About us Information about China | Learn Chinese in Dengfeng

Your best travel guide in China

Major scenic spots in Yunnan 

Kunming  
Dali
Religions in Yunnan
Lijiang
Deqen
Xishuangbanna
Dehong
Chuxiong   
   

Sightseeing in Yunnan 

Kunming City --- "Four Seasons of Spring City"

Kunming, which is situated in central Yunnan and north of the Dianchi Basin, is skirted on three sides by mountains, with one side opening onto the Dianchi Lake. The city is nicknamed "City of Spring" due to the fact that it is covered all the year round with the rich verdure of trees and plants. Endowed with a pleasant climate, the city's 15,000 square kilometres of land is adorned with more than 400 kinds of flowers.

Kunming is world-famous for its abundance of camellias, orchids, azaleas and Primula malacoides , which can be found in the Kunming Botanical Garden, where 4,000 varieties of tropical and subtropical plants grow profusely.  Kunming is also a renowned historical and cultural city in southwest China.

In ancient times it was an important gateway to the celebrated Silk Road which conducted to Tibet, Sichuan, Myanmar and India.     The city's highland scenery is alluring, its karst landform is bewitching. Its people are known for their varied and exotic habits and customs, and its land is pockmarked with historical artifacts, places of cultural interest, and gardens landscaped with a picturesque taste. Among the major scenic spots of Kunming are the Dianchi Lake, the Cuihu Lake, the Village of Ethnic Culture, the Jindian (Golden Temple) Park, the Western Mountain Forest Reserve, the Stone Forest, the Jiuxiang Scenic Belt, the Yuantong Mountain, the Grand View Pavilion, and the Qiongzhu Temple.

         I.            Stone Forest : ( A national grade scenic and tourist spot )

       II.            Jindian ( Golden Temple ) Park

      III.            Yunnan Ethnic Villages

    IV.            Western Mountains Forest Reserve

      V.            Qiongzhu Si ( Bamboo Temple )

    VI.            Dianchi Lake & Daguan Park   

I. Stone Forest : ( A national grade scenic and tourist spot )

Located in Lunan County, The Stone Forest is known as the " First Wonder of the World " for its natural landscape. It is 86 km southeast of Kunming where a high - grade road extends to the park entrance.
" If you have visited Kunming without seeing the stone forest, you have wasted your time " warns a local saying, expressing the deep love of the local people toward this natural wonder. The quintessential karst landscape leaves every tourist lost in wonder.
As you wander though the Stone Forest, you will be surrounded by the rising stone peaks, layer after layer of green hills, and the wide -spread stone peaks of the forest. What a strange stone world this is! The scenery of " Figure of Ashima ", " Shi Ba Xiang Song " ( originated from a Chinese love story " Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai " ) and " Lotus peak " greatly astonish visitors; the scenic spots " One Piece of Thread Sky " , " Close Call ", and " Sword Peak Pond " are all miraculous. You will be astonished by the unique peaks and strange caves, by the Flying-Down Mountain Spring, and by Plateau lake. All these wonders combine to present you with a picture of astounding natural beauty.
In addition, to the parks natural beauty there are also a number of other cultural attractions which will greatly enhance the enjoyment of the trip as well as increasing your knowledge of the regions rich heritage. Some of the main attractions include: the colorful ethnic cultures and ancient folklore of the Stone Forest, the amazing legends of " Ashima ", the " Torchlight Festival " of the Sani people on June 24 of each year, and of course the warm and spirited Yi nationality dance " Axi Dance Under Moonlight "

II. Jindian ( Golden Temple ) Park :

The park, covering more than 2,000 mu and located on the Mingfeng Mountain seven kilometers Northeast of Kunming, is a national forest reserve.
The park features breathtaking natural scenery interspersed with sites of historical interest and man-made gardens. The park is frequented by Kunming residents as a beautiful getaway and will also be the site of the ' 99 International Horticultural Exposition.
On Mingfeng Mountain stands the exquisite and serene Golden Temple. 6.7 metres tall and 7.8 metres wide, the temple was cast from 250 tons of solid bronze. It is the largest bronze hall in China.

III. Yunnan Ethnic Villages :

Yunnan Ethnic Villages, situated six kilometers south of Kunming, is a 2,000 mu theme park situated on the south shore of Dianchi Lake and to the west of the famous Western Mountains Scenic Area.
The famous historical and cultural city of Kunming is located to the north of the villages. Each of the 26 recognized ethnic minorities of Yunnan will have a village built on the premises. There will also be a commemorative square built which will symbolize the unity between the ethnic groups, a theatre for the performance of ethnic songs and dances, a folklore museum, and a museum of ethnic waxworks. When completed, the Yunnan Ethnic Villages will serve to represent Yunnan as a culturally rich and ethnically diverse province. The park will also feature an immense garden in the tradition of ancient Chinese horticultural and landscaping.
Haigeng Park, a National Sport Training Base, is only two kilomeyers away from the Minority Nationalities Park.

IV. Western Mountains Forest Reserve :

The forest reserve on the West Bank of the Dianchi Lake consists of the Huating, Taihua and Luohan mountains, which together extend for more than 40 kilometers at an average altitude of 2,500 meters above sea level. This is a colossal natural forest reserve in the midst of a lofty mountain range crisscrossed by babbling brooks and gurgling streams. Ancient trees are adorned with thick, lush foliage and birds chirp and flutter in the green treetops.
Viewed from the Southeast corner of Kunming, the entire forest reserve looks like a beautiful maiden reclining leisurely by Dianchi Lake, her long hair drifting in the placid water. Hence the nickname of the Western Mountains Forest Reserve, " Sleeping Beauty".
Special tourist buses near the Dianchi Cinema and the Fine Arts Opera House can provide you with convenient transportation to the top of the hills.

