What wonders happen in the Stone Forest of Madagascar?
What wonders happen in the Stone Forest of Madagascar? Photo: Depositphotos
A fairy tale fantasy based on Madagascar’s folktales and tales.
- The indigenous people of Madagascar believed that the souls of dead people move into lemurs.
- The island has the so-called Stone Forest, rock formations that resemble an impenetrable stone forest.
- Endemic of Madagascar, the orchid Angrecum one and a half feet with large, fragrant, white flowers, resembling a star, also called the star of Madagascar.
- The Stone Forest is home to rare white lemurs. Lemurs are endemics of Madagascar.
- Thorny thickets are the name of the forests in the south of Madagascar, where the trees with thorns and bushes with stiff branches grow predominantly.
In ancient times, before humans settled on Madagascar, a kingdom of lemur men flourished in a hidden corner of the island in the middle of a fertile valley. The valley was protected from uninvited guests by prickly thickets, the Stone Forest, impregnable sea shores and steep mountains.
There lived in the kingdom, at first glance, ordinary people. They were famous for their health and longevity. But after death miracles began: at the last moment of life their bodies disappeared without a trace, and in their place appeared tiny white lemurs.
The babies were to be carried to the Stone Forest in a designated place. There they would be picked up by a white lemur and nimbly disappear into the stone wilds. No one could go further than that. Anyone who tried to enter the thicket was lost without a trace.
…One summer day the queen gave birth to a long-awaited daughter. When the happy father first took the baby into the garden, she immediately stretched out her arms to the dazzling white flowers that exuded an enchanting aroma. They were starflowers – the most beautiful in the kingdom.
According to tradition, the inhabitants of the kingdom were given names after the plants. The princess was named Starflower.
Starflower loved plants, but she was especially friendly with starflowers. The girl could sit near them for hours and listen to their countless stories about life in other worlds. One day she asked to hear about the mysterious Stone Forest, to which the flowers replied:
– When your time comes, you will know.
Growing up, the princess would often walk to the forest and stare enchanted at its sharp peaks. It seemed to her that she could see hidden paths among the peaked stone trees.
Starblossom tried to inquire about the stone thickets from her friend, Forest Flower. But he answered, as did her favorite flowers:
– When your time comes, you will know.
Then the princess went to the chief sage of the kingdom and asked:
– Tell me about the Stone Forest.
But he looked anxiously into her eyes and said:
– When your time comes, you will know.
Starblossom was impatient and determined to find out what secrets this impregnable forest hides. “I can see the path, I’ll follow it, talk to the flowers that grow along it, and come back,” she thought, but her feet carried her to the forbidden place.
Here was the path. The girl stepped onto it and took a few hesitant steps. But the further she moved, the more confident her gait became. The path ended, but it was as if she were no longer walking, but hovering over the treacherous thicket.
Suddenly there was a low, pitiful squeak. Starflower turned her head in the direction of the voice and saw a baby lemur stuck in a crevasse. The baby was unsuccessfully trying to hold on to the smooth surface of the rock. But his strength was running out, and he was inexorably slipping down into a deep crevice filled with sharp fragments of rock.
The girl, without thinking, rushed to the rescue. She grabbed the baby, put him in a safe place, but she herself could not hold on to the steep rock and fell into the terrible abyss.
Forest Flower, not finding her friend in the garden and suspecting trouble, rushed to the forest. He ran up to the stone trees at the moment when a wounded white lemur was climbing out of a crevasse. The child sitting in the niche was trying to explain something to him.
The young man realized what had happened. He took off his shirt as he went, tore it into strips, and came close to the lemur and bandaged his wound. It only tilted its head sadly and disappeared into the stone thicket.
Forest Flower had heard from the elders that it was very rare that a man who had gone to the stone forest at an early age and turned into a lemur could return to humans and live out his life. But how it happens, he did not know.
The young man hoped that the flower-stars would help him. But when he entered the garden, he froze in horror – they all wilted. Before his eyes the flowers shriveled and dried up, and soon all that was left of them was a handful of white-green dust.
“If the chief sage of the kingdom won’t help, no one else will,” Forest Flower thought sadly, and headed toward him.
The sage seemed to know what had happened. He asked the young man:
– Do you love Starflower?
– Yes!” he answered. – I can’t live without her.
– Lemurs don’t just bring back people who turn into animals. There is only one way: if a lemur-Starflower inhales the fragrance of a starflower, in a moment he becomes a man. But the lemur king, knowing this, will hurry to marry her off to one of his sons. After that nothing will bring her back to human form.
– But all the star-flowers in the king’s garden are dead,” said the young man.
– ‘That’s all right,’ replied the wise man, ‘there are such flowers on the other side of the island in the Rainforest. But only one of them has miraculous powers, and it is guarded by an eternally hungry giant boa constrictor. Like all living creatures, the boa constrictor has a weakness – he loves honey. As he smells its sweet aroma, he loses his head and is ready to do anything to get at least a drop of this delicacy. When he swallows the honey, he falls asleep for a few moments, but then he wakes up and goes on the rampage against everyone who comes near.
