An incredible sight - beautifully shaped semi-circles with flowing water, seasonally turning white is the mystery of this area of Shangri-la. White Water Terraces, also named the Baishuitai Tableland, is located in the foothills of the Haba Snow Mountains, about 101 kilometers (62 miles) southeast of Shangri-la County in China. It is known as one of the most attractive destinations in Shangri-La and is an ancient Chinese land form with a history of over 250,000 years.
The spring water runs down along the slope of the mountain, leaving an impression of a large white jade carving among the green mountain. Because of the Tableland’s similarity to the terraced rice fields, the locals call it “a field left by the fairies.” To the left of the Tableland, there is a pool and a moon-shaped platform that is said to be the “dresser of the fairies.”
The step-like land form is from the continual deposits of calcium carbonate that are contained in the spring water. Every year, the surface of the land is covered by the deposits and finally transformed into the terraced structure you see today. The Baishui Tableland covers an area of three square kilometers (about 741 acres).
Besides being a beautifully scenic spot, the Baishui Tableland is also the birthplace of the Dongba culture of the Naxi Minority Group. According to legend, the first saint of the Dongba religion was attracted by the fascinating scenery of this place on his way back from Tibet. He stopped to complete his missionary work here. The White Water Terraces eventually became known as the Holy Land of the Dongba religion. Each year on the eighth day of the second lunar month, the Naxi people will gather here to celebrate their traditional festival by singing and dancing all day and night.