V. Qiongzhu Si ( Bamboo Temple ) :

This Tang Dynasty temple is twelve Km Northwest of the city. The current structure is not that old, however, because after burning down in the 15th century it had to be rebuilt in a major renovation stretching between 1833 and 1850. During this process approximately 500 life-size sculptures of Buddhist Arhats were cast and painted.

VI. Dianchi Lake & Daguan Park :

The Dianchi Lake, 370 square kilometers in area, 44 meters deep, and 1,885 meters in elevation, is the eighth largest lake in China and the largest in Yunnan Province. Because of its exceptional charms the lake is nicknamed " Sparkling Pearl Imbedded in a Highland ". Its shores are dotted with scenes of rich scenic beauty and areas of historical significance.
Sailing on the lake proves a most enchanting experience with the boat swaying gently on a vast surface of liquid silver. At night, the moon casts a hazy glow over the lake, and the silence of the scene is broken only by the gentle sigh of a refreshing breeze.
Known for having the longest antithetical couplet in China, the Grand View Park, also called Daguan Park, is found within walking distance from the Western Hills. It shares Dianchi Lake with the Western Hills, which are on the opposite shore. The total area, including both water and land, is approximate 60 Ha.

Sightseeing in Dali-- " Nanzhao Kingdom "

        Dali Bai Nationality Autonomous Prefecture has one city and 11 counties within its jurisdiction. Its prefectural capital is Dali City ( including Xiaguan city and Dali ancient city ). There are four scenic areas in the Dali region, including the Cangshan Mountains, Erhai Lake, Butterfly Spring and other historic relics ( in Dali City ), Jizu Mountain ( in Bingchuan County ), Shibao Mountain ( in Jianchuan County ) and Weibao Mountain ( in Weishan County ). Among those areas, Dali City attracts the largest numbers of Chinese and foreign visitors. Dali Ancient City is widely acknowledged as "Backpackers' Paradise" in China. Foreign visitors like to stay in Dali ancient city. Some of them live there for months or even years, to observe and study the fascinating culture of Bai nationality. In the so - called " Yangren Street (foreigner's street) " in the heart of ancient city where is always full of foreign visitors, there are several dozens of cafes, western style restaurants, and clothes shops offering services to foreign guests. And it seems that everyone of local Dali Bai peope in the Yangren Street is a multilinguist!

Dali is a famous national historic relic city and a national key scenic spot area. There, visitors can enjoy many historic relics, beautiful natural scenery and colorful nationality customs. Historic relics include the Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Temple which are the symbol of the ancient culture of Dali, the ruins of Tianhe  City ( once the capital of the Nanzhao Kingdom ), the Dehua Stele, the ruins of Yangjuhu City ( once the capital of Dali Kingdom and later the new capital of Nanzhao Kingdom ), the Stele commemorating the conquest of the first emperor of the Yuan Dynasty over Yunnan and the Gantong Temple. Scenic spots include the beautiful Erhai Lake, the expansive and lofty Cangshan Mountains, and the charming Butterfly Spring. The newly - developed " jade belt tour " in Cangshan Mountains extends over 20 kilometers. The " March Fair " , held on every March 15 of the lunar calendar, the " Raoshanlin " ( a kind of Bai dance ) , held on every April 23 of the lunar calendar and the " Butterfly Meeting " , held on every April 15 of the lunar calendar are rare opportunities for visitors to experience the customs of Bai people.

With natural picture - like veins, marble of the Cangshan Mountains is of the best quality among all marbles in the world and therefore makes the ideal souvenir.

Dali is 370 kilometers from Kunming. To get there, visitors can find day or night coaches at any big bus station in Kunming or just take a flight from kunming. The travel agencies in Kunming also arrange " two nights and one day tour from Kunming to Dali " service. 

         I.            Ancient Town of Dali

       II.            Triple Pagodas

      III.            Butterfly Spring

    IV.            Cangshan Mountain

      V.            Erhai Lake

    VI.            Jizu Hills of Binchuan

   VII.            Shibao ( Stone treasure ) Hills of Jianchuan

 VIII.            The Third Month Fair in Dali of the Nationality

I.  Dali Old Town  :

The Ancient Town of Dali, nestled in the arms of the enormous Cangshan Mountain, and surrounded by a wall eight meters high and 3.5 kilometers in circumference, the 600-year-old city of Dali was first built in 1683, in the 15th year of the Hongwu reign during the Ming Dynasty. Featuring stone walls, grey-tiled roofs, doors and windows carved with dragon and phoenix patterns, and gardens of varying sizes, the dwellings of Dali have an air of classic sanctity. The entire city is covered by a maze of streams, fed by runoffs from the Cangshan Mountain. Hence the saying, " The gurgling of water can be heard in every house, and flowers are planted everywhere". It is also the staring point of the Mild Seven Outdoor Quest, which has been held here in both 1998 and 1999.

There are daily tourist buses leaving from Kunming to Dali sometime around 8 to 9 am. The bus takes about 7 hours each way and costs CNY 100. Train and flights are also available. 

II. Triple Pagodas :

The Three Pagodas of Chongshen Monastery, at the foot of the Zhonghe Peak which is part of Cangshan Mountain, are just one kilometre to the northwest of the ancient city of Dali. Here stand three beautiful pagodas, which are an emblem of the city's long and celebrated history. The tallest of the trio, which is 69.13 meters tall, was built in 836 AD, while the two smaller ones were built during a later period. No visit to Dali is complete without a visit to see the three pagodas.

III. Butterfly Spring :

Situated at the foot of Yunlong Peak in the Cangshan Mountains, the Butterfly Spring is actually a pool four meters deep and 20 meters wide. The gnarled boughs of an ancient silk tree stretch over its surface. In the fourth lunar month every year, the tree puts out butterfly-shaped flowers, and swarms of butterflies belonging to twenty or so breeds descend on the tree, linking themselves together into multicolored strings, which keep dangling over the pool. Because of these annual butterfly conventions, the silk tree and the Butterfly Spring have become the major tourist attractions of the Cangshan Mountain. 

