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Lhünzê County: A Gateway to Serenity and Strength in Tibet

Introduction to Lhuntse County

Lhuntse County, known in the Tibetan language as “Lhünzê“, 隆子县 • ལྷུན་རྩེ་རྫོང་། Lhöntse, is a picturesque and culturally rich county in Tibet. Its name translates to “Prosperity and Strength,” symbolizing the area’s auspiciousness and robust heritage. Historically referred to as “snye,” Lhuntse is steeped in Tibetan culture and history.

Geographical Significance and Location

Nestled in the northern central part of Shannan Prefecture in southern Tibet, Lhünzê County lies on the northern foothills of the eastern Himalayas. It shares borders with several significant counties: Mêdog to the east, Cuona to the south, Comai to the west, and Qusum, Lang, and Milin to the north. This strategic positioning makes Longzi a hub of cultural and geographical importance.

Situated between latitudes 28.1°N and 28.8°N, and longitudes 91.8°E and 93.1°E, Lhünzê County boasts a unique geographical location in Tibet. This positioning lends the county distinct climatic and ecological characteristics. Lhuntse County’s postal code is 856600, and it operates under the long-distance area code of 0893. These details are crucial for anyone looking to connect or travel to this serene Tibetan county.

1920px administrative division lhokha
1920px administrative division lhokha

Cultural and Tourist Highlights

As a place where prosperity and strength are more than just words, Lhuntse offers a blend of scenic beauty and cultural depth. Visitors and researchers alike find Lhünzê County a treasure trove of Tibetan culture, set against the majestic backdrop of the Himalayas.

Whether you’re a cultural enthusiast, a history buff, or simply a lover of natural beauty, Lhünzê County is a destination that should be on your travel list. Its unique blend of history, culture, and natural splendour makes it a standout region in Tibet.

Longzi County: A Historical and Ecological Gem in Tibet

During the Tubo period, it was part of the “Niedong” region, a significant administrative unit. The county, originally established as a principality in the Phagmodrupa Dynasty, has a rich history spanning over 600 years. Recognized by the Ganden Phodrang government as one of the six first-grade principalities in Shannan, Lhuntse’s historical importance is evident

Establishment as a County and Demographic Details

In May 1959, Lhuntse was officially established as a county. Covering an area of 10,049.7 square kilometres, it had a population of 33,570 residents as of November 1, 2020. As of October 2022, the county administers 2 towns and 9 townships, with the county government located in Lhünzê Town.

Lhünzê County achieved significant milestones in recent years:

  • On February 6, 2019, it was removed from the list of poverty-stricken counties.
  • On February 12, 2020, it was selected for the ecological compensation pilot program.
  • In November 2021, Longzi Airport was honoured as a model in Tibet for its dual support (civil and military) efforts.
  • Notably, on May 10, 2023, the World Record Certification Agency (WRCA) recognized Lhuntse as the “World’s Largest Black Highland Barley Planting Base” after an official onsite inspection.

Conclusion: A County of Cultural and Agricultural Prominence
Lhünzê County stands out as a destination of historical, cultural, and ecological significance in Tibet. Its long-standing history, recent developmental achievements, and the unique title of being the world’s largest black highland barley planting base make it an intriguing and noteworthy region in Tibet.

Geography and Climate of Lhuntse Lhünzê County: A Himalayan Marvel

Lhünzê County, nestled in the northern foothills of the Himalayas in Tibet’s southern valley region, is a landscape shaped by the Tertiary Himalayan orogeny. This geological event has given rise to a terrain characterized by undulating hills and crisscrossing rivers. The topography varies significantly, with a relative altitude difference of about 2000 meters and an average elevation of 3900 meters.

The region features towering peaks reaching 6000 meters and valleys descending to 3000 meters. The lowest points are in Zharixiang Zhuangnacun and Sanlinxiang Douyucun, both at 3000 meters. The southern part of Lhuntse is dominated by the Himalayas’ grand “arc,” where peaks generally soar above 5000 meters, adorned with glaciers and perennial snow.

Climate: A High-Altitude Haven

Lhünzê County experiences a highland temperate semi-arid monsoon climate. This climatic zone is characterized by strong solar radiation, long sunshine hours, significant diurnal temperature variation, distinct dry and wet seasons with frequent nighttime rainfall, and dry, windy conditions in winter and spring. Annually, Lhuntse enjoys 2983 hours of sunshine, receives 279.41 mm of rainfall, and has a frost-free period of 125 days. The average annual temperature is around 4°C.

Natural Disasters: Challenges of Nature

The county is prone to natural disasters like droughts, frosts, hailstorms, snow calamities, and earthquakes, posing challenges to its inhabitants and the environment.

Longzi County, with its varied topography and unique climate, stands as a testament to the dynamic and diverse nature of the Himalayan region. Its high-altitude climate and rugged terrain not only define the daily life of its residents but also contribute to its unique ecological and cultural landscape

Lhünzê County: A Blend of Agriculture, Pastoralism, and Unique Tibetan Crafts

Longzi County, situated in the agricultural and pastoral valley of southern Tibet, features a blend of farming and herding traditions. The county has 44,000 mu (approximately 2,933 hectares) of arable land, where crops like highland barley, wheat, peas, and rapeseed are cultivated. With 8 million mu (approximately 533,333 hectares) of grassland, the county is also known for rearing animals such as yaks, cattle, sheep, goats, and horses.

Forestry: A Rich Natural Resource

Forests cover 300,000 mu (approximately 20,000 hectares) in Longzi. The area is rich in tree species like fir, alpine pine, spruce, birch, and Tibetan cypress, contributing to a significant timber reserve of 3.0827 million cubic meters.

