Lijiang - The Women's World

Lijiang is about 200 km north of Dali and 544 km from Kunming. Lijiang is the home of Naxi people, who speak a language of the Tibeto-Burman group and dress in black or dark blue. The Naxi were traditionally a matriarchal tribe, whose property was passed through the youngest female child while the men were in charge of gardening, music making and child-rearing. The Naxi orchestras are very distinctive and famous. The Chinese government is undergoing a major effort to revive this traditional art.

The Naxi are also known for their shamanist traditions. The same practices still survive amongst the remote Siberian tribes, in Korea, and in Tibetan communities. The shamans of the Naxi were responsible for transmitting the learning of the tribe into their own pictographic script.
Lijiang City Ratings
** The following ratings are based on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best.
History(8)      Art(7)  Local Culture/Unique Tour(9)
Nature/Scenic(10)  Food/Shopping(7)   Night Life(7)
Religion(8)    Adventure/Sports(7)  Reasonable Cost(9)
Recommended Days of Stay: 3

When to go
Tourist Season - All Year
Getting In and Out
By Bus - Lijiang is about five hours away from Dali (200 km);
By Air - Lijiang is about 40 minutes away from Kunming (544 km). The airport is 28 km from the town.

History


The Naxi people have been living in Lijiang for many centuries. Their most famous king was Mu Tian Wang, the 17th century Naxi king. He was a religious man, instrumental in the growth of the Red Hat Sect of Buddhism in his domain.


Local Culture/Unique Tour
Naxi's Matriarchal Customs * * * * *
The Naxi are matriarchal with walk-in marriages. When a boy turns 14, he has to leave home to find a girlfriend to sleep with. Without a girlfriend, a male sleeps with whomever he can find. There are no marriages. Men are responsible for making music and taking care of children. Please see writings by Yang Fuqua, Peter Goullart, Li Lingcan and Joseph F. Rock to learn more about this topic.

Naxi's Old Town (Daquan Ancient Town) * * * * *
The old part of Lijiang is approximately 800 years old. It is an UNESCO world heritage site. Walking on its pebbled paths through the potted mountain plants and small restaurants is quite interesting and enjoyable.

Nature/Scenic
The Old Route to Lijiang * * *
In the past, one can only get to Lijiang by road from Dali. The 196-km journey through narrow fertile valleys, mountains and forests, glades of rhododendrons and azaleas is simply magnificent. Above the trail, there is the unforgettable view of the Jade Dragon Snow Range above Lijiang.

Black Dragon Pool * * *
This pool is the principal attraction of the town.

Food/ Shopping
Naxi Food
Typical Naxi food is baba - deep fried wheat cake, offered with a variety of fillings.

Local Products
Lijiang is famous for its ethnic goodies, paintings, textiles, and the delicious Naxi Jiu (orange) and Naxi Wine.

Religion
Liuli Temple and Dading Temple * * *
Both temples are in Ming architecture.

Jade Summit Temple (Yu Feng Si) * * *
This temple is famous for its setting in a pine forest, and for a camellia tree which in late February or early March flowers in such profusion that locals claim it has 20,000 blossoms.

Temple of Universal Benefaction (Puji Si) * * *
The temple is nothing special. However, the trip to it includes a pleasant walk up a mountain trail. In the temple, Tibetan thangkas have survived destruction, as have a few Buddha ../images.

Peak of Culture Temple (Wengeng Si) * * *
It was famous in its time as a meditation center. Above the temple is a hole in the earth, near a sacred spring where monks would stay for over three years to engage in intense meditation.

 

 

 
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