IV. Cangshan Mountain :

Also called " Diancang", the Cangshan Mountain juts up like a huge screen wall in the western part of Dali. Malong, the main peak, soars 4,122 meters into the sky capped with a snowy summit that never thaws. Over the vales, many streams flow with a rich babbling sound; upward on the slopes, the blue sky is obscured by the dense foliage of the groves of ancient trees; atop the peaks, lakes sparkle like rippling mirrors. With its vast collection of plants and trees, the Cangshan Mountain is also a veritable botanical garden. 

V. Erhai Lake :

In the shape of an "er", meaning ear in Chinese, Erhai Lake, in the east of Dali, covers 250 square kilometres at an elevation of 1,980 meters with water a storage capacity of 300,000 cubic meters. This vast body of water shines under the sun like a sheet of vivid green while the snowy peaks of the Cangshan Mountain are reflected in its quivering surface. These sights combine to form a breathtaking sight known poetically as "Silver Cangshan and Jade-like Erhar ".

Erhai Park is also known as Tuanshan Mountain and covers an area of more than 15,000 mu. The Mountain slopes are covered with luxuriant pines, Cypresses and grass, and embroidered with clusters of Camellias, Azaleas, Primrose, and exotic trees and flowers, which can be found only in and around Dali.

The pavilions, chambers and corridors atop Tuanshan Mountain provide a panoramic view of Cangshan Mountain. Shimmering on the horizon like an immense screen is Erhai Lake, its vast expanse of liquid silver rising up like a white sail and alive with darting gulls and swallow. It is situated next to the ancient city of Dali and its trio of pagodas, which are faintly visible in the distance. It is, indeed, an ideal place to marvel at the famous scene titled "Silvery Cangshan Mountain and jade-like Erhai Lake ". 

VI. The Jizu Hills of Binchuan :

Located 36 kilometers from Binchuan County, the Jizu Hills derive their name from the chinese word for chicken foot, which locals claim it resembles. The hills are not only a famous Buddhist sanctuary, but also a beautiful tourist resort.
From the second floor of the Lengyan Tower on the top of the nearby hills, the Cangshan Mountains, Three Pagodas and Erhai Lake can all be seen standing face to face in the west. Yulong (Jade Dragon) Snow Mountain covered with silver snow can be seen to the north.

Lengyan Tower
The principle surviving buildings of Jizu Hills are Lingshanyihui Archgate, Zhusheng Temple, Lengyan Tower, Jinding Temple, Copper Buddha Hall, Jiaye Hall, Huideng Convent and Taizi (prince) Pavilion.
Binchuan is 393 kilometers from Kunming. Buses are available at any bus station in Kumning.  

VII. The Shibao ( Stone Treasure ) Hills of Jianchuan :

Located 25 km southwest of Jianchuan County, the Shibao (Stone Treasure) Hills are also called the Shizhong (Stone Bell) Hills. Built during the Tang and Song Dynasties, it is considered an offical historical site.

The Shibao Hills scenic region is consists of the Shizhong Temple, the Baoxiang Temple and Haiyunju County. One hundred and thirty-nine statues of Buddha in 16 grottoes are scattered throughout Shizhong Temple, and Shiziguan and Shadengqing of the Shizhong Temple section. The Baoxiang Temple section is the most scenic attraction of Shibao Hills. The Baoxiang Temple has a reputation as the "Suspended Temple ". Thousands of stone steps ascend to the Cascade, Stone Tower, Sky Ladder, and Ancient Bridge, halls and pavilions. The gate of the Shibao Hills is in the Haiyunju section.

The optimal season to visit the Shibao Hills is the end of the 7th month and the beginning of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. There is a traditional singing and dancing jamboree held each year, which never fails to enchant visitors.

Jianchuan is 524 km from Kunming. Bus tickets can be purchased from any bus station in Kunming to Jianchuan via Dali .  

VIII. The Third Month Fair of the Bai Nationality in Dali

Bai nationality has a population of more than 1,120,000. Most live in compact communities within the Dali Prefecture.
The Bai has an age-old history and flourishing culture. Relics to the development of the Bai history are the Three Towers in Dali, rock caves on the Shibaoshan Hill, and the architectural complex of temples on the Jizushan mountain.

Bai people are diligent, simple and honest, and admire the color of white (Bai in Chinese means white). The main festival is the large-scale "The 3rd Month Fair".

Originally, this festival was called the Avalokitesvara's Festival. It was Avalokitesvara who opened up the Dali area, subdues the Monster Luocha and brought prosperity to the people. Every year from the fifteenth to the twentieth of the third lunar month, people gather at the Chongshengsi Temple to pay homage and express thanks to Avalokitesvara. With the development of the economy, trade gets brisk at the gathering, and finally it becomes a yearly fair. In addition to the exchange of commodities, there is horse racing, opera performances, and folk singing and dancing.

A view of religion in Yunnan

There are many kinds of religions nearly all completed because of the special location of Yunnan at the joint part with the half-island of East-South Asia and on the plateau of Qinghai ¨C Tibet and Yunnan-Guizhou. Except the Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism, they are Islamic, Christianity, Catholicism and Original Religion. Among the sects are blended(»ìºÏ) into each other, especially the art of Buddhism, it forms a wonderful view of colorful temples. There are many temples, Buddhist towers, grottos, Taoist Temples, Courts, the wall paintings of Churches, the inscriptions on the tablets, and the religious arts those mostly are distributed over the sightseeing sites in Yunnan. The temples are often taken as the spiritual symbolization of the Heaven, at the same time as the residence, palace and ancestral temple of the common customs with heavy feelings of religion. In the history, since the Tang and Song Dynasties had paid more attention to the fusion of the relationship between the human and the nature. To select the locations of the temples it is usually based on the either the advantages of easy transportation or the calling the believers widely. So the most temples in Yunnan were built at the places of beautiful environments with the green hills and clean waters, covered with the heavy woods at the deep mountains. It is saying those all-wonderful sites and the famous mountains all are occupied by the religious people. They highly stress on the model of the temples, inner decorations and the art of the idols. All the constructions of the temples and their religious feasts are the very important contents of the tourist culture.

