Shaxi Ancient Town

Shaxi Ancient Town

Shaxi, located southwest of Jianchuan, Yunnan Province, it is at the foot of the famous Shibao Mountain. Shaxi Ancient Town was an import stop along ‘The Ancient Tea Horse Road’. It still retains the most original architectural features. It has beautiful scenery, pleasant climate and abundant resources.

Quick Facts
  • Chinese name: 沙溪古镇 Shā Xī Gǔ Zhèn
  • Constructed: Spring and Autumn Period
  • Suggested time: 6-8 hours
  • Ticket: free
  • Address: 084 County Road, Jianchuan County, Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture
  • Open hours: 10.00 – 20.00
  • Best time to visit: February to May, on the eighth day of the second lunar month, there is a Prince Celebration (a religious festival). It’s the grandest festival in Shaxi.
  • How to get there:
    1. Buses to Shaxi all set off from Jianchuan County. There are buses from Dali Ancient City to Jianchuan every 15 minutes (8.00-17.00) from the North Coach Station (3.5 hours’ drive; 35 yuan per person).
    2. There are mini cars to Shaxi at Jianchuan Station or Diannan Town Station (45 minutes’ drive, around 10 yuan per person).

Highlights of the town

Xingjiao Temple

It is the only remaining Bai ‘Atoli’ Buddhist temple in the Ming Dynasty. The murals and carvings in it are worth looking at. Every ethnic festival, the Bai children of the town put on their own festive costumes, playing the leading three strings and gathering together. On the street, people sing and dance on the stage, every street is crowded. The believers are in the temple worshipping their gods. One of the grandest festivals is the annual Lunar New Year's Eve party.

Si Deng Street (the Millennium Market)

ancient theatersAncient theaters

Si Deng Street is the soul and core of Shaxi. Located at the top of the Shanfeng Mountain in the center of Shaxi Dam, it is the place to do trade. The top of the ‘S’ large curved ring of Heihui River is a feng shui treasure with excellent location and that’s the exact location of Si Deng Street. It was also a collection of temples, ancient theaters, shops, horse shops, open red sandstone slabs, century-old ancient trees, ancient lanes, and gateways. It has been recognized by the experts of the World Monumental Foundation as the only surviving ancient market on the ancient tea-horse road!


Prince Celebration

The Prince Celebration is a traditional folk activity in Shaxi Ancient Town. Every year on the eighth day of the second lunar month, there will be a grand folk religious festival, commonly known as the ‘Prince Club’. At that time, everyone would wear red and green on them, parading to the Xingjiao Temple and Huinv Street. Local strong men will parade with the statues of the Prince and the Buddha. You could also see the Buddhist team, the Taoist team, and the Dongjing band on this day. The temple would be full of dancing people. A delightful long night will not end till the next morning.

Shibaoshan Song Event

The Shibao Mountain Song Festival from July 27th to August 1st of the lunar calendar will last forever. During the song festival, young men and women from eight counties and cities in Dali, Lijiang, Nujiang, Heqing, Yunlong, Wuyuan, Lanping and another three prefectures dressed in festive costumes, gather in Shibaoshan to play three-string and sing love songs. It is a typical event for young people in Dianxi to get to know others.

Torch festival

torch festival

The Torch Festival is called ‘affluency’ (meaning the emperor of June), ‘salvation frame’ (salary festival) in Bai language. In Chinese it is written as ‘Star Festival’, which is commonly known as the ‘Torch Festival’. It is a festival for the Bai people to worship the fire god. It was on June 25th of the lunar calendar.

Local God Celebration

The worship of ‘the lord’ is a unique religious belief of the Bai people. The local god is the Lord of the present and is the protector of the region. The gods listed as the Lord have mostly made contributions to people. Their statues are often carved from pines and cypresses. The shapes are simple and vivid, and they are rich in local characteristics. Every year, the birthday of the Lord will be held in a grand meeting, ranging from one to three days. During the celebration, a variety of cultural activities such as singing, playing cattle, singing Bai songs are all for a welcome for the god.

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