Stone Forest

Kunming Stone Forest, Kunming Attractions, Kunming Travel GuideThe Stone Forest is known as the "First Wonder of the World" for its natural landscape, which is found in Lunan Yi Autonomous County some 100 kilometers from Kunming. It covers an area of 2,670 square kilometers and is divided into several scenic areas with names like Greater Stone Forest, Lesser Stone forest, Outer Stone Forest, Underground Stone Forest, Stone Forest Lake, and Da Dieshui Fall. Due to a process of weathering and erosion, nature has created an art gallery of stone sculpture here. The Stone Forest was formed by karst two million to thirty million years ago. The Forest was contains peaks, pillars, stalagmites, depressions, underground rivers, and caves. The pillar-like rocks, some up to 30 meters high, are limestone formations eroded over the millennia by wind and water. It is as if the countless stone shapes have sprung from the ground, assuming different shapes as if vying to surpass each other in grandeur and sublime beauty. Some look like sheets or pillars, others resemble swords raised towards the sky while others, standing in pairs, suggest scenes of young lovers overjoyed in reunion or sad at parting or of a mother and child strolling side by side. Among the sights in the Stone Forest are Lion Arbor, Sword Peak Pond, Lotus Peak, Moon Lake, Jade Lake, and Dadie waterfall.

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 ".

Bird view of Stone Forest, Kunming Attractions, Kunming Travel Guide Many of the stone pinnacles are associated with legends. In the Lesser Stone Forest, there is one pinnacle that resembles a slim and beautiful girl. Seen in silhouette with another stone formation, the girl appears to be carrying a basket on her back. This is the famous Ashma, heroine of an epic poem popular among the Sani people. According to the legend, Ashma, a Sani girl, refusing to be married to the landlord Rebubala, fought against the landlord and his men with her true love Ahei. They finally ran away from the landlord and came to the Stone Forest. But ganging up with the stone demon, Rebubala summoned up a flood and drowned Ashma, who then turned into the stone peak.

The origin of the Stone Forest is also the subject of an old legend. Long, long ago, in an attempt to flood the farmland of Lunan, the evil monster Asabe used his magic whip to drive a group of stone pinnacles to a place where they would obstruct the current of the Nanpan River. A hero of the Sani people, on hearing the news, rushed to the spot and fought the monster. Asabe was finally defeated and had to flee, leaving behind him the pinnacles that still bore the scars of his whip. These became the Stone Forest.

The Stone Forest is home to the Sani people, a branch of the industrious and brave Yi minority. As born singers and dancers, the Sani people are also skilled in embroidery. On the 24th of the sixth lunar month, the Stone Forest attracts large crowds of visitors from at home and abroad who come to join the Sani people in celebrating the Torch Festival.