Baishuitai Culture in Shangri-La, Diqing
Not only are the Bai Shui Terraces a picturesque place, but they are also the birthplace of the Dongba culture of the Naxi Minority Group. It was said that Dingbashiluo, the first saint of the Dongba religion, wasfascinated by the beautiful scenery of the Bai Shui Terraces on his way back from Tibet to Yunnan, anddetermined to settle down and preach Buddhist sutras there;the later generation built a Buddhist temple in memory of him.
The Naxi people hold various kinds of sacrificialactivities to celebrate their traditional festival on the eighth day of the second month of the lunar calendar each year, during which the Naxi people sing and dance around the Bai Shui Terraces to entertain God.
Baishuitai famous for the ortinal birth place of Dongba culture, you have to drive 3 hours from Zhongdian to arrive this place. It is situated in Zhongian County’s Baidi village.
Baishuitai in Naxi means ‘growing flower’. Not only a place of beautiful scenery; it is also one of the birthplaces of Dongba Naxi culture, widely known around the world.
Amid the Haba Snow Mountain is a stretch of crystal terrace — the largest area of sinter terrace in China. Spring water flows down from the mountain, leaving crystallized sodium carbonate along its slopes, giving the impression of a marble sculpture.
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 BaishuiTai 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.
Baishuitai is perfectly reasonable that a special kind of religion can be born in this area. That is why the Naxis have the Dongba Religion, kernel of the Naxi culture. The Baishuitai Terrace means “a growing flower”, and the doctrine of Dongba explains that the color of white presents auspiciousness and sanctity.
According to the Naxi people who believe in the Dongba creeds, any men without any experience of visit to the Baishuitai Terrace cannot be a true believer.
Tradition has it that the first saint of Dongba, Dingba Shiluo, was deeply attracted by the scenery of this place on his way back from Tibet. Without hesitation, he settled down and began his missionary work here. From then on, the Baishuitai Terrace is widely accepted as the Holy Land of the Dongba Religion.
After him came the second saint Ahmingshiluo. Right here he sorted out and perfected the Dongba pictograph and completed many classic in Dongba. The Baishuitai Terrace is the largest tableland of sinter. The terrace-like terrain came into being because of a great deal of sediment of calcium carbonate left by the flowing water from springs.
The surface of the land was covered by the sediment layer and finally transformed into terraced structure. The whole coverage of the mesa is about three square kilometer.
The particular land was the model of the Naxi People’s farming fields, which was, according to the people’s religious beliefs, legendarily demonstrated by the Creator.
As a matter of fact, the Baishuitai Terrace is a milestone in the evolution of the Naxi people’s life-style from rootless nomadism into settled farming.