White Water Terrace
White Water Terrace (Bai Shui Tai) is located in the foothills of the Haba Snow Mountains, 101km (62 miles) southeast of Shangri-La. It is an ancient landform with a history of 200,000 to 300,000 years. The variegated landform of the tableland is a continual deposition of calcium carbonate that is contained in the spring water. Every year, the surface of the land is covered by the deposition and finally transformed into the terraced structure you see today.
The Baishuitai covers an area of three square kilometers (about 741 acres). The spring water runs down along the slope of the mountain, leaving an impression of a large white jade carving among the green mountain. Besides being a beautifully scenic spot, the Baishuitai is also the birthplace of Dongba culture of the Naxi Minority Group.
White Water Terrace was called "Shi Bu Zhi" which means growing flower, and White Water Terrace has the laudatory title of "immortal left field". Going close to White Water Terrace, you will see tier upon tier White Water Terrace folded, like titled moon scattered in the world, also like a silver ornament of Naxi girls, folded as countless silver ring, the faint afterglow of silverlight gives a person a fresh feeling. The left of White Water Terrace likes a crescent moon spring, and it is said that where is the place for fairy to dress and make up. Under the bottom left of White Water Terrace is a stone arcade, white as jade, shaped like a pregnant woman, it is a place where local people enshrined reproductive god. White Water Terrace is not only a beautiful place, it is the birthplace of the Naxi Dongbaism, the place for religious activities and ethnic festivals.
As early as the Tang and Song dynasty, White Water Terrace has already become a famous tourist attraction in western Yunnan area. In the rock of the source there was a poem written by Naxi local magistrate of prefecture Mugao in the Ming dynasty. Under the bottom left of White Water Terrace is a stone arcade, white as jade, shaped like a pregnant woman, local people regarded it as the goodness of reproduction. From the east of Baidi Village, there is a more than 60 meters high waterfall which is worth watching.
It is said that Dongba ancestor "Dongba Shiluo" cultivated himself according to the religious doctrine in White Water Terrace, therefore White Water Terrace was regarded as Dongba ashram. On the eighth day of the 2nd lunar month every year, the local Tibetan, Naxi, Yi, Bai, and Susu minorities will go to White Water Terrace for ritual activities, such as entertaining god with song and dance, which is very rich in ethnic custom. White Water Terrace is an important tourist resort of Diqing plateau.
According to legend, two gods of the Naxi nationality in order to make local Naxi people learn from cultivated land, so they specially changed out a piece of "terrace", so there is a saying of "immortal left field".
Shangri-la County is the Tibetan-inhabited area, but near Lijiang Dagu area the majority is the Naxi nationality, and it is the home of the Naxi Dongba culture. Dongbaism is Naxi ancient religion, "Dongba", can be translated as "chanting sutras in mountain area", they have a plenty of "wise men" in this nation. According to legend, in the 11th century, there was Dingba Shiluo (Dingba is Tibetan which means the founder; Shiluo is the person's name), preached Dongbaism near the White Terrace. He and his disciples used hieroglyphic writing to write Dongba Scripture for the first time, which has opened up a new situation of Dongbaism development, and he was regarded as the father of Dongbaism by later generations. So far there is a record of his life experience and legend in the Dongba scripture. After one thousand years of enrichment and development, Dongba scripture has become a treasure trove of Naxi ancient culture. The White Terrace Cave that Dongba Shiluo used to preach the Dongbaism, was regarded as "spirit cave; the place that Dingba Shiluo mainly lived in was also regarded as a "holy land". Every second month of spring, lunar February 8th, residents nearby came to offering, and Dongba people from distance also came to worship, year after year, it carried on as custom. Therefore, Feburary 8th became Sanba spring outing event.
How to Get to White Water Terrace
White Water Terrace is 100 km from the county seat. On Sunday morning and afternoon there is a bus going to Sanba Township from Shangri-la, four hours’ driving (there is nearly 20 km of poor road). The bus departs in the morning stops at the Baishui (White Water) Village, and the bus departs in the afternoon stops at Haba Village. Also people can take a taxi to there, a round trip of about 400 yuan/day. The buses from Tiger Leaping Gorge town to White Water Terrace depart at 14:00 every afternoon in the Tiger Leaping Gorge Town, 14:45 or so will arrive Walnut Garden. In addition, from White Water Terrace, people can walk over the Haba Snow Mountain on foot to the lower Tiger Leaping River of Tiger Leaping Gorge. From Shangri-la county to White Water Terrace will go east loop line, more than 100 kilometers, the road condition is good but there are many detours, people with motion sickness have better not to go this road. If there are less than four people, suggesting taking passenger bus; if there are more than four people, suggesting chartering a car. The scenery on the way to the White Water Terrace is very beautiful, people who charter a car can stop at any time to enjoy the view.
Travel Guide of White Water Terrace
► Chinese Name: 白水台
► Address: Baidi Billage, Sanba Township, Shangri-la County, Lijiang City, Yunnan Province
► Telephone: 0887-8866139
► Opening Time: the whole day
► Recommended Visiting Hours: 3 to 4 hours
► Best Time to Travel White Water Terrace: from February to April and from September to November is the best time to visit White Water Terrace. Dongba Culture originated from here, and it is said that February 8th in the lunar calendar was the day that Naxi ancestor established White Water Terrace. Summer is the rainy season, the road condition is bad and sometimes there is debris flow and rockfall, so do not recommend to visit during rainy season. Spring, summer and autumn, the sceneries of White Water Terrace are beautiful. The water yield is not very large, but in the early morning, the entire water terrace becomes ice. With the sunlight, the ice surface unfreezes from top to bottom, which is glittering and translucent.
Recommended China Tour to Shangri-la: 10 Days Yunnan tour to the Lost Horizon