Famous Local Products and Crafts

Lhuntse is renowned for its Ragong butter, a regional specialty. The county is also famous for its Gyayu butter teacup covers, butter barrels, teapots, silver sheath Tibetan knives, Jidang wool, Xuepo wool, and Tibetan quilts, all of which are highly sought after by consumers. In addition to these, the county is a rich source of precious medicinal materials like musk, cordyceps, bear bile, antler, and fritillaria.

Highlight: Lhünzê County Cattle Beauty Contest

The county holds a unique event where local cattle are celebrated. Tashi Yangzong, with her winning cow, has achieved first place in a recent “beauty contest” for cattle, showcasing the region’s deep connection with its livestock.

Specialty Spotlight: Gyayu Tibetan Knives

The craftsmanship of Gyayu Tibetan knives, originally introduced in the Kingdom of Nepal, is a celebrated art form in Lhuntse. The first-generation craftsman, Sangye Gyatso, pioneered this art. These knives come in three sizes, four types, and six patterns, featuring engravings of animals, birds, fruits, and flowers. Crafted from metals like gold, silver, and copper, and adorned with decorations of ivory, antler, and wood, these knives are valued for their convenience, durability, and elegance. Today, Sangye Gyatso’s son, Tsering Qongju, is the sole remaining artisan skilled in making Gyayu Tibetan knives.

Lhünzê County stands as a testament to the rich agricultural, pastoral, and artisanal traditions of Tibet. Its unique products, from agricultural goods to exquisite crafts, highlight the cultural richness and economic vitality of this Tibetan region.

Tourism and Transportation in Lhünzê County: A Gateway to Tibetan Beauty

Road Connectivity: A Network of Access
Lhünzê County boasts an impressive road network with over 1000 kilometres of accessible roads, ensuring 100% connectivity to its towns and villages. The Zedang-Cuona highway passes through the county, and a route from the county seat, heading west through Zedang and then north, leads directly to Lhasa, covering a distance of 326 kilometres.

Tourist Attractions: A Natural and Cultural Haven

Lhünzê County is a scenic paradise, home to lush forests, numerous rare wildlife species, and immense caves. Key attractions include:

  • Zhari Ecotourism Area: Located in Zharixiang, this area is an untouched natural scenic zone. It features the revered Zhari and Dawaxire Mountains, known across Tibet for their spiritual significance.
  • Modern Glaciers and Lakes: The Dawaxire Peak, with its modern glaciers, and the picturesque Coga Sacred Lake are major highlights.
  • Diverse Natural Landscapes: Visitors can explore the varying widths of the Zhari River Valley, its cascading waterfalls, and the 2670-meter-high Qumoquzhen Hot Spring. The Wujinzhabu Cave is another notable geological feature.
  • Rich Cultural Heritage in Monasteries and Temples: The county is dotted with 16 monasteries and 12 temples. Of these, the Sanganqulin Monastery is not only a pilgrimage site for Tibetan Buddhists but also holds high esteem among Buddhists in India and Bhutan. These historical sites are integral to Tibetan ancient culture and possess immense cultural and historical value.

A Destination for Nature and Culture Enthusiasts

Longzi County is a traveller’s delight, offering a blend of natural beauty and deep cultural heritage. Its well-connected road network facilitates easy access to its numerous natural and cultural attractions, making it a must-visit destination for those seeking to experience the essence of Tibet.

Travel Tips for Exploring Lhünzê County: Essential Information for Visitors

1. Transportation to Longzi County

  • From Zedang Town: Lhünzê County is about 150 kilometres from Zedang Town. Travellers can opt for buses departing from Zedang Bus Station to Longzi.
  • Private Transport: Alternatively, visitors can drive or hire a private car. The hiring cost ranges from 400 to 700 Yuan (for reference).

2. Border Pass Requirements

  • Border County Regulations: Being a border county, Lhuntse requires visitors to obtain a border pass from public security departments.
  • Where to Apply: It’s advisable to apply for the pass in the area where one’s household registration is located, though it can also be done in Tibet.
  • Travel Agency Assistance: Visitors can enlist the services of travel agencies or car rental companies for this process, but this will incur a handling fee.

3. Unique Cultural Attractions

  • Cultural Heritage: Lhünzê County boasts significant cultural attractions like the “Xuesha Yaqiangmum,” “Gyayu Gurlu” (Dage), and “Lhoba Ethnic Costumes,” all recognized as regional intangible cultural heritage protection projects in the Tibet Autonomous Region.
  • Visiting Sites: Interested visitors should not miss exploring these distinctive cultural experiences.

Lhünzê County‘s Monasteries: A Rich Tapestry of Tibetan Buddhism

Longzi County is home to many renowned Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, each holding its unique significance and charm. Prominent among them are:

  • In Ridang Town: Chinga Chudan Monastery, Seqiong Monastery, Atu Monastery, Ridang Monastery.
  • In Xuesha Township: Yadai Monastery, Xiu Cang Monastery, Dazi Monastery, Songni Monastery.
  • In Gyayu Township: Angza Monastery, Muga Monastery, Baiga Monastery.
  • Other Townships: Yangze Monastery in Liemai Township; Zhariday Jijia Monastery, Qusong Monastery in Zhare Township; Sanganqulin Monastery, Jibu Monastery in Sananqulin Township; Padao Monastery, Quguoding Monastery in Rerong Township; various monasteries in Xinba Township and Subpo Xia Township, including Diure Monastery, Seche Monastery, Chau Monastery, Zhonggaerqude Monastery, Kading Monastery; and Juebaigaer Monastery in Douyu Township.

These monasteries, rich in history and religious significance, are integral to understanding Tibetan Buddhism and culture. Visitors to Lhünzê County can immerse themselves in this spiritual journey while experiencing the serene and mystical atmosphere of these sacred sites.

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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