China Daily - - HOLIDAY | TRAVEL - By LI YANG

The longevity of Bama peo­ple, to some ex­tent, dis­tracts the at­ten­tion of vis­i­tors from its pic­turesque karst land­scape, es­pe­cially the caves.

The most pop­u­lar one is Baimo Cave, or the Cave of a Hun­dred Devils. Although rather than be­ing the abode of malev­o­lent spir­its, it was home to ser­pents, bats and boars be­fore it was dis­cov­ered.

The cave is a sink­hole, a saucer­shaped sur­face de­pres­sion pro­duced when un­der­ly­ing lime­stone dis­solves, or when caves col­lapse. It is 80 me­ters high and 70 me­ters wide on av­er­age, and the tourist route within the sink­hole is more than 4 kilo­me­ters long.

The sub­ter­ranean nether­world hosts dozens of types of karst for­ma­tions, in­clud­ing crys­talline sta­lag­mites and sta­lac­tites, with the tallest stand­ing nearly 40 me­ters high. The sands of time have fused some into hour­glass-shaped pil­lars, and some are mir­ror im­ages of each other. It’s said water drip­ping from the ceil­ing adds one-fifth of a mil­lime­ter to the sta­lag­mites’ tips each year. Their sur­faces un­du­late with the ac­cu­mu­la­tions of sed­i­men­tary min­er­als col­lected over hun­dreds of mil­len­nia.

What con­sti­tutes the cave’s an­ima is the jade-green sub­ter­ranean water, which is the Panyang River, Bama’s mother river, which me­an­ders through a val­ley form­ing a huge Chi­nese char­ac­ter of

ming, or life. In the lower reaches of the river is Bainiaoyan Cave, or the Cave of Hun­dreds of Birds. The Panyang River flows into the cave and be­comes a sub­ter­ranean river again. The cave is more than 1,000 me­ters deep, 40 to 50 me­ters wide and about 16 me­ters high. The ceil­ing of the cave is like a dome above the river spiked with sta­lac­tites of var­i­ous shapes. There are some open­ings in the ceil­ing in the mid­dle of the cave, like sky­lights.

An­other cave not far from Baimo Cave is called Crys­tal Palace. The en­trance to the cave is in the mid­dle of the slope of a karst peak. The cave was not found un­til it was ac­ci­den­tally found by lo­cal res­i­dents in 2004.

The cave is more than 1,000 me­ters deep, 8 to 50 me­ters wide and 10 to 80 me­ters high. It boasts the largest group of crys­tal and translu­cent sta­lag­mites and sta­lac­tites groups in China.

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