An Introduction to Yunnan Province.
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Situated in the southwestern borderland of China and noted for magnificent landscape, agreeable climate, and fascinating life styles of ethnic group people, Yunan Province is home to 26 ethnic groups, the most of any province. The Province is a multi-functional tourist resort for sightseeing, acquiring knowledge, exploring wonders and pursuing enjoyment. It is a Province with the greatest variety of ethnic groups in China. A diverse history and different lifestyle have made Yunnan a museum of human society. Their distinctive cultures, folkways, costumes and architectural styles seem to unfold before the eyes scroll of genre paintings with a riot of colours. The captivating festivals there, such as the Water Sprinkling Festival in Xishuangbanna and Dehong, the Third Month Fair in Dali, the Torchlight Festival of the Yi people at the Stone Forest, the Sword Pole Festival (Daoganjie) of the Lisu people, and Munao Zongge Festival of the Jingpo people, will make the tourist immersed in a sea of joy and excitement.
Yunnan is also a natural museum. Different topography and climate have formed in Yunnan a unique biosphere ranging from the tropical to the frigid. The Province leads China in number of plants and animal species.
Nature has endowed the Province with numerous wonders. The submarine wonderland of 270 million years ago has become today’s Stone Forest. To roam around it is a great joy. The Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiaoxi) is one of the world’s deepest canyons with a depth of 3,200 meters from the mountaintop to the river surface, an ideal place for exploration and tourism. The Snow Dragon Mountain (Yulongxueshan) is superb with its loftiness and elegance. Another rewarding experience is to reveal in the beautiful scenery of Dali noted for the wind (that blows through the valley at Xiaguan), the flowers (camellias that prople in Shanguan like to grow), the snow (that covers the top of Cangshan Mountain perennially), and the moonlight (over the waves of Erhai Lake). Further, a tour in the tropical monsoon rain forests of Xishuangbanna will make the tourist feel returning to nature. The Province would be a popular tourists’ destination in its own right.
Yunnan Province is also famed as the Kingdom of Animals, the Kingdom of Plants and the Kingdom of Non-Ferrous Metals.
Yunnan has abundant natural plants and diversified topography. Its vegetation includes that of cold, temperate, subtropical zones. At present, it contains 18,000 species of valuable plants, which account for 60 per cent of the country’s flora species. It has been considered as one of the major plants in both China and the world. After several years of efforts, Kunming has established a 1,000-hectare flower base, which has become an important source of flower exports in China. In addition to excellent wealthier conditions, the province’s plateau landscape, tropical rainforest, as well as the ethnic groups with their colourful customs form a solid foundation appealing to tourists. Among the spots appreciated by visitors, there is the tropical rain forest Xishuangbanna, the wonder-on-earth Stone forests, and the “Oriental Geneva” of Dali and the Lijiang Jade Dragon Snow Range—a skiing resort at the world’s lowest latitude. The 800-year-old Lijiang was added to the World Heritage List of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 1997. Besides, these 25 ethnic groups in the Province bring flavour with their special history, their culture and living customs.
The Yunnan Province’s terrain is mainly composed of plateaus. Basins are scattered between mountains. To the northwest of the Province is the brim of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, winding up with snow-capped mountains. The Province is situated in the subtropical and tropical area with a continental and monsoon climate. The difference in temperature does not vary largely, and the arid and humid seasons are distinctly divided. The eastern part of Yunnan Province enjoys a mild plateau climate, and is reputed as “spring-like all the four seasons.” Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province, is acclaimed as a “Spring City.”
The industrial sectors of the Province include mining, electric power, metallurgy, petrochemical, cigarette, and sugar. There are a great variety of minerals including copper 铜 tin 锡, lead 铅 and zinc 锌. Agricultural produce includes grains such as rice, wheat, corn, potatoes and economic products such as oilseeds, tobacco, sugar-cane and tea. Tropical products in south Yunnan Province include rubber, coffee, pepper and sisal, In its mountainous area, forests are widely distributed with abundant timbers and a great variety of precious medicinal herbs. Dali is well known for marbles of fine quality. Besides, Yunnan Province is rich in hydraulic resources, and its ethnic handicrafts products are colourful. In the flowery and always spring-like city of Kunming, the two mountains of Jinma 金马 and Biji 碧鸡 clamp the Lake Dianchi, which is clear and limpid, with an expanse of 250 kilometers. Dali’s four major scenic spots refer to Xiaguan’s wind 下关风, Shangguan’s flowers上关花, Mount Cangshan’s snow 苍山雪 and Lake Erhai’s moonlit 洱海月. Tourists can enjoy the beautiful legendary story of Ashima阿诗玛 in the Stone Forest, and the Water Sprinkling Festival 泼水节at the home of peacocks, and the enchanting views of the snow-capped mountains of Yulong 玉龙雪山 and Lake Lugu泸沽湖.