Confucianism

The Confucianist theory, strictly speaking that it is not a really religion, but traditionally there was the wording in the history " Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism" the three in one, the Confucianism was regarded as the religion. Especially through the long term of social activity, the people sacrificed the holy idols of the three sects in one temple. They called the Confucianists as the Confucianism. The Confucius was the founder, who took the temple as the place for meeting, paying respects to himself and the transmitting the culture, the Four Books and the Five Classics as the main theory, the religious creeds were used for tools of saving the feudal society and were praised highly by each kings in all Dynasties. They offered the Confucius himself as the "Holy Forefather". In Qufu of Shangdong province (the hometown of Confucius), the Confucius Residence occupied the lands nearly 327 mu (a mu=666 square meters), there are totally 466 rooms in it, which is the one of the famous ancient constructions in China. The famous "Confucianist Temple" in Jiangshui of Yunnan was founded in Yuan Dynasty (1325), it was rebuilt many times in following Dynasties as Ming and Qing, its area is just a little bit of less smaller than it in Shangdong. It has the areas of 114 mu with a lot of the buildings; the main temple is about 13 meters high with the colorful decorations. Except it there are many others distributed over all places in Yunnan.

Buddhism

The Buddhism originated in India; the founder is Sakyamuni meaning the Holy man of the Sakya nation. It is called Buddhism in China. It was disseminated at the time of Han Dynasty and developed as the main religion in China. It is considered that the Buddhism was transmitted to Yunnan in Tang Dynasty. The routes were divided into three, from Han nation of Tang Dynasty, Tibet and the south Asia which were formed with many entities of the Buddhism and the characteristics of local minorities .The one of sects was called "Mijiao" transmitted form Han of Tang Dynasty, the Buddhism (Lama religion) from Tibet in Ming and Qing Dynasties came to Diqing Tibetan areas and the one from south-east Asia disseminated to the areas of Dai Nation in Xishuanbanna and Dehong .All the three sects have the different but luxuriant Buddhist arts, like the wall paintings in the temples, stone idols in the grottos and structures of different pagods.

MAHAYANA BUDDHISM

Mahayana Buddhism was introduced into regions inhabited by the Han people, the largest ethnic group in China, about the first century. The earliest temple, the Baima Temple (White Horse Temple), was built in Luoyang during the reign of Emperor Ming Di of the Eastern Han Dynasty in 68 AD with the help of two Indian monks. Buddhism reached its peak of popularity during the Sui and Tang (581-907) dynasties. Mahayana Buddhism emphasizes the existence of many Buddhas. It focuses attention on Buddhas in heaven and on people who will become Budddhas in the future. It believes that these present and future Buddhas can save people through compassion and grace. Today there are eight main sects of Mahayana Buddhism. These are the Sanlun (Three Treaties) Sect; the Faxiang (Dharma Characteristic) Sect also known as the Yoga Sect; the Tiantai Sect; the Huayan (Flowery Splendor) Sect; the Jingtu (Pure Land) Sect; the Chan(Zen) Sect; the Ritsugaku Sect; and the Esoteric Sect. The doctrines of the various Mahayana sects played an important part in the development of philosophical ideas in China. Mahayana Buddhist influence is seen in the thousands of Chinese classics. Many of these are of high literary value. The Vimalakirti, Saddharma-pundarika-sutra (Lotus Sutra) and Surangamasamadhi-sutra have always been special favorites of scholars. Buddhism brought to Chinese literature new conceptions, literary styles, and techniques of wording and phrasing. The first Chinese woodblock printing was a series of pictures based on the Tripitaka in Chinese. Buddhist paintings and sculptures have left a rich source of material for the study of Chinese art and history. Whether it is the murals of the Dunhuang caves or the stone carvings of the Longmen, Yungang, and Dazu grottoes, the works highlight a brilliant chapter in China's cultural history. China's pagoda architecture and statue art are mostly the work of Mahayana Buddhist designers. China's music, astronomy, medicine, and gymnastics also reveal Mahayana Buddhist influences. As early as the 2 nd century, Buddhist songs were being sung by the Chinese. Yi Xing (673-727), a monk of the Tang Dynasty, was the first to compute the length of the meridian. He complied a number of books on astronomy and mathematics. In medicine, there were more than ten prescription texts from India Buddhists translated into Chinese and they were used in China during the Tang Dynasty. Finally, in gymnastics, the monks of the Shaolin Temple developed various exercise methods imported from India into special form of wushu through the incorporation of Chinese martial arts techniques.
Four mountains in China are particularly sacred to Mahayana Buddhists. These are Wutai in Shanxi Province, Putuo in Zhejiang Province, Emei in Sichuan Province, and Jiuhua in Anhui Province.

HINAYANA BUDDHISM

Hinayna (also called Pali) Buddhism was introduced from Burma, about the 9 th century A .D., into regions inhabited by the Dai, Bulang, Achang, and De' ang ethnic minorities in Yunnan Province. Today its followers are mainly people from these ethnic minorities, as well as part of the Bai, Jing (Ginzu), and Lahu people. In China it is called Pali Buddhism because Pali is the language that was spoke in the temples in ancient India. Hinayana Buddhism emphasizes the importance of Buddha as a historical figure, the virtues of monastic life, and the authority of the Tripitaka.

