White Water Terrace (Baishuitai) is located in Sanba Township 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the Shangri-La county seat. Measuring 140 meters (about 459 feet) in length and 160 meters (about 525 feet) in width, it is one of the biggest such terraces in China. The terrace is covered by a layer of white deposits of calcium carbonate crystallized in the spring water. In addition to the spectacular terrace itself, visitors can also learn about the ethnic Naxi minority and folklore in the nearby Baidi village.
Among the green mountains it forms a startling white contrast. A spring gushes down from the mountain summit, and flows downward and local people call it a field left by fairies. On the eighth day of the second lunar month, when the mountains surrounding Baishui Terrace are festooned with flower blossoms, the Naxi people come to worship this sacred site. Dressed in their holiday best, they sing and dance to celebrate this ethnic festival.
Spring water gushes down the crystal terrace like a white waterfall from the mountains summit, while the ever thickening sodium carbonate creates the impression of a marble sculpture. It forms a startling contrast to the green mountain. The locals call this amazing natural sight a field left by fairies. On the eighth day of the second lunar month, when the mountains surrounding Baishui Terrace are covered with flower blossoms, the Naxi people come to worship this sacred site. Dressed in their holiday best, they sing and dance to celebrate the ethnic festival.
This area has given birth to the Dongba Religion which forms the core of Naxi cultural values and traditions. The Baishuitai Terrace is a symbol for a growing flower, and a Dongba doctrine explains that the white color represents auspiciousness and sanctity. According to the Naxi people, only a person who actually visits the terrace can be a true believer in the Dongba religion.
The White Water Terrace itself contributed to the evolution of the Naxi people as they ceased to be wandering nomads and instead took up farming in the area.