Stone Forest 石林

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Stone Forest 
 
The Stone Forest is in the Lunan Yi Nationality Autonomous County, Yunnan Province. 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. The Stone Forest was formed by karst two million to thirty mullion years ago. The Forest was contains peaks, pillars, stalagmites, depressions, underground rivers, and caves. The fantastic stone pinnacles rising abruptly from the ground resemble a huge, dense forest. 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.

Every year, around the 24th and 25th day of the sixth lunar month, the Sani people gather in the Stone Forest to celebrate the “Torch Festival.” Visitors are welcome to enjoy the folk dances and the wrestling competitions of the Sani youngsters.

Bus trips take visitors to the Stone Forest from Kunming. On the way there is a cave which contains a chamber with stone beds and stone benches on which people can rest. Lying on a stone bed, one can see a strip of sky through a fine crack in the roof of the cave. Tourists can either return to Kunming on the same day or stay overnight at the Stone Forest Hotel. Hotels, shops, and restaurants have been built to meet the needs of the developing tourist industry in the area.
Admission Fee:  CNY 140
Opening Hours: 08:30 to 18:00
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Last Updated ( Monday, 22 June 2009 10:41 )  

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