Why is Stone Forest special?
At 120 km of Kunming city, there stands one of the “Nature’s World Wonders”- Stone Forest, also called Shilin. In the Stone Forest, stone peaks rise abruptly from the ground in numerous layers like bamboo shoots, forests and pagodas, hence all visitors to Kunming from home and abroad never hesitate to admire the unique scenes formed by the stones.
Both Chinese and overseas geologists have proved that the Stone Forest is over 270 million years old. The area used to be an ocean. During the Long Geological Period from the late Permian Period 230 million years ago to 2 million years ago, the ocean subsided and giant rocks appeared. During this time the rocks were gradually worn away by water, forming the strange rock forms seen today.
Stone Forest Highlights
Greater Stone Forest (Da Shilin)
Inside the sea of Stone Forest, one feels as if were in a bizarre fairyland. The stone formations standing still resemble a variety of things such as ancient fortresses, birds, beasts, flowers, trees, human beings, and whatever else one can imagine.
Lesser Stone Forest (Xiao Shilin)
The most fantastic ones are "The Cluster of Pinnacles Propping up the Sky" and "The Stone Singing Praises of Plums".
Outer Stone Forest (Wai Shilin)
It is gifted with myriad of stone peaks of various shapes. The Lion Hill resembles a squatting male lion on a height.
The Rock of Ashima
The rock of Ashima resembles a girl of the Sani people, a branch of the Yi ethnic group, with a kerchief on her head, and a bamboo basket on her back. The shape and expression are both surprisingly lifelike. Ashima was a beautiful girl in a Sani folk tale. She is a symbol of matchmaker who can bring happy life for the Sani people.
The splendor of the Stone Forest is enhanced by the local customs of the native Sani people, who are part of the Yi minority. Sani people are industrious and hospitable, Sani women are expert at spinning, weaving, and embroidering. The young people especially are very good singers and dancers.
Every day at sunset, under the moonlight, boys and girls gather at the village platform. While the boys play the three-stringed plucked instruments, the girls clap their hands and dance the strong-rhythmed traditional "Ah-shi Dance in the Moon" with great enthusiasm. If you happen to witness the event, you will be invited to join in the festivity.