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White Water Terraces

Located at the foothills of the Haba Snow Mountains, 101 kilometers (about 62 miles) southeast of the Zhongdian County, the White Water Terraces is known as one of the most attractive destinations in mysterious Shangri-La and is an ancient Chinese landform with a history of 200,000 to 300,000 years. The White Water Terraces

White Water Terraces is covered by a layer of white deposits of calcium carbonate crystallized in the spring water. It is a spectacular karst terrain formed by sediment of calcium carbonate in the spring water. The top of the terrace features a semicircular platform pool, and spring water rises from the mountaintop and flows downward. Over many years, calcium carbonate crystals contained in the streamwater have accumulated wherever the stream flows. As a result, the natural terraces look as though they are made of white marble - as if a silver waterfall tumbles through the green mountains. The spring water reaches the rim of one shallow basin and silently trickles into another, leaving exquisitely patterned tracks.

Local people also call White Water Terraces the "Paddy Fields created by the 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.

White Water Terraces 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 legend, the first saint of the Dongba Religion was attracted by the fascinating scenery of this place on his way back from Tibet. He then stopped to missionize here. Later, the White Water Terraces became known as the Holy Land of the Dongba Religion. And to the Naxi people, only a person who actually visits the terrace can be a true believer in the Dongba religion.


White Water Terraces Tour

During the autumn, the mountains around the White Water Terraces will be covered by various bright-colored flowers and leaves. Amid the mountains, the Baishui Tableland will form a spectacular white contrast.