Dali – Three Pagodas Complex

Before hitting Lijiang, we had spent a day and a night in Dali, a truly lovely town by the side of a long and beautifully blue lake, with tall green
mountains on the west side and medium brownish dry mountains on the east
side. Dali itself was — a thousand years ago or so — seat of the Nanzhou
kingdom, established when the Bai minority (said to have settled this
region perhaps 3000 years ago) fought off the Tang dynasty to establish their own base of power, which lasted until Kublai Khan (of the Yuan dynasty, for those keeping track) retook the region in the 13th C.

Aside from its stunning natural setting, Dali’s key claims to tourist fame are the three pagodas complex (the eponymous structures shown here, along with a few newly built and quite impressive temples which seemed, to my
sophomoric eye, to be rather in the Tang style — not surprising if true, as
the pagodas were first built during the Tang dynasty [mid-8th C, by engineers from Xi’an, not long before the Bai established independence from the Tang], about which see much more further down, in my presentation of a weekend in Xi’an), and its lovely and well-maintained old town with canals and many attractions (from quite nice restaurants to shopping galore) for tourists of all stripes. (PS Lonely Planet tells us these are some of the oldest standing structures in Southwest China.)

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