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Ancient Kingdom Dian in Kunming

Dianchi Lake is a "plateau pearl" in Kunming, also known as Kunming Lake. Driving along Dianchi Lake not only enables the tourists to see beautiful scenery of the plateau lake but also allows them to appreciate Longmen in Xishan Mountain and the panoramic view of Kunming. Visitors are recommended to travel to ancient Yunnan kingdom to experience the millennium civilization, to stroll the wetland field of Dianchi Lake and to view the landscape of lake and hill. 

Day 1

Step across Longmen and Pass through Ancient Yunnan

Longmen, Xishan Mountain - Ancient Yunnan Kingdom Wetland Park (one hour drive for approximate 50.2 km)

Driving to Xishan Forest Park, the first stop around Dianchi Lake, climb up and look far into the distance, understand the culture of Xishan Mountain, and experience spectacular scenery of Dianchi Lake described in the “longest couplet under heaven”, recalling the past and reflecting current life.


Visiting the Ancient Yunnan Kingdom Wetland Park along Southern Lake Ring Road, you can not only view exquisite bridges, flowing water, tall and jagged trees, easy and foraging egrets, seeming to be a harmonious and beautiful ink painting, exuberant but also experience the "water" cultural and "fishing" cultural connotations of famous ancient Yunnan city. The photography lovers may also reap many works of their own satisfactions.

The architectural design of the Ancient Yunnan Kingdom Wetland Park is of quite Yunnan-style characteristics, and the design is ingenious. The park is decorated with wide range of lavender fields. Pontoons and footpaths are available in the park. Yihai Pier and other attractions are unforgettable. The visitors are allowed to sit on the sightseeing tour, ride a bicycle, or take the boat featured with "long ridge and short ledge" of the ancient Yunnan kingdom to learn the culture of the maritime silk road and the Zheng He.


Xishan Forest Park

Address: 15 km to western suburb of Kunming.

Admission: Free

Info: Xishan Mountain is featured with up-and-down peaks, green forest, buzzing birds, flowing spring in gully stream, splendid and flourishing cloud and nice scenery.

Name: Longmen

Address: Longmen Resort, Xishan National Resort, Xishan Road, Xishan District, Kunming.

Admission price: 40 Yuan per person


Day 2

Shizhai Mountain Ancient Tomb Cluster – Jincheng Ancient Town

Drive to Shizhai Mountain Ancient Tomb Cluster, a major historical and cultural site under state protection. Shizhai Mountain Ancient Tomb Cluster, located in Shizai Village, Shangsuan Township, Jinning County, to the shore of Dianchi Lake five kilometers away, covers an area of 5,000 square meters approximately, is the graveyard for a generation or generations of kings and their families and servants, being the cultural center of Yunnan, an excellent representative of ancient Yunnan-bonze art, and also the representative of bronze cultural relics in southeast Asia and the world civilization.


Since 1955, Shizhai Mountain Ancient Tomb Cluster has been subject to five excavations, a total of 86 combs and over five thousand cultural relics were unearthed. A total of twenty tombs were cleaned up that time, and a large number of bronze ware with extremely local characteristics, excellent casting technique, distinctive shape unearthed. Especially one “Stamp of Yunnan King” with circling & windingbutton in gold texture was found, confirming the records of Records of the Grand HistorianžBiography ofMinorities in southwest China.

Most of burial wares are sourced from big-sized tombs, and such wares are divided into the bronze, gold, silver, iron, jade, agate, turquoise and sea shell and so on. The bronze wares occupy the largest proportion, and they are featured with abundant varieties, exquisite craftsmanship, vivid and lively expression form, showing special culture style of the Bronze Age in Yunnan region. One of the most striking is the shell receptacle, which is a kind of bronze ware used to hide the shell (the currency at that time), being unique to Yunnan Kingdom. From late Warring States Period to early Eastern Han Dynasty, the tombs in Shizhai Mountain faithfully record the history of the kingdom from prosperity to decline.

Jincheng Town, as the capital of ancient Yunnan kingdom, the birthplace and the center of Yunnan culture, has a long history along with a unique pattern of ancient residential courtyard, street and exquisite architectural sculpture. There is also a "bamboo birdcage" listed in the intangible cultural heritage, which can be used for tourists to experience the unique craft of bamboo carving.

By walking into Jincheng Ancient Town, you start to flip down through the commencement of historical records. For sequent two thousand years of feudal dynasties, Jincheng[FS:Page] was named after Dianchi County in both Xihan and Donghan dynasties, and Jincheng ever served as the jurisdiction venue for Yizhou Prefecture, Jinning Prefecture, Ningzhou Prefecture and Jianning Prefecture (the venue of Tribe Cuan and the castle of Yangcheng in Nanzhao Kingdom and Dali Kingdom in Tang and Song dynasties). It is no wonder that Yuan Jiagu, a scholar in modern times said in his work titled with Dian Yi: “The Capital is the center of politics. The center of Yunnan remained in Jinning (Jincheng currently) from the Warring States period to Tang Dynasty.