It can also entertain tourists with the diverse culture and customs of the 25 ethnic group people that live in the province. Rich in tourism resources, such as plateau forests, karst landforms, tropical forests, and low latitude glaciers, Yunnan is one of the most popular tourism destinations in China. Tourists can stroll through massive rain forests where rare flora and fauna can be found, experience the mystery of Shangri-La香格里拉 (a distant beautiful imaginary place where something is pleasant 想象中之人间乐园或世外桃源) and bask in the glory of gorgeous maintains and rivers. One-third of Yunan’s 42-plus million people are made up of the 26 ethnic groups, each with their own unique folk arts and culture, another big draw.
The Province borders Myanmar, Laos, and Viet Nam, and is not far from Thailand, Cambodia, Bangladesh and India, making it a convenient gateway to Southeast Asian countries.
Ancient Music Eyes Heritage in Yunnan Province
China will apply to have one of its ethnic music forms—Naxi ancient music—listed as one of the masterpieces of the oral and intangible Heritage of humanity. Known as a “living fossil,” ancient Naxi music originated from Taoism music that dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907), and three types of the original music have been handed down orally to the 280,000 Naxi people living in Lijiang today. Presently,Naxi people in the mountainous area still practice the custom of singing and dancing around a bonfire to mourn the dead, carrying on tradition. The songs they sing on such occasions seem to have neither rhythm nor obbligato. Another well-preserved ancient form of music is a grand orchestra piece composed more than 700 years ago, 486 years before the symphonies of Joseph Haydn. It is an epic of the Naxi group that tells about wars between different tribes. Studies into the history of Chinese music have found that most of the pieces played by Naxi musicians as those performed more than 1,000 years ago, and ancient musical scores that have long been discarded in Central China are still being used by many Naxi musicians today. The ancient music has gained a worldwide reputation in recent years, and it is on the top of the majority of tourists’ agendas to attend a live concert in Lijiang. Experts have called for increased efforts to retain and develop the music, which is praised as “orthodox and unpolluted classical Chinese music.” The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) defines oral and intangible Heritage as “the totality of traditionally based creations of a cultural community, expressed by a group of individuals, and recognized as reflecting the expectations of a community.”
Diqing Zang Autonomous Prefecture 迪庆藏族自治州
Located in the northwestern part of Yunnan Province, the Diqing Prefecture consists of three counties: Zhongdian, Deqing and Weixi. The Tibetan ethnic group people inhabet the scarcely populated land of 23,870 square kilometers. Other ethnic groups include Han, Bai, Naxi, Yi, Hui, Pumi, Lisu and Miao. On this land all the ethnic groups live together friendly. Different religions like Tibetan Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Catholicism, Islam, Bon and Dongba co-exist peacefully here. The prefecture is a holy place with a long history, and brilliant civilization. The relics of the Geden Neolithic Age, which was founded in Weixi County, proves that human beings lived in the area about 7,000 years ago. The unearthed Stone coffins and other relics in Deqing County indicated that ancestors of the Diqing people had created a rich culture. The ancient Tea-Horse Road, also called the Southern Silk Road connecting China to India, Nepal and then whole South Asian subcontinent, runs across Diqing.
What makes Diqing an attractive tourist destination is the mysterious and graceful scenery. On the Diqing Plateau a group of snow-capped mountains at the lowest latitude in the northern hemisphere, namely, the Meili, Baimang, Haba and Balagengzong can be seen. The 6,740-meter Kagebo Peak, the main peak of the Meili Snow Mountain, is the highest in Yunnan Province and is also honoured as one of the eight holy mountains by the Tibetan people. Other scenic spots include the Jinsha River, the source of the Yangtze River, the Lancang River, the Bitahai Lake, the White Water Terrace, the Songzanlin Temple and the Samage Natural Reserve. Tourists can actually See the Shangri-La* up close and personal in Diqing Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Southwest China’s Yunnan Province.
