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Discover Sharsingma Town: The Vibrant Heart of Yadong County, Tibet

Sharsingma Town in Yadong County


Sharsingma Town, the seat of the Yadong County Government, gets its name from the Tibetan language, translating to “marshy grassland to the east.” This naming implies there is no corresponding “Upper Sharsima.” Historically under the jurisdiction of the Phari Dzong government, Shasima was once known as the “Little Hong Kong.” The town boasts well-organized streets like the Front Street, Backstreet, and the newly built Riverside Pedestrian Street, lined with neat, bustling shops, reflecting its prosperity.

Geographical and Climatic Features

Located in the middle of Yadong Valley, Shasima is in a forested area with a humid climate, high forest coverage, dense vegetation, and an abundance of economic and medicinal plants. The Yadong River and Jummu River converge here, and the town is just 19 kilometers from the Naidula Pass. The Renqinggang border trade market, east of the Nathula Pass, is quite famous.

Historical Significance

After the 1904 British invasion of Lhasa, places like Yadong were developed as trading ports. In 1906, the British imperial commercial agency, initially established in Old Yadong, was relocated here, along with a consulate, barracks, and a post station, making Shasima a British concession area. On April 11, 1955, Shasima was officially handed over to the Chinese government following a formal agreement between China and India.

The area was developed as Shasima District in 1960. Following the Sino-Indian border conflict in 1962, the Yadong trading port was closed. On July 6, 1964, with approval from the Tibet Autonomous Region Reserve Committee, it was reestablished as Shasima Town. Covering an area of 225.2 square kilometers, it serves as the political, economic, cultural, and military center of Yadong County.

Shasima has long been a key trade hub between Tibet and South Asian countries. In 1888, it was designated as a trading port, and the Qing government set up a custom house in Yadong. Many of the foreign goods used by the Tibetan nobility passed through here. It is said that the 14th Dalai Lama’s jeep was brought here in parts by pack horses and then assembled in Lhasa; this vehicle is still preserved in the Norbulingka. In recent years, border trade in Yadong has flourished significantly.

Shasima Town and Its Unique Tibetan Residences


Traditional Tibetan Houses

In Shasima Town and the surrounding area, the Tibetan residences are distinctively constructed from pine wood, featuring multi-storied layouts. The first floor typically serves as a living room, storage area, and kitchen, with stairs leading to the bedrooms on the second floor. Each house is enclosed by a wooden fence, and the walls, railings, and eaves are adorned with vibrant and uniquely styled Tibetan patterns, differing from those found in other parts of Tibet.

Geographic Location and Scenery

Traveling downstream along the Yadong River from Sharsingma Town, one soon reaches the India-China border. To the east and west lies the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, while to the west is the Indian-occupied Sikkim. The southern end meets at the ancient Gubu Mazhen Mountain range (at an altitude of 2945 meters), marking the injunction of China, Bhutan, and Sikkim. Further south along the Yadong River is the famous Chunpi Valley ancient trail, lined with characteristic wooden suspension bridges and brightly painted small wooden houses.

Travel Tips

  1. Surrounding Pastures: The area around the town features high-altitude wetland pastures, where herds of cattle and sheep graze. Traveling 40 kilometers north from Sharsingma leads to Phari, once known as the “highest town in the world.”
  2. Yadong River: The river, with its significant drop, roars as it bisects the town into two halves. Three concrete bridges span the river, connecting the two sides of the town.
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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