The Buddhism transmitted from Han nation

The temple is the public place for holding the religious activities; the Buddhist scriptures, figures and monks are all here. The Buddhist idols are all plated with the gold and formed as the colorful decorations. The Chinese temples¡¯ style were effected by those in India, at the earlier time they were mostly formed as the type of veranda and court, later they were developing into the freestyle which are the two types of temples with grottos and towers. Those mostly effected the temples of Yunnan in central China, but they are showing the very special characteristics of local nationalities. They were constructed of the Buddhist hall, temple, hostel and pagodas. The temples are used for the places of sacrificing the Buddhist idols, the hall for religious ceremonies, the hostel for the everyday living of the monks and the pagodas for the place of the buried the ashes of monks after death. Generally the firstly getting into the temple through "Shanmen"(the gate of Buddhist temple), you will see the "Heng and Ha" two generals (clay sculptures), then the "Daxiong Baodian"(Daxiong Temple), Daxion meaning the respected call to the grand Buddhism, there are the Buddhist idols sacrificed here like the main idols of Sakyamuni and others. At the back of the temple there are the pagodas. In Yunnan the temples and the idols conserved completely, they are the "Huating Temple", "Qiongzhu Temple" and "Yuantong Temple" in Kunming, "Panlong Temple" in Jinling, "Caoxi Temple" in Anning, "Dajue Temple" in Luliang, "Zhushen Temple" in Bingchuan, "Guangyingtan Temple" in Dali, and some other places of Yunnan.

The Buddhism transmitted from Tibet

It is combined as the proverb of "Dacheng Mijiao" with other local religious sects in Qinghai and Tibet like the "Mijiao" form India, later it is saying as "Lama" religion, which are believed by the Tibetan and Lishu nation in Yunnan along the areas of joint with Tibet and Sichuan provinces. In the earlier time of Qing Dynasty the Dalai and Banchang¡ªtwo living Buddha were formed with a system of choosing living Buddha in Tibet. The lama temple is consisted of "Zhachang" and "Lakang" which are the main buildings in the temple and many Buddhist idols sacrificed here. The famous temples are located at the places of north-west part of Yunnan, like the "Guihua Temple" and "Chenen Temple" in Zhongdian, "Dexin Temple" in Dexin, "Fuguo Temple", "Yufeng Temple", and "Wenfeng Temple" in Lijiang and other areas, except the arts of the temples and idols, there are the wall paintings and "Tangka"(a style of Tibetan paintings).

LAMAISM

Lamaism is a form of Buddhism intermingled with indigenous Tibetan religion known as Bon. Tibetan Buddhism slowly adopted some of the Bon rites, while Bon eventually took on Buddhiat teachings and disappeared. Lamaism mainly gained its Buddhist knowledge from Han Mahayana Buddhist sources.
Of the various sects that eventually developed within Lamaist Buddhism, the main ones are Nyingma, Sakya, Kagyu,Bon, and Gelug. The Hyingma Sect was founded by Padmasambhava, or "the Lotus-born one'',

an Indian master of Esoteric Buddhism who was invited to preach Buddhism during the latter half of the 8 th century. This sect is also called the "Red Sect'' because the monks of this school wear red hats. The Sakya Sect is also known as the "Striped Sect ''because of the three stripes of red, white, and black that are painted on the walls of all its monasteries.

The Kagyu Sect is also called the "White Sect'' because its monks wore white robes in the past. The Bon Sect is also known as the "Black Sect''. It grew directly as an overlay of Buddhism on top of Bon tradition.
By far the most powerful of the Lamaist sects is the Gelug, or the "Yellow Sect'', so called because the wear yellow hats. It was founded in 1392 by Tsongkapa, an advocate of religious reform, and it grew rapidly into sect with the largest following. Part of the reason for this is the political support the Yellow Sect received from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) government, which appointed their leader, the Fifth Dalai Lama, to "unify the tribes" in Tibet. Ganden, Sera, Drepung. Tashilhunpo, Ta' er, and Labrang are the principal monasteries of this sect.

THE LIVING BUDDHA

In taking on some of the traditions of Bon, Lamaism created its own system of leadership, that of rule by persons designated as Living Buddhas. Such persons are believed to be the reincarnations of deceased Living Buddhas. Thus, in Lamasim special persons are literally born into Buddha hood, whereas in Han Buddhism, followers move toward Nirvana only through good work and in Pali Buddhism they can attain the same condition through devotion. The system for designating Living Buddhas was formulated by the Kagyu Sect more than one hundred years before the Yellow Sect came into existence. It relies on a committee of monks who search for a soul boy (one into whom the soul of a precious Living Buddha has settled). The monks start this search one year after the death of previous Living Buddha. They travel in different directions from their temple to find all male children born at the time the former Living Buddha died. When such soul boys are found (there may be several), each is presented with a group of utensils, some of which were possessions of the previous Living Buddha. If the child takes an interest in one of the utensils owned by the previous Living Buddha, the boy is assumed to be the possible reincarnation. A second test is then administered to make sure. This involves the ritual of asking advice from a protecting spirit. If two or more potential soul boys pass these two tests, lots are drawn from a gold urn to determine the correct identity. The process of selection and control remains in the hands of a select group of monks-the search committee. One of their members acts as regent until the boy reaches an age when he can be elevated in a grand ceremony to the position of Living Buddha, usually sometime between the age of 12 and 18. The members of the search committee remain as the Living Buddha' s assistants until he is old enough to replace them. Should the new Living Buddha die young, the same groups of monks become the committee to select the next Living Buddha.