The Sanjiang Region (Nujiang, Jinshajiang, and Lancangjiang) Natural Scenes 三江（怒江﹑金沙江﹑澜沧江）并流自然景观
UNESCO listed the natural scenes of the Sanjiang Region, also known as Three Parallel Rivers as a World Heritage site, in southwest China’s Yunnan Province on the 27th annual session of UNESCO in Paris on July 2, 2003. It became the 29th Chinese property to join the World Heritage List. The scenic area’s name is derived from the three rivers—Nujiang, Jinshajiang and Lancangjiang—which flow in parallel for more than 170 kilometers across northwestern Yunnan Province, and encompasses 41,000 square kilometers. The region features the magnificent view of the three giant rivers, as well as the cultural interests of various ethnic groups in the area and rich biodiversity. The Sanjiang Region boasts rare high Mountain landforms and outstanding biodiversity, The number of animal species alone in it accounts for more than 25 per cent of the nation’s total. Meanwhile, it is also a place where 16 ethnic groups are located and that pools many languages religions, and ethnic habits and cultures. Although the region only has less than 0.4 per cent of the total territory of China, it has more than 20 per cent kinds of advanced plants of the country’s total. The region is of great importance for geographic study.
Shizi (Lion) Mountain 狮子山
Chuxiong is a place of historic interest and a natural museum as will. The small prefecture deserves to be called hometown of the palaeontology, the dinosaur and the bronze drum (a traditional percussion instrument used by some ethnic groups.)
Like other ethnic groups, the Yi people in Chuxiong also have many distinctive festivals. The traditional Torch Festival is such an example that expresses their worship to fire. It is said that long, long ago, when the Yis in the life-an-death struggle, saviour hero Abasha’s three weapons, that could drive away the devils, were fire, water and stones. And burning the devil was most effective. Gradually, the Yis’ forefathers began to advocate the cremation because they thought the soul would rise onto the heaven with the fire and smoke after a person dies. Now the Torch Festival is still one of the most important festivals here. In the past, on the 24th day of the sixth lunar month, the Yis lit the torches to get rid of the devils at home first, then they gathered on the Torch Mountain to usher devils together. Nowadays the Festival has become a carnival of the Yi people. The forms of the Festival also vary from county to county. In Lufeng County, for example, the Festival is called Big Knife Party in order to commemorate the friendship between military strategist Zhuge Liang of the Shu Kingdom and Meng Huo 孟获, the chief of Yi people in the Three Kingdoms perild (220-280). On the 24th day of the sixth lunar month every year, people gather at the foot of the Torch mountain, singing, dancing. Drums and gongs beat boisterously. Under the lead of a big Torch and many red and green flags, some people with the mask of Zhuge Liang, Guan Yu (a well known general in the Three Kingdoms period) and Meng Huo dash onto the Mountain top. Then young people make many circles hand in hand, beating the bronze drums, singing, dancing throughout the night. The Torch Festival becomes a weekly ceremony.
Acclaimed as the No 1 Mountain of the southwest China in Wuding County of Chuxiong, the Mountain resembles a lion, hence Shizi (Lion) Mountain. In China, almost every famous Mountain has temples on it. Shizi Mountain is no exception.
Construction of Zhengxu Temple began in 1311 by Chaozong, a Buddhist monk of Sichuan Province. In 1315, a Buddhist monk from India begged alms to continue the project. It took years to extend the temple into its present scale. A prince of an Indian Kingdom, he became a monk at the age of eight. In 1326, he sermonized in Korea and was praised highly for his rigorous sermonic approach, extensive knowledge and practicing what he advocated. The Korean monks called him “Master of the Masters.” Legend relates that more than 600 years ago after the emperor Jianwen, the second emperor (1399-1402) of the Ming Dynasty was usurped the throne by his uncle—Emperor Yongle, he lived in seclusion here to avoid persecution. It is said that the dethroned Jianwen enjoyed planting peony very much. At present, more than 40,000 peonies of nine colours and over 120 kinds vie with each other for glamour here.
More About Yunnan Province
- Dali Ancient City
Dali Ancient City Dali is a place inhabited most by Bai people.
- Kunming Introduction
Kunming Introduction Kunming has plans to become a center of tourism, finance, horticulture and a communications hub linking China and Southeast Asia.
- Stone Forest Kunming
Stone Forest Kunming The Stone Forest In Kunming Yunnan Province.
- Xishuangbanna Natural Scenic Attraction
Xishuangbanna Natural Scenic Attraction An ever-popular tourist spot in China, Xishuangbanna seems to have always impressed its tourists with an endless vista of natural scenic attractions.