In Sui Dynasty, Jincheng, as the jurisdiction venue of Ningzhou Prefecture, was expanded with urban area in 3.5 kilometers and added with nine gates and twelve passages by prefectural governor Liang Pi. In the 22ndyear of Chenghua Period in Ming Dynasty (1486), Jincheng was built with the brick castle, enclosures and four gates in eastern, southern, western and northern directions respectively, which were destroyed or renovated in subsequent period with the duration of hundreds of years. The former defensive wall broken was measured with the circumference in 4,100m and height in 4m according the results of field survey in 1954. It was not completely removed until 1958. Fortunately, dwellings and public buildings of the ancient city of Jincheng in Ming and Qing dynasties were mostly intact though the walls were removed, and they still recalled the prosperous scene of ancient city then.


Jincheng Town

Ancient Jincheng town has a special status in the history of architecture and urban construction. The layout of urban construction in Ming and Qing dynasties covering an area over 600,000 square meters still remains. Eight streets including Shangxi Street, Xiaxi Street and Guanjing Street consist of pallets and affiliated with dozens of alleyways, which are said to have been preserved till now since the Ming Dynasty. The residential courtyards kept in the streets are mostly of "stilt" and "one seal" structure, adopting "three principals with four stalls and “two principals with two stalls” in the courtyard layouts.


Panlong Temple

Panlong Temple is one of temples with most prosperous attendance of incense pilgrims in Kunming, which is located in Panlong Mountain, Jinning District, eastern bank of Dianchi Lake, approximately 40 km from downtown Kunming. It is known as one of three major Buddhist shrines in Yunnan together with Xishan Mountain in Kunming and Jizu Mountain in Binzhou, and it was unveiled to be a major historical and cultural site under protection of Kunming in 1983.


Panlong Temple, was built in the seventh year of Zhizheng Period in Yuan Dynasty (AD 1347), which was set up by a monk titled with Lianfeng. For more than 600 years upon its establishment, Panlong Temple suffered from disasters. Most of the buildings in Panlong Temple were destroyed in an 8.0-magnitude earthquake which hit Jinning in the seventeenth year of Daoguan Period in Qing Dynasty (AD 1837). During the reigns of Xianfeng and Tongzhi emperor, some temples were destroyed amid mutinies. Local masses raised money in the fifth year of Guangxu Period in Qing Dynasty (AD1879) to renovate the temple. In the late 1960s, Panlong Temple was further devastated. Fortunately, since the 1980s, the ancient Panlong Temple was successively innovated and has gradually recovered its former appearance.

Panlong Temple is known as one of the three major Buddhist shrines in Yunnan together with Xishan Mountain in Kunming and Jizu Mountain in Binzhou. The temple was built in the seventh year of Zhizheng Period in Yuan Dynasty (AD 1347), which was set up by Monk Lianfeng. The number of disciples became more, and the attendance of worshipers was blooming. Monk Lianfeng passed away shortly after, being consecrated as “Panlong Patriarch”. Panlong Temple is built along the terrain of the mountains. The first, second and third heaven gates are set up in the temple, and the immortalsfrom sects including the Buddhism, Taoist and Confucianism are worshiped in over 20 halls involving Yingxian Bridge, Tuofo Hall, Lvzu Hall, Patriarch Hall, Grand Hall, Jade Emperor Pavilion, Jialan Hall, and the attendance of worshipers in Patriarch Hall, Medicine Buddha Hall. Patriarch Hall, Medicine Buddha Hall and Guanyin Hall are the most blooming.

According to the legend, it was the habitat for the dragon, which hid here. Monk Lianfeng, the patriarch of Panlong Temple, expelled the dragon with the conjuration, then the water of the abyss was drained, andMonk Lianfeng set up the temple here. According to the other saying, previously there were six dragons inhabiting in the abyss, and five out of them were driven away, while the remaining one was not reconciled to be expelled, hence it made wave. Monk Lianfeng made the incantation to have it surrendered and ri[FS:Page]de on it. The believers were increasingly getting more when the temple was set up, and the attendance of worshipers was more and more blooming, Monk Lianfeng passed away shortly after, being consecrated as “Panlong Patriarch”. Then a monk titled with Zuyuan continued to expand Panlong Temple in early Ming Dynasty, and built the Depository of Buddhist Sutras, Guanyin Hall, making Panlong Temple take the shape.According to the Xu Xiake's Travels, “Lianfeng, the founder of Panlong Temple, passed away on August 18 in Zhizheng Period of Yuan Dynasty… then the Panlong Temple Fair lasted till now.”

Address: Panlong Mountain, 3 km to the southeast of Jincheng Town, 

Ticket price: 15 Yuan


(image: Internet)