Nujiang River Gorge
Nujiang River Gorge is flanked by two 4,000-meter-high
mountains. The mountain peaks on the two sides have
an average altitude of over 3,000 meters. The gorge
is located in Yunnan Province in southwestern China,
an area rich in ethnic minority culture. It is now
a first choice for many domestic and foreign travelers.
through the gorge, one enjoys the view of high mountains, blue skies
and white clouds. The gorge stretches from its narrowest point,
only 20 to 30 meters, to the widest point, about 100 meters. The
mountains are steep and feature odd shapes, some resembling knife's
edge, a squatting lion or a galloping horse. Clouds and fogs linger
between the mountains while swift torrents of the Nujiang River
echo through the gorge. The mountain slopes are covered with trees
and bushes, and on top of the mountains there are tall trees like
Halfway up the mountain are villages
the Lisu and Nu people. The view is so enrapturing that
a stroll through this part of the mountain makes one
feel as if walking on clouds. And below one may mistake
the farm fields that cover the mountain for a poster.
Along the mountains runs a varying
current, which in some places is calm and in others
is swift. The waterfalls atop the mountain and half
way down the stretch of the river also vary in current
from fast-moving rapids to tranquil pools.
Lisu minority costume
top of the Gaoligong Mountain, there is a big round cave. From afar
it looks like a full moon, hence its name Moon Mountain. Interestingly
a related inexplicable event happened in March 18, 1983. A giant
white marble stone fell down and dropped right into a middle school
at the foot of the mountain. Strangely, it fell down onto an empty
open space, bringing no damage at al to the school. Nobody knows
for sure where the stone came from, but a cave about the size of
the stone sits on top of the opposite mountain.
The Nujiang is a mysterious river.
No floods have occurred, and there are various kinds
of bridges that lie across it, including ancient vine
bridges, iron chain bridges and modern reinforced cement
Sliding along the bridge is an interesting
and exciting experience. The vine or chain bridges are
tied to stone anchors on each of the two banks. People
secure themselves with a rope, holding to the chain
with a bamboo hook or a pulley, then slide to the opposite
bank. Sometimes, the local people also bring their farming
or fishing equipment and goats with them to slide across
a dozen ethnic minorities live along the Nujiang River region, including
the Lisu, Nu and Drung people. The ethnic people there are simple,
honest and hospitable. They are good at singing and dancing.
When the Lisu people receive guests,
it is the guests' honor to drink the Tongxin Wine. The
Lisu custom is to have two people drink from the same
cup, regardless of gender, hold the cup together with
each other's faces and mouths touching, and drink the
cup in one breath. This way of wine drinking is an expression
of the Lisu people's respect for their guests.
The Lisu people also have maintained
the custom of taking the Spring Bath. From the second
to the sixth day of the first lunar month, local people
gather in the hot springs 12 kilometers from the Liuku
Town, bringing food and clothes with them. After putting
up their tents, they take off their clothes and jump
into the hot springs. Young people gather together and
sing to express their happiness. In recent years, some
new activities were added to the Spring Bath tradition,
such as climbing up a knife ladder and dragon dance
to attract more tourists.
The Drung people have the custom
of butchering an ox to offer a sacrifice to heaven.
On the sacrificial day, everyone changes to new clothes
and gathers at the butchering ground. First two shamans
drink wine while the villagers beat gongs and provide
the wine. Then wizards sing and dance, grasping a long
spear while drinking. Gradually getting close to the
ox before suddenly kill it. Afterwards, the villagers
pray to the mountain and split the beef and its organs
amongst themselves; the head is only given to the two
The Nujiang River Gorge still has
preserved cultural traditions, making it an ideal place
to explore. Touring to the Nujiang River Gorge, one
should first take the plane to Kunming, transfer to
Baoshan, and then take a three-hour bus ride to Liuku
Town, capital of Nujiang Prefecture.