– Show me the path to the rain forest,” he asked.
– My helper, Green Eye, will go with you. She will guide you.
When she heard her name, the lizard looked out from behind a rock. Sage said something softly to her, and she quickly ran to the feet of Wildflower, said:
– Let’s go to my house for honey first,” said the young man.
– Time is of the essence,” replied the wise man, entering the house.
Soon he came out and, handing the young man a bag full of honey, said:
– Take it! The pouch contained food and a jar of the most fragrant honey this island has.
After thanking the old man, Forest Flower and the lizard set off on their long journey. The lizard knew safe and short trails, and after a while they came to the Rain Forest.
Upon entering the forest, the young man immediately heard a familiar scent – only starflowers could smell like that. He could see a lot of them. The lizard stopped:
– Now walk very quietly, so as not to frighten the boa constrictor.
After a while, the scent intensified, and the young man picked up a strange, sweet and intoxicating scent. There was a rustling sound: the guard, having smelled strangers, was preparing to attack. Forest Flower stopped, took out a jar of honey and said Green-eye:
– Help me: I will distract the boa constrictor, and when he, after sipping his favorite treat, falls asleep, pluck the flower and run away. I will catch up with you.
Opening the jar, the young man parted the bushes. Right in front of him he saw a sinister mouth and the body of a boa constrictor ready to throw. But the next moment, smelling the aroma of honey, the boa constrictor sank down and with a begging voice muttered:
– Good man, give me just a drop of your food.
Forest Flower did not have to beg, he bowed and handed the boa constrictor a vessel. It stuck out its tongue and quickly dipped it into the honey. In the next instant it plopped down on the grass.
The lizard, meanwhile, plucked a flower and raced down the path. The young man took off his belt and firmly tied the tail of the boa constrictor, which was already stirring, to a tree. Then he put a jar of honey in front of its mouth and hurried to chase the lizard.
Soon the travelers set foot on their native land. The lizard headed for the sage, and Forest Flower for the Stone Forest. From afar he noticed a cub on the rock that had climbed up on its mother’s back and was looking at the approaching man. Its face lit up with a smile; it recognized the youth.
Forest Flower stepped closer and asked the lemur to take him to the king.
– No humans are allowed in here-your time hasn’t come yet,” he heard him reply.
Then the young man explained what had recently happened here, and the cub confirmed his words.
– How may I help you? – The lemur asked anxiously. – Now in the palace there is a wedding preparation and strangers are not allowed.
– Can you give the bride a gift from me, a flower star? – With hope in his voice said Forest Flower.
– I will try to help you, good man.
Lemur left the cub under the human’s care and disappeared into the thicket of stone trees.
The time seemed to drag on endlessly. But then, at last, the lemur appeared, followed by the girl, treading carefully on the ledges of rocks.
…Soon Forest Flower and Starflower were married. They lived a long and happy life. And when their time came, they died in one day and turned into lemurs, who went to the Stone Forest.
The Stone Forest in Madagascar, China and the Valley of Bulgaria – tips for tourists
The Stone Forest is not only in Madagascar. Clusters of rocky blocks can boast the people of China and Bulgaria. These areas differ from each other, but they are all considered nature reserves. The nature of some of them has long been defined, and the origin of others can only be guessed.
The Stone Forest in Madagascar
The Stone Forest on the island of Madagascar is located in the Cingy de Bemaraha Nature Reserve. The first word of the name of the reserve translates as “a place where one cannot walk barefoot” or “a place where one walks on tiptoe”. This is due to the fact that there is not a single flat piece of land in the area with stone trees.
In 1990, the forest of stone trees in Madagascar was included in the list of world heritage of UNESCO. It became a nature reserve in 1927.
See a story about the island:
What it is and how it was formed
The entire area of the rock forest in Madagascar is 50-70 m high and has razor-sharp peaks. The karst peaks are arranged in straight, broad rows. Hardy, shade-loving trees and other plants grow between them.
From a bird’s eye view, the forest appears not gray, but blue or blue. From this vantage point, the beauty of the area can not be better seen.
For tourists in the stone forest in Madagascar, there are viewing platforms. Extreme enthusiasts can use climbing equipment and climb to the tops of the sharp rocks.
The rock forest in Madagascar is over 1 million years old. Sharp karst spires were formed in the process of erosion under the influence of winds, scorching sun, precipitation. That is, the soft calcareous rocks were destroyed and the hard minerals remained untouched.
The stone forests of Madagascar are impenetrable for humans. At the same time, they become a reliable protection for rare species of animals and plants.
There are especially a lot of lemurs in the rock reserve. The animals climb on the rocks and mango trees nearby. Lemurs are found only in Madagascar.
