Dianchi Lake

Dianchi Lake, Dian Lake, Kunming AttractionsDianchi Lake, Dian Lake, Kunming Attractions

Dianchi Lake is located in the southwest of Kunming city; it has an elevation of 1886 meters above the sea level, covering an area of 330 square kilometers. It is the sixth largest lake in Yunnan Province, and it’s the sixth biggest fresh water lake in China. The average depth of Dianchi Lake is 5 meters, and the deepest area is 8 meters. The exit of Dian Lake is Tanglangchuan River which is the upper reach of Pude River, a branch of Yangtze River

Dianchi Lake used to be called Kunming Lake, Diannan Lake, Kunmingchi and Dianhai.


The shore around Dianchi Lake was often flooded by water in the past. In 1262, Songhuaba Dam was built on Panglong River, which is the upper origin of Dian Lake. In 1268, the exit of Dianchi Lake was expended, and then there were few floods. In 1955, more than 10 reserves were contructed on the upper reach of the rivers which flow into this lake.


Origin of Names of Dianchi Lake

In ancient times, Dianchi Lake was named Yunnanze, and its official name was Kunming Lake. About the origin of the name of Dianchi Lake, there are four explanations. According to Huayang National History, because its lower reach is narrow and shallow, it seems that the water in the lake flow from the lower reach to the upper reaches. So Dianchi means a reversal a lake. In Yi People’s language, Dian means a big basin.

According to the book named the History of Minorities in the southwest, Dian was the name of the biggest tribe which mainly inhabitated around Dianchi Lake. A general of Chu State led troops to Yunnan, and then they put on minorities’ costumes in order to follow the local custums. In Zhuang People’s language, Dian means the location of a pavilion.


Formation and evolvement of Dianchi Lake

Dianchi Lake was formed by earthquake fault subsidence during the late Mesozoic and early Cenozoic (about 70million years ago). Firstly Panlong River has been developed, and several wide and shallow valleys were formed around Kunming because of long-term erosion of water. Until the late Miocene (about 12 million years), the ground of Yunnan has been risen intermittently, then a huge fracture was made from the north to the south. On the west of the fracture, steep hills were created by the crustal movement; it seems that such hills suddenly grow from the lake. On the east of the fracture, the whole area sunk. Due to the crustual movement, the joint area between the southwest of Jingning County and Yuxi City rose up. As a result, the ancient Panlong River was cut off.  Eventually Dianchi Lake was formed.

On the other hand, some scientists believed that the Ancient Dianchi belonged to Red River System, and it flew into the Red River from Citongguan. Then the water in Dianchi Lake was lower than 1940 meters.


Nearby Attractions:

Yunnan Nationality Villages, Yunnan Museum, Yunnan Nationality Museum, Western Hills (including Huating Temple, Taihua Temple, Sanqing Pavilion, Nieer Tomb, Dragon Gate, Grand View Park)