The Naxi's are one of the last practitioners of the pictograph language still in use today. They claim that it can be read by anyone without being taught. Dongba is the culture they follow as well as the name of their religion and shamans.
We were lucky to have witnessed the three day Torch Festival during our two days stay there. The Torch Festival is an important traditional festival of many ethnic groups in Yunnan Province. The Naxis celebrate this festival to protect their crops from destructive insects by fire whereas the Yi Group firework version is to serve as a warning to ghosts and for keeping away the evil spirits. They set up giant torches by bundling pine woods together decorated with flowers and lit on streets around the old town. Some of the locals gathered around the flaming bonfire singing and dancing to their hearts' content.
On our second day, we hired a van and went to the Tiger Lake (Lashi Hai) 15km from the booming tourist town of Lijiang. It's a natural reservoir of plant and animal species including several species of birds which winter there. It is a grassland with mountains surrounding it. Horses could be hired to tour the distant places and around the grassland. Once we reached the spot, we found that it was highly overpriced. Having visited the grassland in Inner Mongolia, I wasn't very impressed with the place plus I probably had food poisoning and wasn't feeling well at all. So we just wandered around the grassland on foot then went back to the old town.
We rented bikes the same day and toured the city. I always enjoy pedaling through the unfamiliar roads and discovering new places. With the weather just ideal for the ride, we went to a place where at one end there is a large square with a waterwheel. Here too was swamped with tourists. We spent a few hours there taking pictures and then headed back to our hotel. We went out walking again in the evening, had dinner beside the canal and took in the beauty of the old town to be ever imprinted in my mind.