One of the world’s most incredible limestone formations is China’s amazing giant stalagmite-like stone pinnacles creating the illusion of an remarkable stone forest.
The Shilin Stone Forest is an exceptional landscape of karst formations in Shilin Yi Autonomous County in China. It is internationally reputed as the ‘Stone Forest Museum’ due to its diverse and plentiful karst types. During the Ming Dynasty, Shilin Stone Forest was known as the ‘First Wonder of the World.’ Today, it is one of Yunnan’s most visited attractions..
The UNESCO Word Heritage Site, was once an ocean floor and the rock formations, the results of millions of years of seismic activity, water and wind erosion. It carved and reveal a unique limestone landscape of giant stalagmite-like pillars, creating the illusion of a stone forest. Its many features include: Major Stone Forest, Minor Stone Forest and Naigu Stone Forest; caves and waterfalls; an island lake and underground river; and animals and plants.
The forest attractions, the Ashima Stone, serves as a symbol of power and freedom. According to legend, a beautiful Sani girl, Ashima, ran into the forest and died. She was transformed into the rock after being forbidden to marry the man she loved.
Ashima is remembered every year during the annual Torch Festival, which include a variety of entertainments such as: lion and moon dancing, wrestling, bullfighting and musical performances. At night, the labyrinth comes alive as people light hundreds of torches which look like a dragon moving through the night.