Benzhu are local protector deities in the Dali area, their worship is a key element of Bai identity.
In the Dali area, almost every Bai village has a Benzhu Temple, the home of a local protector spirit. These protector spirits are mostly historic figures, such as local heros, kings, generals or others who have through good deeds won the adulation of the local population.
Each Benzhu usually has his own festival day, with activities varying greatly from place to place.
It is said that the Benzhu are taken from the village and taken down to a temple near the lake.