From Lijiang, we did numerous day trips and one of them was to Bai Shui Tai meaning “White Water Place”. It one of the world’s largest tuff-spring terraces and located at Baidi village that is 105 kilometers to the South East of Shangri-La.
As a quick background, these terraces were formed by calcium bicarbonate depositions in the spring water in prolonged photosynthesis processes, where the chemical gradually deposited to make the 200 – plus mus of tuff-spring terraces. According to the local tales, these terraces naturally arranged themselves into the following 5 scenes: silvery bubbles threading up the water, water mirroring the skies, celestial being left over fields, fairy comes to the human world and dragon frolicking in the limpid water. Legendary tales say that Dingbashiluo, the first ancestor who founded the Dongba religion had practiced and preached his religious doctrine there, therefore the place is believed to be the origin of the Dongba religion. Owing to this reason people say those who have not gone pilgrimage to Baishuitai cannot be deemed as true Dongba Buddhists. Till now, every year on 8th February (Chinese Lunar calendar) when the surrounding mountains are festooned with flower bossoms, the locals gather here for the festival “er yue ba”, literally translated as “Eighth of February”, which is believed the day of the Dongba founder held his founding ceremony. At that day the local Naxi people sing, dance and slaughter chickens for offering sacrifices to the God of Mountain. Festival ends with smearing the chicken blood on the branches around Baishui Water Terraces to show their esteems. There was no guide around hence we couldn’t ask for more information on this place.
A short hike along broken stairs and rough paths to the terraces –
And along merrily flowing cool streams –
For that first glimpse of the terraces –
And the stunning terraces –
Crystal clear water with the silver bubbles threading up the water –
Water mirroring the clouds in small pools that have collected above the terraces –
Actually looks like celestial being left over fields –
For views like this, fairies could actually come to the human world –
And this is my take on the dragon frolicking in the limpid water –
And other smaller pools and general paths for walking and exploring around –
Gorgeous small pools and shadows that invite you to dip your feet in –
And to top it all, are such stunning vistas all around –
Tips for the trip –
- This can be done as a day trip from Shangri-La as well as Lijiang. Since it’s quite a long drive from both these places, it is normally quite empty.
- There is a ticket that can be bought from the ticketing counter at the Tiger Leaping Gorge.
- There is a short hike and hence the appropriate footwear. Ponies are also available but they drop you just halfway up the climb.