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Discover Gongbo’gyamda: A Hidden History and Natural Wonders of Nyingchi

Gongbo’gyamda, located in the heart of Tibet, is a county rich in history and natural beauty, positioned in the Nyang River’s middle and upper reaches. Bordered by Bomi and Nyingchi to the east, Milin, Lhünzê, and Sangri to the south, Meldro Gungkar to the west, and Gyamda to the north, it spans between 29.4° to 30.6°N latitude and 92.9° to 94.3°E longitude.

The Essence of Gongbo’gyamda

The name Gongbo’gyamda, (ཀོང་པོ་རྒྱ་མདའ་རྫོང) translating to “The Large Valley’s Concave Land” in Tibetan, echoes the region’s geographic splendor and historical significance. From its early days as the domain of ancient Gongpo kings to its status under the Tibetan empire and later under Kashag rules, this area has witnessed a multitude of cultural and historical transformations. As of 2020, Gongbo’gyamda, with its three towns, six townships, and 79 villages, is home to 32,874 residents.

Geographic Marvels and Climate Wonders

Gongbo’gyamda’s landscape is a dramatic contrast of towering peaks and deep valleys, with an average elevation of 3,600 meters. The county experiences a temperate semi-humid monsoon climate, making its eastern parts warm and moist, abounding in dense forests, while its western parts are colder and drier, covered in shrubs and meadows. With over 2,016 hours of sunshine, 646mm of annual rainfall, and a frost-free period of 156 days, Gongbo’gyamda’s climate supports a diverse ecosystem. However, the region is also prone to natural calamities such as droughts, frosts, hail, and mudslides, highlighting its fragile environmental balance.

Administrative divisions

Gongbo’gyamda County contains 3 towns and 6 townships.

NameChineseHanyu PinyinTibetan
Towns
Gongbo’gyamda Town工布江达镇Gōngbùjiāngdá zhènཀོང་པོ་རྒྱ་མདའ་གྲོང་རྡལ།
Chimda Town金达镇Jīndá zhènསྥྱི་མདའ་གྲོང་རྡལ།
Zhoka Town巴河镇Bāhé zhènཞོ་ཁ་གྲོང་རྡལ།
Townships
Drugla Township朱拉乡Zhūlā xiāngའབྲུག་ལ་ཤང་།
Tsongo Township错高乡Cuògāo xiāngམཚོ་འགོ་ཤང་།
Drongsar Township仲萨乡Zhòngsà xiāngགྲོང་གསར་ཤང་།
Gyamda Township江达乡Jiāngdá xiāngརྒྱ་མདའ་ཤང་།
Nyangpo Township娘蒲乡Niángpú xiāngཉང་པོ་ཤང་།
Gyashing Township加兴乡Jiāxīng xiāngརྒྱ་ཤིང་ཤང་།

Discover Gongbo’gyamda

With Gongbo’gyamda’s captivating geography and climate setting the stage, visitors can expect an immersive travel experience. Whether you’re drawn to exploring its rich historical lineage, trekking through its diverse landscapes, or simply soaking in the serene beauty of the Nyang River valley, Gongbo’gyamda offers a unique slice of Tibet waiting to be discovered. As a place where history intertwines with nature, Gongbo’gyamda invites travelers to elevate their journey and uncover the hidden gems of Tibet’s majestic highlands.

Exploring the Treasures of Gongbo’gyamda:

A County of Natural Abundance and Tradition Discover the Bounty of the Highlands

Gongbo’gyamda, nestled in the heart of Tibet, is not just a place of breathtaking landscapes but also a treasure trove of unique agricultural and pastoral wealth. This county thrives on a blend of farming, herding, forestry, and sideline industries. Cultivating barley, wheat, peas, and rapeseed, Gongbo’gyamda sustains a vibrant agricultural scene. Livestock farming flourishes with the rearing of yaks, hybrid cattle, domestic cattle, sheep, goats, and the renowned Gongbo horses.

Protected Wildlife and National Recognition

Gongbo’gyamda is a sanctuary for various species, including the nationally protected white-lipped deer, snow leopard, musk deer, black-necked crane, golden eagle, and more. In 1989, it was awarded the “Agricultural Harvest Award” by China’s Ministry of Agriculture, acknowledging its contribution to agricultural excellence. The county is famed for its musk, borneol, fritillaria, caterpillar fungus, notoginseng, snow lotus, rhubarb, and more, enriching the diverse tapestry of its natural resources.

