that is not the case.
According to the novel Journey to the West by Ngo Thua An, in order to obtain the true scriptures, the teachers and students of Tang Tang had to cross a distance of 100,000 8 thousand miles from Dai Duong east to Tay Truc, experienced 81 tribulations, faced and Fight with all kinds of youkai.
According to researchers, Tay Truc is mentioned in the present Journey to the West in the territory of Pakistan, in ancient times belonging to the Maurya kingdom, one of the powerful forces in the Indian continent. One of its most famous emperors was Ashoka, a user of Buddhism and greatly credited with spreading and developing this religion in the region.
The small town called Taxila, located more than 30 km north of the Pakistani capital Islamabad, has many important Buddhist monuments dating back over 3,000 years. Taxila flourished under Ashoka the Great. In the first millennium, Taxila was not only a center of Buddhist studies but also became one of the three important centers of commerce, culture and scholarship of ancient India. In 1980, Taxila was recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage. There is now a museum that keeps and displays archaeological relics of a golden age of Buddhism.
In modern times, the famous Taxila place is the place where Tang Xuanzang – the Chinese high monk, the prototype of the character Tang Tang in the novel Journey to the West, came to study in the 7th century. He had to go through Xinjiang, Afghanistan, Nepal, India… He stayed in Taxila for decades until he returned to China with 600 sets of precious scriptures in Sanskrit. The magician Tang Xuanzang then spent nearly two more decades translating 74 of them into Chinese.
Where is Hoa Diem Son located?
Another famous place of Journey to the West is Hoa Diem Son. In the story, this whole flaming forest was formed by Ton Ngo Khong knocking down the bagua furnace of Thai Thuong Lao Quan after many days of being burned in this furnace, causing the fire to fall to the ceiling. When the four teachers and students went to ask for sutras here, they had to go through many hardships to borrow a fan from Brahmin to put out the fire.
In fact, Hoa Diem Son belongs to Thien Son mountain range, Xinjiang, China. It is located near the northern edge of the Taklamakan Desert and to the east of the city of Turpan, in the northern part of the ancient Silk Road. The mountain range is about 100 km long and 5-10 km wide. The east of Hoa Diem Son starts from Luu Sa Ha (in Journey to the West is the river that Sa Tang occupied before meeting Tang Tang and his brothers).
The average altitude of Hoa Diem Son is 500 m, some peaks are over 800 m. The climate here is very harsh, in the summer it is the hottest place in China, the temperature often reaches 50 degrees Celsius, the surface temperature sometimes reaches over 70 degrees Celsius.
Local people call Hoa Diem Son “Kiziltag”, which means “Red Mountain”. This is a barren and eroded red sandstone region. The unique, impressively shaped trenches of Hoa Diem Son are formed by the erosion of the red sandstone bedrock. At certain times of the day, these red grooves give the mountain range the appearance of burning.
Hoa Diem Son in reality The fire of Hoa Diem Son originates from spontaneous fires in coal mines here, under the influence of extremely dry climate and excessive surface temperature. During the Qing Dynasty, people discovered the existence of many coal mines in Xinjiang and the fire burned for more than 100 years, until 1983, the Chinese government began to put out the fire.
After 12 years of applying many measures based on the principle of oxygen isolation, China has extinguished more than 40 fire areas.
Currently, Hoa Diem Son is no longer burning fire but is already a famous tourist destination in Xinjiang. In 2011, the China Tourist Scenic Landscape Quality Assessment Committee approved it to become a 4A-level national tourist attraction.
The image of Tang Tang teachers and students in Hoa Diem Son scenic area. Hoa Diem Son tourist area is divided into two sightseeing areas: Underground and above ground, surrounded by carvings of scenes from Journey to the West.