The Buddhism transmitted from the South direction( East-south Asia)

It is also called "Xiaochen Buddhism" or "Nanchuan Buddhism". Their religious creed stresses on the "Three none"( impermanence, no bitter and no me). It advocates that mukti (get rid of by himself) which is close to the Original religion. It is distributed over at the areas inhabited by Dai, Jinpo and Pumi nations. Especially the all of Dai believes in it so much , nearly there are the temples in every villages. Some of the temples are not only the place of sacrificed the Buddhist idols, but the place for learning the culture and educational classrooms. By the Dai customs, all young boys must leave home and become the monks for a time and leave the order and resume secular life when they grow up as the adults. The Buddhism is divided into two big sects, "Baiba"(Flatland area) and "Baishun"(Mountain area). Their temples usually are constructed of the temples and towers, the design of the towers are much more paid attention to. Mostly their types are similar to the Buddhist pagodas of Myanmar , which are consisted of a main tall tower and many smaller towers around. It considers that the Buddha Sakyamuni is only real God, and never recognizes any others except the Sakyamuni. The main temples in Yunnan are "Guangyunmian Temple" in Changyuan, "Qianrufu Temple" and "Damenlongfu Temple" in Jingu, "Mangefu Temple", "Manfeilong Tower" in Jinhong, "Wuyun Temple" in Manshi and "Dadenhan Temple" in Ruili and the others.

Southern Buddhism refers to Pali Buddhism introduced into Yunnan province from Myanmar in the 7th century. At the beginning, there was no Buddhist temple and its scriptures were spread orally. In the 11th century, Buddhism faded due to warfare. After wars ceased, Buddhism was reintroduced into Dai majority tribes from Thailand and Myanmar. Pattra sutra written in Dai language started to appear after the language was invented in 1277. When a Myanmar princess was married to the 19th Yunnan magistrate in 1569, the King of Myanmar sent a Buddhist mission to Yunnan, bringing with them Buddhist scriptures and statues. Soon, temples were built up and Dai people and a few other minorities converted to the Pali Buddhism.

Now Southern Buddhism can be divided into four sects. Dai boys must spend a monastery life when they reach school age. They will be taught in monasteries and may drop out when they reach their adulthood. The outstanding ones may stay for further studying and become formal monks. The Southern Buddhists can be gradually ranked and the one sits on the top of the pyramid is the religious leader

The Five Moral Precepts (Pali)

Precept:   Sikkhapada  (discipline or good behavior)

First precept:   not to kill

Second precept:   not to steal

Third precept:   not to have sexual misconduct

Fourth precept:  not to lie

Fifth precept:   not to drink liquor or take drugs which leads to carelessness

1)   Panatipata veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami

I take the precept to give up killing.

2)   Adinnadana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami.
I take the presept to give up stealing.

3)  Kamesumicchacara veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami.
I take the precept to give up sexual misconduct.

4)  Musavada veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami.
I take the precept to give up lying.

5)  Surameraya majjapamadatthana veramani sikkhapadam samadiyami
I take the precept to give up drinking liquor and taking substances which lead to infatuation and carelessness

Why do you not kill ?
I do not kill out of compassion for others.

What is the good of giving up killing ?
Every being loves it's life like we do, killing brings suffering to them and so to yourself as well.

Why do you not steal ?
I do not steal because I have no right to take what is not given.

What is the good of giving up stealing ?
I become honest and will not be deprived from my own property by others.

Why do you not indulge in sexual misconduct ?
I do not indulge in sexual misconduct because it leads to suffering for those involved and myself.

What is the good of giving up sexual misconduct ?
It will protect families from breaking up.

Why do you not lie ?
I do not lie because nobody would then believe me.

What is the good of giving up lying ?
I become truthful and trustful and there will be no quarreling without having wrong speech.

Why do you not drink liquor or take drugs ?
I do not drink and take drugs because it leads to carelessness and loss of a sense of shame.

What is the good of giving up drinking ?
I become very careful and my senses become very clear and so I will not bring myself or others into dangerous situations.

 Taoism

Taoism is born and brought up at its native soils, it started in Han Dynasty and took the [Dao De Jing of Laozi (a very famous ancient scholar as Confucian in Chinese history)] as their classics, and the Laozi was respected as their God and called Taoism. The sect we can see today is divided into two sects "Quianzhen" and "Zhenyi". They usually adopt the ways of trying to make the pills of immortality and cultivate vital energy. Etc. as their main activity. The "Gong"(big temple) and "Guang"(small temple) are taken as their place of religious activity. Their construction mostly is looked as the storied buildings. The Eight-Diagram and Tai Ji is their important marks which symbolize the eight natural phenomenon like the sky, land, thunder, wind, water, fire, mountain and marsh. The construction of Taoism usually is consisted of three parts, the parvis, mid-courtyard and view-rooms. Taoism has a big group of the Gods, like the Gods in heaven, human ghosts, and the local gods of the land as well as the many historical figures and the folklore, just like reading a volume of Chinese social culture history when visiting the Taoist temples. In Yunnan the main Taoist temples are "Shangqinge", "Dragon Gate", "Golden Temple", and "Heilongtang" in Kunming, "Zhong he Temple" in Dali, "Yuhuangge Temple" in Baoshang, "Yuanlong ge Temple" in Tenchong and other places in Yunnan.

Islam

The Hui nationality in Yunnan almost believes in the Islam. Through a long historical life and working, there is a very close relationship between Islam and Hui nation on the folk customs and the culture. The place for religious service, they call mosque, the style of the temple construction is the type of Arab and the scripture is the Koran. The feasts are same as the Arab, like Lesser Bairam, Corban and so on. All the festivals are holding in the mosques taken charge of the Akhun. The women are not allowed to get into the mosque. When the time of religious service, the people must take off the shoes and wash all hands and feet (Ghust). They take much more attention on the food; the pork and wine are prohibited. The women usually cover the faces and do not show their hands and teeth .The earliest mosque in Kunming was called "Nanchen mosque", "Namen mosque" in Dali and the mosque in Jindong were built up in Yuan Dynasty and other mosques distributed over all areas where the Hui nation inhabited.

