The magical stone forest or Shilin situated in China’s Yunnan Province is a spectacular expanse of limestone structures which have become a popular visitor attraction due to their unusual formations.
These rock formations appear to protrude from the earth in a manner resembling stalagmites. Some of these structures resemble petrified plants and trees, thereby making the area look like a stone forest. Acclaimed as a natural wonder, this area occupies an area of many square kilometres, making it an engrossing site to explore.
The multitude of rocky formations protrudes from the ground in strange and unusual shapes in many different layers. These amazing structures seem to form shapes like shoots of bamboo, animals, flowers, pagodas and other fascinating figures. If you ascend up on to one of the larger structures you will see a mesmerising array of valleys and peaks, forming improbable shapes like a fantastic landscape. The local roads and pathways wind their way through the formations, leading the visitor to an enthralling array of spectacular sights, each seemingly more wonderful than the last.
According to the research of Chinese as well as foreign geologists this site is more than 250 million years in age, having been an ocean at one time. At some point the oceans receded, leaving giant boulders and rocks. In the course of time these rocks were steadily eroded by the streaming waters, leaving behind the spectacular formations to be seen today. Even now you will find tranquil lakes amidst the stone formations, shining like silver mirrors.
The area is also intertwined with numerous local stories and legends. One of these legends describes how Ashima, a beautiful local girl, was forbidden from marrying her chosen lover. Instead she ran into the forest in despair and was magically transformed into a rock. This rock may be seen today and indeed it does resemble the form of a young woman wearing a local kerchief.
Visitors who take the time to explore the stone forest will invariably be enthralled by these magical wonders of nature.
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Pushpitha Wijesinghe is an experienced independent freelance writer. He specializes in providing a wide variety of content and articles related to the travel hospitality industry.