The Stone Forest in China
The Chinese can boast of the Shilin Stone Forest. It is located in Yunnan province. The locals call it the “First Wonder of the Celestial Empire.
The rock forest in China is even older than in Madagascar. Scientists believe it is more than 200 million years old.
Previously, there was a sea at the site of the complex of high stones, at the bottom of which there were thick layers of limestone. Because of the movement of tectonic plates, the sharp spires of the rocks rose to the surface. Over time, the sea dried up. Over the centuries, water and wind have been shaping the rocks, giving them bizarre shapes that resemble plants, animals, people, etc.
Geological features and main zones
The Shilin Forest is one of the wonders of the world, inscribed in UNESCO. Its area is 350 square kilometers. The national park is divided into 6 main zones:
- Da Diheshiu waterfall. It is 88 m high. Recommended for visiting during the rainy season.
- Zhiyong Cave. Extends into several karst caves, has a total area of 3 km.
- Quifeng Cave. The main feature of this place is the lake flowing in it, in which every half an hour there is a whirlpool with a duration of 3 minutes.
- Changhu Lake. It is 3 km long and 300 m wide. In the center of the lake is a small island.
- Lion Pond. A small pond with a stone resembling the figure of a lion waiting to attack a man.
- Moon Lake. Very beautiful in the light of the full moon.
See what the Chinese landmark looks like:
The Legend of the Ashima Stone.
Tourists are attracted not only by the Shilin forest itself, but also by the legend of its origin. It tells of a brave young man and an accident that cost him his life.
Once upon a time, all the rivers in the valley dried up. The fields of the peasants perished without irrigation and the people suffered from thirst.
The mighty and enterprising young man Jinfennoga came to the rescue. After a long search, he discovered the distant Nanpanjiang River. He realized that if he could block off the narrowest part of the body of water, the water would return through the channels to the dried up springs. The young man gathered the residents of all the nearby villages and appealed to them for help.
Each peasant went out to pelt the channel with stones, but the swift current washed them away. At the end of the day people went home with nothing, and the distraught Jinfennoga went to sleep right beside the river.
In his dream, a gray-haired sage appeared to the lad who admired his courage and told him that further up in the mountains, under a tree with blue flowers behind a stone door, there is a whip and a rod. The magic items can be used to control the rocks, but the magic only lasts until morning.
Waking up, Jinfennoga went in search of the dream objects. He went around 99 mountains, 99 rivers and fought 99 leopards. Under a tree with blue flowers he found a rod. Using magical paraphernalia, the young man chased the mountains to the river for many hours. Eventually he grew tired, sat down to eat the berries he had gathered along the way, and fell asleep.
When the young man woke up, he immediately remembered that he had to get there before dawn. He saddled his horse and drove it forward with the mountains.
The peasant felt the noise of the rapid movement of the mountains. Frightened by the earthquake, he sent his cattle away and called his family to the yard. The people’s cries woke up the rooster, who cried out. The sound served as a signal, and the mountains, thinking it was morning, stopped.
The enraged Jinfennoga beat, whipped the mountains, poked them with his rod, but the magic dissipated, all to no avail. In desperation, he killed himself with a dagger, after which he, along with the horse and the magical attributes petrified. In the morning, the villagers saw a stone forest.
To view the vlog from the red stone forest in China:
Attractions and tips for tourists
Tourists should visit all 6 zones of the forest. There are bamboo thickets, rare mountain herbs, flowers, and trees. Especially popular are the famous “Singing Rocks” and “Towers supporting the rocks”.
It is recommended to visit the attraction when the torch festival takes place there. This takes place annually on the 24th day of the lunar calendar. It is famous for spectacular dances, performances, and wrestling competitions.
The average cost to visit Shilin is 80 yuan (about 700 rubles). For some parts of the park will have to pay separately. The total price will be 140 yuan (about 1,250 rubles).
Stone Valley in Bulgaria.
The most unusual and unexplored stone forest is located in Bulgaria, 18 km away from Varna. It stretches for 70 km and consists of stones up to 3 m wide and 7 m high.
Such trees consist of sandstone with a porous structure. They look like huge columns covered with cracks. The main feature of these stones are the cavities inside them filled with sand. The Bulgarians call them hammered-in stones.
According to the first version, the hollow columns are ancient stalagmites. According to the second version, the stones originally were in the sea, and after the sea dried up, they were exposed to wind and rain for a long time. Adherents of the third version believe that the stone forest in Bulgaria consists of the remains of trees several billion years old.
Four groups of rock formations are distinguished:
- 4 rows of columns perpendicular to the road;
- 6-meter-high rock formations;
- rocks standing on top of each other;
- a circle of small stones with a high column on top.
Stone forests are a true wonder of nature. They are found in China, Bulgaria, Madagascar. The national parks in these countries differ from each other. They are all beautiful in their own way.
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