Christianity

It is transmitted in to China at the time of Tang Dynasty; there are the Orthodox Eastern Church, Protestantism and Catholicism, the three sects in Yunnan. In 1877 a British missionary came to Shanghai and later the many missionaries from England and France came to Yunnan and did missionary works in the areas where Miao, Yi, Lishu, Bai and Lahu nations inhabited. They built the churches and sacrificed the holy idols of Jesus and read the stories of Bibles. Now the churches conserved completely well located in Kunming, Dali, Nujiang and others. The one (Catholicism church) built up in Dali in 1931 is the most grand in Yunnan. The saints have their own religious committee, which gives the instructions for activities in whole of Yunnan. They usually have the same customs as those in western countries like the holidays and feasts.

Catholicism

In the earlier of Yuan Dynasty the Catholicism was transmitted into China, it was further developed in Ming and Qing Dynasties and the missionary district was set up in 1696. After the churches were built up in Kunming, it was rapidly expanded to all parts of Yunnan; later the head missionary districts were founded in Kunming, Zhaotong and Dali. The charitable affairs were opened, like hospitals, orphan schools and aged people departments and so on. The Catholic churches were founded in Kunming, Dali, Baoshang, and Dexin of Diqing and weixi.

The Original Religion

It is meant that religion was at the time of the earliest periods of human society, the human believed all natural objects and phenomenon including nature, forefather, totem, sexual power, Gods and so on. The believers have no the core of God in their religion, and no the fixed temples and no the scriptures, the forms of their activities show only the praying the sky and earth, by means of divination for getting rid of the devils and treating the diseases. The master was called wizard. Most of minority nationality in Yunnan are still keeping the some of remains of the religion. They effect very much on the people for their viewpoints on the nature, history, moral and value and so on, and control the behaviours of people¡¯s social culture. It also makes many cliff paintings, God¡¯s paintings, wizard marks, masks, music instruments and other religious arts. It is the very important human culture resources and the worthy of the tourism.  

 Lijiang --- " World Cultural Heritage "

The Yangzi River and the Yellow River are well-known as the two  longest rivers in China and are noted as " Giant Asian Rivers". Situated between 99o 30' E to 100o 50' E and 26o N to 27o 50'   N, Lijiang can be easily located by every tourist from abroad when they trace along the Yangzi River from its mouth in Shanghai back toward its source. The ajncient town of Lijiang is a traveler's wonderland which has been classified as a World-class Cultural Legacy by UNESCO, "Nationallevel Scenic Zone" and a "National Town of History and Culture".

Lijiang is a beautiful shining jewel on the Northwest Yunnan Plateau neighbouring the southeast side of the Tibentan Plateau which is considered to be the "Roof of the World" . It covers an area of 20,600 square kilometers with a population of 1,030 ,000. The whole district is comprised of four counties: Lijiang, Yongsheng, Huaping and Ninglang. LiJiang's weather is remark-ably pleasant. Spring there lasts as long as 241 days and there is no hots ummer. Lijiang is 603 kilometers away from Kunming and 280 kilometers from the JingJiang Railway Station on the Kunming - Chengdu line. The airport in LiJiang had been opened in 1994.

Lijiang boasts of breath - takingly wonderful sights such as Jade DragonSnow Mountain (Yulong Xueshan) and its modern maritime glacier,the only one of its kind in the southern end of the Northern Hemisphere; Tiger Leaping Gorge ( Hutiaoxia ); the world - famous grand canyon; Lugu Lake, the culturalcradle of the "Matriarchy" of the Yongning Mosuo people in Ninglang; the Old Town of Dayan Lijiang, which is referred to by European and American tourists as the "Oriental Venice" .All these natural sceneries and these cultural treasures of the minority peoples, such as Dongba Culture, Naxi Classical Music,Baisha Murals and Mosuo Customs, have been continuously drawing tourists from all over the world and have recently vote Lijiang as one of the favorite destinations in China.

In 1989, Lijiang was ranked as a Level - 1 Tourisrn Hot Spot of China by the yunnan Tourism Bureau. In 1992, it was rated as one of the four provincial - level travel zones of Yunnan by the provincial government. There is a saying which goes: "Visit not Lijiang, visit not Yunnan !" Lijiang is now opening its gate ready to heartily welcome guests from all over the world and show off its exotic and alluring scenery as well as the rich and colourful ethnic customs of its people.   

 

 

I. Dayan Town (The ancient town of Lijiang) :

Lying in a broad, fertile valley dominated by the towering, snow-capped peaks of the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Range, the ancient city of Lijiang is founded in Dayan Town, a large Naxi settlement first built during the Southern Song Dynasty some eight centuries ago. In December 1986, the State Council designated the place as a famous ancient historical and cultural city of a national caliber. In 1997, the UNESCO put Lijiang on a list of the world's major cultural heritages.

 

II. Yuquan Park (Black dragon pool park) :

Popularly known as Black Dragon Pool, the Yuquan (Jade Spring) Park at the foot of the Xiangshan Mountain north of the city of Lijiang derives its name from the pool, which is as sparkling as jade and as clear as spring water. The entire park, tucked away in the shades of swaying willow trees, is covered with green grass. Under the Shuocui Bridge a waterfall creates a constant roar as it cascades down the stream.

 

III. Yulong (Jade Dragon) Snow Mountain :

Fifteen kilometres from the ancient city of Lijiang stands the Yulong Xueshan (Snow Mountain in the image of a Jade - Carved Dragon), a modern maritime glacier in the southernmost of northern latitudes. Shanzidou, the main peak of the mountain, looks like a gigantic dragon, clad in white snow all the year round at an altitude of 5,596 metres above sea level. Access to the top of the mountain is provided by a cableway from the foot of the mountain to Yunshanping ( Dragon Spruce Meadow ). Two cableways for skiers are under construction. 

 

IV. First Bend of the Yangtze River :

Shigu (Stone Drum ) is a town of the Lijiang Naxi Autonomous County which is situated 70 kilometres from the seat of Lijiang County. It is where the Yangtze River, following a northwest course, plunges head - on into a high and cragged cliff, takes a sharp U-turn - believed to be the river's first bend as it flows on - and changes its course in a northeast direction.

