Travel on Ancient Tea & Horse Road, From Shangri_La to Dong Lian Hua Village - China Sept.2015
Before coming to Shangri La, I read a little about the old tea road in the area. The tea road is an old trade route starting from Myanmar and Laos in the south and extending to Tibet in the north. It is located in the northern part of Shangri La Tea Road. This time I wanted to travel south. My aim was to go to the Muslim village of Dong Lian Hua, which is also south of Dali and has an important place in the tea trade. First I went to Dali by bus and traveled for a few days. Dali City, formerly known as Tali, is the county-level seat of the Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture in northwestern Yunnan, its former name Xiaguan. I became friends with the imam during my Eid al-Adha photography works at the Xiaguan Mosque in Dali. When I told Imam about my travel idea, he offered he wanted to take me with his car to Dong Lian Hua. We reached Dong Lian Hua by visiting Muslim villages together. These villages were founded by Muslim soldiers from Central Asia sent to Yunnan by the first emperor of China's Mongol dynasty of the Yuan(1271-1368). During the Ming and Qing dynasties, they became involved in the trade as caravan leaders on the Tea and Horse Road. The courtyards and mansions of the village of Donglianhua show how successful these Chinese Muslim traders were. There was a museum established in the village in memory of the tea road.