Specialty Products of Gongbo’gyamda


Tibetan Special Pig

The Tibetan Pig, also known as the “Ginseng Pig,” is a prized indigenous breed known for its resilience and distinctive flavor. This pig roams free, benefiting from the rich, natural environment which contributes to its lean meat, rich in nutrients and with a unique taste. Gongbo’gyamda has established the first national genetic resource conservation area for the Tibetan Special Pig, promoting sustainable farming practices and preserving this valuable heritage.

Musk: The Fragrant Gold

Musk, derived from the musk deer, is a highly coveted substance used both as a luxurious fragrance and a potent traditional medicine. Gongbo’gyamda’s musk is celebrated for its intense aroma and therapeutic properties, offering a blend of luxury and wellness sourced directly from the wild.

Flying Squirrels: Nature’s Pharmacy

The flying squirrel, a nocturnal creature native to the region, contributes to Gongbo’gyamda’s pharmacopeia with its feces, known as “Wulingzhi.” This unusual but highly effective traditional remedy is used for treating various ailments, highlighting the unique biodiversity of Gongbo’gyamda and its role in traditional Tibetan medicine.

Snow Lotus: The Alpine Healer

The Snow Lotus, a symbol of purity and healing, thrives in Gongbo’gyamda’s harsh alpine conditions. Revered for its medicinal properties, it is used to treat a wide range of conditions, from arthritis to gynecological issues, showcasing the natural bounty of Gongbo’gyamda and its significance in traditional remedies.

Gongbo’gyamda offers a glimpse into a world where nature and tradition blend seamlessly. From its aromatic Tibetan Scented Pigs to the healing snow lotus, this region is a testament to the resilience and richness of Tibetan culture and natural heritage. As Gongbo’gyamda continues to nurture its unique flora and fauna, it remains a vibrant testament to the enduring spirit of Tibet’s pastoral and agricultural way of life.

Travel and Transportation in Gongbo’gyamda:

Gongbo’gyamda: A Journey on the Sichuan-Tibet Highway

The Sichuan-Tibet Highway (National Highway 318) slices through Gongbo’gyamda County, creating a vital link to both the wonders within and beyond its borders. Alongside six county and township roads, plus several simpler roadways, Gongbo’gyamda boasts a comprehensive transport network extending over 400 kilometers. Heading west, it directly connects to Lhasa, while to the east, routes through Changdu lead all the way to Chengdu. This two-lane asphalt road, with a width of 6 meters, ensures a smooth and accessible journey.

Travel Tips for Adventurers


Journey from Bayi Town

Bayi Town, located 130 kilometers from Gongbo’gyamda, serves as a convenient starting point for travelers. Options for reaching Gongbo’gyamda include taking a bus headed for Lhasa or opting for a more personal journey by renting a car or hiring a taxi.

Celebrating Local Culture

Annually in August, the Gongbo’gyamda county government hosts the “Nyingchi Matsutake Mushroom Gourmet Food and Culture Tourism Festival” and the “Basum Co Gongbo Folk Culture Tourism Festival.” These events offer a deep dive into the region’s rich cultural tapestry and tantalizing culinary traditions.

Exploring Gongbo’gyamda’s Sacred Sites: A Tour of Tibetan Buddhism

Gongbo’gyamda County is home to an array of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, each with its unique history and spiritual significance. Key sites include:

  • Gado Monastery and Tashi Choeling Monastery in Gongbo’gyamda Town,
  • Baga Monastery in Niangpu Township,
  • Zhula Monastery in Zhula Township, and
  • Tsozong Gongba Monastery in Cuo’gao Township.

These sacred spaces offer visitors a glimpse into the profound spiritual practices and architectural beauty of Tibetan Buddhism. Whether you’re a pilgrim, a culture enthusiast, or simply in search of peace, Gongbo’gyamda’s monasteries provide a serene and enriching experience.

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About the author

The Tibetan Travel website's creator, hailing from Lhasa, is a cultural enthusiast. They promote responsible tourism, connecting the world to Tibet's beauty and heritage. Awards recognize their contribution.

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