 

V. Hutiao (Tiger Leaping) Gorge :

Hutiao ( tiger leaping ) Gorge Extending for 15 kilometres from the Yulong Xueshan Mountain in Lijiang to the Haba Xueshan Mountain in Zhongdian. Tiger Leaping Gorge is one the longest, deepest and narrowest gorges in the world.
According to local legend, the gorge acquired its name because at its narrowest point, a mere 30 meters wide, a tiger leaped over its swirling waters.  

VI  Baisha Mural

     Baisha Mural, these frescos, distributed in the temples of such towns as Baisha, Dayan, Shuhe, Zhonghai, Yangxi and Xuesong, were made in succession from the early Ming dynasty to the reign of Emperor Qianlong in the Qing dynasty.  
   Due to the prosperous economy in the Ming dynasty, people of Naxi minority began to assimilate the culture of other ethnic groups and developed their own. Lijiang mural is the crystallization of such efforts. 
    According to the survey of He Zairui, a Naxi artist, the six mural paintings stored in the Dajue Palace of Shuhe are a reflection of both Taoism and Buddhism. Produced by a painter of Han nationality, the paintings vividly show the variety of characters. The frescos of Dabaoji Palace in Baisha are regarded as the centerpiece of Lijiang Mural. On twelve well-preserved paintings are statues from Taoism, Buddhism, and the Mi Sect of Lamaism. One of the frescos is a great painting of 100 icons, in the middle of which is Sakyamuni, on both sides the statues from Taoism and Buddhism, and at the bottom three Vajras from the Mi Sect along with four celestial kings. The fresco is a collaboration of artists from Han and Tibet nationalities and entirely presents superb artistic skills with flowing lines, well-defined colors and good effects of depth and solidity. The mural paintings of Dading Hall in Baisha were originally finished in the end of the Ming dynasty and repaired during the reign of Qianlong Emperor of the Qing dynasty. Each is an embodiment of Statues from Taoism, Buddhism and such religious sects as Zen and Mi. Different form those in Dabaoji Palace in proportion, design, color-harmonizing and change, the frescos, mainly produced by Naxi painters, are not a match of previously-made mural paintings. What to be treasured in the Lijiang Mural is the realistic style employed by the artists of Han, Tibet and Naxi, who took subject matters from daily life instead of concentrating on religion. The frescos vividly reproduce the scenes of daily life such as dancing, weaving, fishing, felling trees, killing pigs and etc. The mural paintings also draw statues of officers, criminals, travelers and so on, who are the miniature of the social life. Besides, such subject matters as running horses, peacocks spreading feathers and blooming flowers of lotus, peony, camellia and plum blossom are all vivid and true to life.

VII. Lugu Lake :

The Lugu Lake is set in a dense forest between the Ninglang Yi Autonomous County of Yunnan Province and Yanyuan County of Sichuan Province and 300 kilometres from Dayan Town of Liliang.
The environment around the lake is well preserved where the air is fresh, the water pollution-free, and the scenery incredibly delightful. The shore of the lake is home to the Musuo people, a branch of the ethnic Naxi group who retain the vestiges of a matriarchal society. The wedding custom of the Musuo people is noted for its exotic ceremonies  

VIII Naxi Ancient Music

The divinity on the plateau fosters the people living there with artistic quality and poetic mind. Besides poetry, calligraphy and painting, the artistic skill that seems to be born with the people there is music.   
Naxi (also spelt Nakhi and Nahi) ancient music is a kind of classic music widely popular with the Naxi minority. The mixture of holy tune of Daoist, Confucians ceremonies and the literary lyric and topics from poets in Chinese Tang and Song dynasty comes as the feature and uniqueness of this music. It was praised by the contemporary is the "living fossil of music".
Naxi ancient music is the crystal of plural cultures, composed of "Baisha Fine Music" (Baisha Xiyue), "Dong Jing Music" and "Huang Jing Music" (the "Huang Jing" music has become extinct). Taking flute, shawm, Chinese lute, plectrum, and zither as the main instruments, Naxi music was regarded as the "typical Chinese classical music" and "symphonies of Chinese style" by some foreign experts. Interestingly, the music from Central Plains are reserved and kept alive as a result of geographical isolation while its inland counterpart was transformed and lost during the changing history.
Baisha Fine Music: Baisha Fine Music is one of the few large-scale classic orchestral music in ancient China. Passed down as the "Musical Legacy of the Yuan dynasty", it consists of 24 "qupai" (music tune), which is antiquated, simple and elegant in style, lofty and dynamic in character. It is said that when Kublai Khan was on his expedition to Dali, he once got the help from Mailiang, the leader of the Naxi people in Lijiang. On his departure, he left to him half a band and the music score as a gift. So Baisha    Fine Music also name "Honoraria on Departure". Dong Jing Music is a kind of Daoist music widely spread among Naxi people. Since the Ming and Qing dynasties, it was gradually introduced to Yunnan from the Central Plains, and deeply root in the cultural circle in Naxi people. For a long period of time, the Naxi people have added some styles and skills for playing their local folk songs when they played Dong Jing music, so that the music has "Naxi musical tone".   After Dong Jing Music was disseminated to Lijiang, for quite a long period of time, it was confined to the gentlemen. Only gentlemen could join the "Dong Jing concert". But the Naxi people are born with music nature, such a stereotyped shackle was broken.  Today, folk musicians have already make Dong Jing Music into folk world. There are at least four full orchestras of elderly men in and around Lijiang, and within the county there are scores of folk bands playing the ancient music which has been blended with Naxi flavor.  

Copyright ©  Shaolin Viaggi.  All rights reserved  Tel:  0086 13700889060 Fax: 0086 371 65653362 

E-mail: antoniohan66#gmail.com &shaolinviaggi#gmail.com