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Lijiang Stone Drum(Shigu) Town

 

Stone Drum Town(石鼓镇), a tranquil town 53km away from Lijiang, is anonymous decades ago. Now, with rising fame as “The First Turn of Yangtze River”, it has become a hot destination overnight. It is the place where Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau greets Yunnan and three rivers (Yangtze River, Lancang River and Nujiang River) run parallel before bidding farewell to each other. Yangtze River, the biggest river in China and the third largest on earth, originates from Tuotuo River and spans 11 provinces before flowing into the East Sea. It upper section comprises three parts: from west to east there are Tuotuo River, Tongtian River and Jinsha River respectively. Starting from Yushu(玉树) in Qinghai and ending at Yibin(宜宾) in Sichuan, the 2738km long Jiasha River plummets down southwardly into Yunnan until the steep mountains in Stone Drum Town block her way. With passion spending itself, Jinsha River slows down her pace and redirects her course northeastwardly. The abruptly turn she made leaves a bend of almost 270 degrees in Stone Drum Town, creating the natural splendor we see today: a deep V-shaped turning point--- "the first bend of Yangtze River.”

Jinsha River is the most remarkable section of Yangtze River: for one side, it features deep valleys and surging waters such as Tiger Leaping Gorge(虎跳峡)which is of extremely high aesthetic and scientific research value. Second, inhabited by various minorities, it nurtures various culture include Dongba culture, Naxi culture and Sichuan Culture. Seen from afar, Jinsha River resembles a flowing ribbon draping down from the undulating green mountains. Fringed by emerald forests and golden rice fields, Jiasha River in this section distinguishes herself by picturesque scenery and serenity atmosphere. Local residences nestle among the foot of mountains, luring tourists by its crooked alleys, ancient compounds and primitive lifestyle.

Stone Drum Town derives its name from a drum-shaped stone tablet measuring 15m in diameter and 0.7m in thickness, which is the earliest one of its kind discovered in Lijiang. Composed of valleys and hills, Stone Drum Town has an elevation rising from 1864m to 3500m. Since ancient time, Stone Drum Town has served as a key transportation hub, trade center and military stronghold. The local market which opend every three days, has a long history behind. Since ancient time, the Tibetans brought the furs and herbs to trade  commodities such as tea, salt and fabrics here. During Three Kingdom Period(220-280), Zhu Geliang(181-234), a famous military strategist, ordered his armies to go across this river and defeated his rivals successfully. In 1253, the establisher of Yuan dynasty, Kublai Khan leaded his formidable armies to stride across this river westwardly all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. In 1936, the Red Army trekked through this river to during the war against the Japanese invaders under the guide of General He Long. Today, a 8.1 meters high monument has been set up along waterside to memorize the Red Army's heroic deeds. Towering “the first bend of Yangtze River”, it triggers people’s nostalgic feelings about the glorious past. 

 

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Stone Drum Town in Lijiang: Yantze River turns abruptly here

 
 
 
Travel Tips
 
This V-shaped section has become a tourism interest. People come here for photography and hiking

Admission Fee: 5RMB

Location: the intersection of Jinsha River and Chongjiang River, 53km from Lijiang

Weather: From July to September, it is rainy season. The average temperature of the hottest and coldest month is 21℃ and 6.7℃ respectively
 

Local specialties: orchid flowers and weaved hats
Cultural relics here include tombs of Spring and Autumn Period(770BC-221BC) and Tibetan inscriptions.

Best photography site: Standing on the floor of Shigu Town Government Building, you can have a bird’s-eye view of this scenic site.
 
Sightseeing Road: Between Stone Drum Town to Tacheng(塔城), there is a 100km long road at the west bank of Jinsha River which will offer you lyrical countryside scenery intermitted with ancient cultural relics.  

Transportation: You can rent a car or you can stop by during your way to visit Liminlaojun Mountain(黎明老君山)
Depart from Lijiang, there are two roads of the same distance to this site.(65KM). One features good road condition, the other is rugged and more thrilling.
 
 
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Stone Drum Town's Iron Chain Bridge


 
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