The floating ‘Hallelujah Mountains’ you saw on the movie Avatar has been inspired by a real place on Earth – China.
The Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in the Chinese province of Hunan features gigantic pillar like rocks, the kind you see throughout the movie. Only difference is they aren’t floating. They are the result of many years of erosion. The weather is moist year round, and as a result, the foliage is very dense. Much of the erosion which forms these pillars are the result of expanding ice in the winter and the plants which grow on them. These formations are a distinct hallmark of Chinese landscape, and can be found in many ancient Chinese paintings.
The film's director and production designers said that they drew inspiration for the floating rocks from mountains from around the world, including those in the Hunan province.
One of the park's quartz-sandstone pillars, the 3,544-foot Southern Sky Column, had been officially renamed "Avatar Hallelujah Mountain" in honor of the eponymous film in January 2010.