The Stone Forest is loctaed in Lunan County, about 89 km away from Kunming City, Yunnan province. In a region stretching about 400 square kilometers, there abounds with numerous stone formations just like the stone pillars, stalagmite, stone peaks, appearing like a big forest. Hence, it is given the name Stone Forest.
Stone Forest is termed as karst landform in geological study. The formation of this kind of spectacular landscape can be traced back to two hundred million years ago, when it was a vast expanse of ocean. The gradual accumulation of the benthal sediment slowly turned into the deep layers of limestone. Subsequently, the seabed rose and lowered twice under the influence of the crust movement. The limestone cropped up about two million years ago. The long-term natural weathering led to the cracks on the flat rocks, a large piece of rock was cut into big lumps lengthways as the cracks deepened and expanded. It is because the moisture kept flowing and penetrating vertically, the rocks were sharpened and made into various stone peaks, stone pillars, clints, stalagmite and so on.
During millions of years, the nature, with the help of all the natural power such as the erosion of the rain and snow, has molded the limestone in various shapes. Some are made into the pillars, reaching up to 30 to 40 meters in height, which are standing erectly on the ground. The lengthways stripes are set in well-conceived composition. Washed by the rainwater for long, there is an alternation of light and dark color in the stripes of the pillars. Some are in the shape of the bamboo shoot ranging from 3 meters to 30 meters in height. The bottom of stalagmite is a little bit wide, tapering from the bottom to the top. The crest is as sharp as the sword, rising up into the sky. In addition, the densely standing tall peaks are everywhere to be met.
Walking through the alleys in the Stone Forest is just like touring around the art museum. Countless stone peaks have sprung up from the ground, assuming a thousand different shapes, all fanciful and picturesque. These queer stones have stirred up our endless imagination, thus beautiful legends are always associated with them, among which the most famous is the Ashima peak.
Ashima peak is located on the edge of the Stone Forest. Seen from the certain angle, it is very much like a beautiful young girl with a flower basket on her back. It is said to be the incarnation of the girl Ashima of Hani minority in China according to the legend. For the sake of showing respect and admiration upon her, all the people coming here prefer to take the photo with her.
The image of Ashima is the most beautiful in the Stone Forest in Lunan. What's more, there are many other classic stone formations such as Camel peak and Elephant stone. One of the Four Great classical Chinese novels Journey to the West once had its setting here. Coming here, you will definitely marvel at the extraordinary workmanship of the nature.