THE CHINESE RICE TERRACES
Yuanyang County is a home to the world’s biggest and most splendid terraced rice fields in the world which have been cultivated for Hani people.This is located to 326 kilometers to the South of Kunming which is the capital city of Yunnan Province.These are situated on the southern slopes of Ailao Mountain in Yuanyang County.
The Rice Terrace Fields have been cultivated for centuries and it is considered as the distinct self sustaining ecosystem.It is held as an masterpiece for the Hani generations to cultivate it.It is such a typical landscape with unique scenery.
The water flowing down for the irrigation of the fields looks very clear and the air is perfect for strolling which looks like a path to heaven where we can enjoy the beauty of the natural scenery. Yuanyang covers an area of 800 square miles of its agriculture and also the population of Hani minorities.
Hani terraced fields are beautiful with area of 23,005 acres.This terrace is considered as the core area of Hani terrace as the county is slopey with mountains.The terraces on the hill slopes has a slope of 15 to 75 degrees.It raises by 3000 steps forming such a splendid landscape surrounded with forests.
The rice field yields just one crop per year which means that they are either green or filled with water which reflects the beautiful sky with amazing sunrises as well as sunsets.
The rice terraces has been said that it has a 1300 year history from Hani’s ancestors who made the farming system and they took most of the area of Ailao Mountain’s with its nice climate and temperature and set a large vegetation of rice for their living which has adequate water to the terraces.The technology of cultivating the rice terraces has eventually developed.The Hani people’s creativity is known as they uniquely represented the rice terrace in a mountain area which turned out to a perfect beauty in China.Due to their creativity,the Ming Dynasty emperor granted the title as ‘Skillful Sculptor’ to the people and hence their fame was passed to generations.
The rice farmers practiced the farming concepts for centuries to expertise themselves so that they are accepted world wide now.If such hard work and proper irrigation is not maintained,the top soil would have been washed down from the hill sides to the rivers.
The water from mountain springs and rains are flowed to the rice terraces and at the period of winter to early spring,this whole field is irrigated with spring water from forest and the planting occurs from March to November every year.The flowing of the water holds a different and amazing view attracted by many visitors.
Now,these rice terraces are known as ‘Land Sculpture’.These terraces are in a crisscross way moving upwards with a wide range of slopes with a height of 144 to 2000 meters which is a perfect picturesque.The terraces here reach its maximum of 3000 on one mountain slope which is quite a rare thing in both China and the whole world.
The area has a perfect human living environment which suits the rice terraces to grow healthier as they are under supervision.These rice terraces are suitable to watch at any time of the year but the best time is at the time of a subtropical climate from November to April when the view is so beautiful.Also, private vehicles are allowed to watch the spectacular sunrise and sunset.
Yuanyang is also famous for the popular minorities’ life.The Hani people other than tie rice terraces also created integrated farming system involving cattle, fish,buffaloes,ducks.These people worship the nature like sun,moon,mountains, rivers,forests,fire.Every house has different fires which are ever burning as they respect fire which is used for various uses.
The Hani people live in traditional thatched mushroom houses.They believe in social and religious beliefs.They are hospitable and guests are normally treated with wine and they entertain them with songs.They participate in social activities only before marriage.They somehow have some modern thoughts combined with tradition beliefs in marriage matter which is quite interesting. They have a colorful market every day according to the Chinese calendar.They wear colorful traditional clothes which are a sight to see.
The visit to the Yuanyang County means that the tourists can have the most special view of the rice terrace with its great history and also can enjoy the experience of different culture which is quite exciting.The UNESCO considered these rice terraced fields as World Cultural and Natural Heritage Site as it has beautiful culture with amazing landscapes of mountains,forests,seas.It is one of the 17 popular places in China.The special features made this place even more interesting.Even though the tourist number is less,it is gradually increasing and slowly it may lead to people thriving to view this amazing place of natural beauty.