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Stone Forest   

stone forestSituated 75 miles southeast of Kunming, the Stone Forest is a wonder of geology. About 200 million year ago the earth's crust shifted and forced the 200 acres of karst limestone stalagmites rise up from what was once a huge expanse of water. Paths wind through its spectacular valleys and around the weird rock formations and its reflecting pools. There are pavilions perched high on these pillars that offer sweeping views. Since the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Stone Forest has long been one of the most famous scenic spots in China.

First to greet the tourists in the park is a huge natural stoStone Forestne wall carved with eight red Chinese characters which can be translated as "A myriad pinnacles stand erect, receding one after another into the distance". The inscription is the handwriting of Mr. Zhu De, the late Chief Commander of People's Liberation Army. A little further on is another stone wall on which are carved "Shi Lin" (Stone Forest in Chinese). Further down, strange pinnacles resembling bamboo shoots, giant pillars, pagodas, swords, lions, sleeper tigers, camels, or wild ox will surround the people on every side once they enter the "forest". The local guide will tell you many legends related to these weird-look rocks.

The splendor of this place is highlighted by another feature that is the local Sani people, a branch of the Yi nationality. Most of all Sani girls excel at spinning, weaving and embroidering. And these people are born singers and dancers. Each day at sunset, boys and girls gather at the village platform. The boys usually play the three-stringed plucked instruments while the girls dance joyfully at a strongly rhythmic pace.

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