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Location:Jianchuan, Dali, Yunnan

The Shibao Hills of Jianchuan

Located in Shaxi Township,25 km south of Jianchuan County, Shibao (Stone Treasure) Mountain got its present name because in the mountain was a reddish purple rock looking like a stone bell standing on the ground.The grottos are found in three different areas,namely Stone Bell Temple. Lion Pass and Shadeng Valley. The 16 grottos and the 139 statues make up one of the most beautiful grotto complexes in South China.It is also known as the “treasure of the south”.The carving of the grotto continued through the Nanzhao and Dali periods (738-1253 A.D.). The grottos in Shizhong Temple and the statues carved on the rock are the essence of this place.

There are eight grottos and carvings in the Shizhong Temple area. The carvings in the first grotto is” King Yimuxun Discussing Political Affairs” , the second ” King Geluofeng on an Inspection Tour” , the third ” Ksitigarbha” (one of the four Budhisattavas in Chinese Buddhism),the fourth “Three Hua-yan Saints”. the fifth” Wenjipin” (a figure in Vimalakirtinirdesa-sutra),the sixth” Mingwang Hall” , the seventh” Budhisttava Ganlu” , and the eighth” Virgina Ayangbai”. The other three grottos with carvings are scattered in the Lion Pass Area. They are: the ninth grotto with” King Xinuluo and his Concubines and Attendants”. the tenth” Goddess of Mercy Incarnated as an Indian Monk” , and the eleventh ” Persians” . The rest of the grottos are to be found in the Shadeng Valley, with statues of Buddhas and Pusas (Budhisttavas) in the twelfth grotto, a statue of the Acuoye Goddess of Mercy in the thirteenth,statues of one Buddha and his two disciples in the fourteenth, a statue of the Heavenly King Pishamen in the fifteenth, and a statue of the Black Heavenly God in the sixteenth.

As a mixture of Han and Tibetan cultures, the grottos have delicately carved statues.The statues of the royal family of Nanzha, a national key cultural relic, have a distinguishing local ethnic feature.

Other scenic locations in the Shibao Mountain are Haiyun House, Baoxiang Temple and other places of interest. Every year, a grand singing contest of the Bai nationality is held here at the end of the seventh and the beginning of the eighth month of the lunar year.

The optimal season to visit the Shibao Hills is the end of the 7th month and the beginning of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. There is a traditional singing and dancing jamboree held each year, which never fails to enchant visitors.
Jianchuan is 524 km from Kunming. Bus tickets can be purchased from any bus station in Kunming to Jianchuan via Dali.

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