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 guardians.
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 the bridge.
Colorful Ethnic Customs
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
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 shamans.
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.