SHILIN STONE FOREST
South China is known for having the most complex and fascinating karst
landscapes in the world.
The Shilin stone forest has been a major attraction for thousands of years, and a source of local myths and legend. It is an amazing place to visit, and sees many tourists eager to see the majestic rock formation 'growing' out of the ground. The area is full of caves, springs and underwater streams and rivers to explore.
Imagine a forest full of trees. Now imagine all the trees are actually rocks, 'growing' out of the ground, some of them as old as 270 million years, over an area of 96,000 acres.
The Ashima rock is the most famous formation in the stone forest. An ancient legend claims that the forest is the birthplace of Ashima, a beautiful girl of the Yi people. She had fallen in love but was forbidden to persue it, and instead was turned to stone in the forest that still bears her name. Each year, on June 24th, the locals celebrate the 'torch festival', which includes folk dancing and wrestling competitions.
Karst rock is made of limestone, and this rocky landscape is filled with secret caves and sinkholes, due to undergrounds streams slowly eroding the rock and creating fascinating new structures, so no rock is like the other.
The South China Karst has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site since 2007.
Clancy's comment: Looks like an enchanting place.