by a network of gurgling streams, Dali is renowned for the distinctive
and elegant architectural style of the Bai people, who are still
the largest population group on this former capital of the Nanchao
Kingdom. Dali is the largest trading center and a major transportation
hub in western Yunnan Province, and is well known for its batik
handicrafts and high quality marble.
The Ancient City of
The Ancient City of Dali, also known as Yeyu in ancient times,
is located 13 km south of Xiaguan, at the foot of the Cangshan
Mountain in the west and overlooks the Erhai Lake in the east.
It was set up in the 15th year of Emperor Hongwu Period of the
Ming Dynasty (in 1382 AD) as the capital of the Dali kingdom.The
original city wall was 8 metres in height and 6 km in length with
four gates and gate towers in the east, west, south and north.
The four gate towers are named Chen En, Tong Hai, Cangshan and
An Yuan respectively. At present, only the south and north gate
towers remain standing.
The layout of the ancient city resembles a chessboard. There are five streets stretching from south to north, and 8 lanes from east to west, all paved with blue slabstones. Along them are the typical houses of the Bais which have stone walls and dark blue tile roofs. The brooks from the Cangshan Mountain flow through the streets and lanes around the city into the Erhai Lake.
The people in Dali are fond of flowers and every family has a courtyard with seasonal flowers in blossom all the year round. Every February in the Chinese lunar calendar when the Flower Festival is held, pots of flowers are displayed in front of every house, which forms a vast sea of flowers in the whole city.
Inside the city, there are many historical relics and places of interest such as "the Forbidden City" which served as the headquarters of Du Wen xiu Uprising (1856), the anciet Yuxi School and "Foreigners Street" in Huguo Street. Along this street lie many tea houses, antique shops, Chinese and Western restaurants, and the ancient buildings are found here and there. Tourists at home and abroad have been attracted to visit Dail. The ancient architectural beauties, rich minority customs and picturesque scenery are the main attractions of Dail.
Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Temple, commonly known as Dali Three
Pagodas, and located in the Chongsheng Temple, northwest of Dali
City in Yunnan Province, it is a major national treasure under
Standing like three legs of a tripod, the Chongsheng
Three Pagodas made of bricks were built a thousand years ago.
Straight and towering, the Quadrangular Qianxun Pagoda,
the main one was exquisitely constructed, with multiple tiers
of eaves. It has 16 storeys and a height of 69.13 meters. In the
central part of each facade, a shrine was built and a Buddha statue
of white marble installed. The two other pagodas of 10 stories
are 42.19 meters high. They are solid and beautiful, and in octagonal
shape. Coated with white mud, and carved with a shrine, Buddha
statue, lotus flowers, etc. on each story, the pagodas look elegant
On top of the pagoda are placed three bronze gourds,
representative of the ethnic style.
Sequestered at the foot of the
Yunlong Peak of the Cangshan Mountain, the Butterfly Spring is
actually a pool four metres deep and 20 square metres wide. The
gnarling boughs of an ancient silk tree stretch over its surface.
In the fourth lunar month every year, the tree puts out butterfly-shaped
swarms of butterflies in twenty or so breeds descend on the tree,
linking themselves head against tail into numerous coloured ribbon-like
strings which keep dangling over the pool. For this annual congregation
of butterflies, the silk tree and the Butterfly Spring have become
a major tourist attraction of the Cangshan Mountain.
The Cangshan Mountain, also known
as Diancangshan, is named after its verdant forests. The Canshan
Mountain is a chain of the Yunlin Mountain of the Hengduan Mountains.
Starting at Eryuan in the north and ending at Xiaguan in the south,
it measures 42 km in length and 25 km in width. Overlooking the
Erhai Lake in the east, the Cangshan Mountain is of great splendour
and the scenary is unique. The Cangshan Mountain comprises 19
peaks, the highest of which is Malong Peak at an elevation of
4122 metres above sea level. It is snow-capped all the year round
with a moraine lake on the summit. There are 18 brooks running
down the 19 peaks. The snow-melted water between every two peaks
rushes down and converges into the Erhai Lake.
The clouds over the mountains are varied and changeable. The most
magnificent scenic wonders are the Husband-Yearning Cloud and
the Jade-like Belt of Clouds. Every year when spring is changing
into summer, a lone cloud will emerge over the top of Yuju peak,
drifting up and down and casting glances about. Then , it suddenly
turns into a dark cloud, resembling a woman I black. At this very
moment, a gale will howl and cause rolling waves across the lake;
this cloud is called "The Husband-Yearning Cloud." After rain
in summer or autumn, a cloud will drift up slowly in the sky,
stretching out kilometers around like a jade belt round the moutain;
this is called "the Jade-like Belt of Clouds". The Yuyou tour
route is a newly developed scenic area. Many scenic spots lie
along the route: the Jianjin Cave, the Shimen Pass, the Hall of
Avalokitesvara, the Gantong Temple, the Zhonghe Temple, the Qingbi
Brook, the Butterfly Fountain and so on.
The weather in the Cangshan Mountain is varied and unpredictable. It is snow-white on the top,and the flowers bloom in profusion at the foot. The Cangshan Mountain is not only abundant in vegetation such as pine trees, furs, camellias, azaleas, orchids and medicinal herbs like Chinese angelica and banksias rose, but also in marble resources.
The Erhai Lake and Erhai
The Erhai Lake, known as Yeyuze
or Kunming Lake in ancient times, is named after its ear-like
shape. It is a fresh water lake in the Yunnan Plateau at an elevation
of 1972 metres. It starts at Dengchuan in the north and ends at
Xiaguan in the south with a length of 42 km and width of 8 km.
It is 116 km in circumference and covers an area of 250 square
km. The average depth is about 11 metres and the total storage
capacity is 2.5billion cubic metres. The Erhai lake is the second
largest lake in Yunnan Province, abundant in water resources.
The Miju River and the Mici River in the north, the Bolou River
in the east and the brooks from the Cangshan Mountain in the west
converge into this lake. In the south, the Yangbi River is the
outlet and finally converges into the Lancang River.
The Erhai Lake is a fault lake formed after a foundering of the earth's crust. The water of the Erhai Lake is limpid. On the lake, there are three islets, four sand banks and eight famous sights. "Erhai Moon" is one of the best sights where one can enjoy the moon mirrored on the lake on a clear night. The Erhai Lake is also rich in aquatic animals.
Erhai Park is located at Tuanshan Mountain, 2.5km away from Xianguan. It was once a royal deer ranch of the Nanzhao Kingdom. Built in 1976, the park covers1700 mu of land. Climbing along the path up to the mountain, one can see green pine trees, famous flowers like camellia, magnolia primose, michelia alba and azalea. On the top are the Observation Pavilion and the Long Corridor overlooking the lake, the zoo and the garden. Standing high on the top, one will have a pleasant view of the jade-like Erhai Lake dotted with sails here and there and the silvery Cangshan Mountain. At the shore, there are entertainment facilities such as the aqua park, swimming area, etc. On a clear night, when the moon is mirrored on the lake, one will enjoy one of the most magnificent sights (Wind, Flower, Snow and Moon)-the Erhai Moon in Dali.