Kunming, Yunnan: City of Flowers and Poetry

Panorama of Kunming (courtesy of BMCL)

Panorama of Kunming (courtesy of BMCL)

After touring the Sichuan province, we made our way to Yunnan province located in the western part of China. In ancient times (circa 2nd century B.C.E.), Kunming was one of the main stops along the Southwest Silk Road that spanned from X’ian to India. Today, it is the home of more than 26 ethnic groups—the largest being the Bai people.

As the “City of Eternal Spring,” Kunming has flowers blooming all-year-round. Every day the bustling flower market opens at 3-5AM, during which many businessmen bid, buy, and sell local flora. More than 40 floral species are grown in the Yunnan province to be used as essential oils, a profitable enterprise.

Attraction List:

  • Bamboo Monastery
    (August 10)
  • Golden Temple (August 19)
  • Stone Forest (Shilin)
    [August 19]
  • Dynamic Yunnan song and dance show
    (August 19)

August 10, 2012

Golden rhinoceros relief symbolizes the founding symbol of the Bamboo Monastery, Kunming

The founding symbol of the Bamboo Monastery, Kunming

Our first stop in Kunming with our guide, Lulu, was a visit to the Bamboo Monastery.

Legend says that two royal brothers pursued a white rhinoceros into the Yu’an Mountain, where the animal vanished. Instead of the rhinoceros, the brothers beheld the sight of six monks holding bamboo walking sticks.

Upon seeing the two brothers, the monks vanished leaving behind their sticks in the ground. The following day a bamboo forest grew in their place, marking holy land. In reverence for the land, a Buddhist temple was built in the monks’ honor.

Bamboo Monastery, Kunming

Bamboo Monastery, Kunming

In truth, the Bamboo Monastery was established in 1280 (Yuan Dynasty). This monastery is famous for 500 lively, colorful Buddhist arhats (luohans) by artist, Li Guangxiu, from the 1880s (Qing Dynasty). Continue reading