The Shibao ( Stone Treasure ) Hills of Jianchuan
Located in Shaxi Township,25 km south of Jianchuan County,Shibao (Stone Treasure) Mountain got its present name because in the mountain was a reddish purple rock looking like a stone bell standing on the ground.The grottos are found in three different areas，namely Stone Bell Temple.Lion Pass and Shadeng Valley.The 16 grottos and the 139 statues make up one of the most beautiful grotto complexes in South China．It is also known as the "treasure of the south".The carving of the grotto continued through the Nanzhao and Dali periods (738-1253 A.D.).The grottos in Shizhong Temple and the statues carved on the rock are the essence of this place.
There are eight grottos and carvings in the Shizhong Temple area.The carvings in the first grotto is" King Yimuxun Discussing Political Affairs" , the second " King Geluofeng on an Inspection Tour" , the third " Ksitigarbha" (one of the four Budhisattavas in Chinese Buddhism),the fourth "Three Hua-yan Saints". the fifth" Wenjipin" (a figure in Vimalakirtinirdesa-sutra),the sixth" Mingwang Hall" , the seventh" Budhisttava Ganlu" , and the eighth" Virgina Ayangbai". The other three grottos with carvings are scattered in the Lion Pass Area. They are: the ninth grotto with" King Xinuluo and his Concubines and Attendants". the tenth" Goddess of Mercy Incarnated as an Indian Monk" , and the eleventh " Persians" . The rest of the grottos are to be found in the Shadeng Valley, with statues of Buddhas and Pusas (Budhisttavas) in the twelfth grotto, a statue of the Acuoye Goddess of Mercy in the thirteenth，statues of one Buddha and his two disciples in the fourteenth, a statue of the Heavenly King Pishamen in the fifteenth, and a statue of the Black Heavenly God in the sixteenth.
As a mixture of Han and Tibetan cultures, the grottos have delicately carved statues.The statues of the royal family of Nanzha, a national key cultural relic, have a distinguishing local ethnic feature.
Other scenic locations in the Shibao Mountain are Haiyun House, Baoxiang Temple and other places of interest. Every year, a grand singing contest of the Bai nationality is held here at the end of the seventh and the beginning of the eighth month of the lunar year.
The optimal season to visit the Shibao Hills is the end of the 7th month and the beginning of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. There is a traditional singing and dancing jamboree held each year, which never fails to enchant visitors.
Jianchuan is 524 km from Kunming. Bus tickets can be purchased from any bus station in Kunming to Jianchuan via Dali.
This region has plenty of nearby attractions, including other mountains, ancient sites, temples, caves, forests, hiking areas, historic towns and traditional markets. Precious Stone Mountain is southeast of the Three Parallel River (Jinsha, Lancang, Nujiang) Nature Reserve area that is the center of one of the world's key "biosphere hotspots." The region is very important to protect. UNESCO put The Three Parallel River Nature Reserve area on the list of World Natural and Cultural Heritage Sites in 2002. Shaxi Township is only about 4 hours away from both Dali and Lijiang. Lijiang was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. Lijiang is famous for its layout. In nearby Dali, you can visit the ancient district and see the Three Pagodas that date from the Nanzhao and Dali Kingdom eras, hike on Cangshan Mountain and visit Erhai Lake. The historical Bai town of Xizhou is located close to Dali.
The Shaxi Valley is midway between the major tourist destinations of Lijiang and Bali, so travel isn’t difficult. About the easiest and quickest way to travel there is on the road by bus, private car or taxi. A road connects Lijiang and Dali, and the valley is west of the road. A side road that enters the valley intersects with the main road at the little town of Diannan. The distance from Diannan to Shaxi is about 25 kilometers. There is also bus service from the town of Jinchuan on the main road 9 kilometers north of Diannan. Travel from Dali to Shaxi takes about 3 and a half or 4 hours. Travel from Lijiang to Shaxi takes about three hours. Travel from Kunming takes about 9 hours.
You can also take a cruise boat from Jianchuan or even from as far away as Dali to see the countryside. From Jianchuan, buses head for Xiaguan Airport in the modern district of Dali. The flight from Dali to Kunming takes 45 minutes.
Latest Tips on Precious Stone Mountain
1. There are small hotels and restaurants in front of Shizhong Temple you can also get board and lodging.
2. Be careful about petty thievery. Most of the people are quite poor, with an annual income of only about 140 dollars. Scamming or people simply taking a foreigner’s money and then walking away or giving less than the correct change is common enough. For small purchases, try to carry small (5, 10, 20 RNB) bills. If you are hiking in the mountains, it is a good idea to travel with a companion for safety.
3. The weather in the mountains is changeable and somewhat adverse, so if you are hiking, be prepared.
4. A good way to see the sights in the valley is by rented bicycle.
5. The Shaxi Township native market takes place every Friday from around 11:00 am to about 2:00 pm.