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Sangri, Copper Mountain, foothills of the Gangdise Mountains, 4,000 meters

Sangri County, often referred to in its Tibetan Latin alphabet transliteration as “zangs-ri”, is a region of rich cultural and geographical significance. It is situated in central and southern Tibet, nestled in the northern part of the Shannan region. This county finds itself amidst the southern foothills of the Gangdise Mountains and stretches across the middle reaches of the Brahmaputra River.

Geographic Coordinates and Boundaries:

  • Latitude: Sangri County extends from 29.0 degrees to 29.5 degrees North.
  • Longitude: It ranges from 91.8 degrees to 92.6 degrees East.

Bordering Regions:

  • East: Bordered by Jiacha County.
  • South: Neighbored by Qusong County.
  • West: Adjoins Nedong County.
  • North: Flanked by Mozhugongka County and Gongbujiangda County.

Additional Information:

  • Postal Code: 856200
  • Long-distance Area Code: 0893

The name “zangs-ri” in Tibetan translates to “copper mountain”, indicating the region’s association with this metal. Over the years, it has been referred to by various names including “Sanglong”, “Sangli City”, and “Shagri”. Historically, it fell under the jurisdiction of the Sangri Sect and Woka Sect, showcasing its deep-rooted cultural and spiritual heritage.

Sangri County, with its unique positioning at the foothills of the Gangdise Mountains and along the Brahmaputra, presents a landscape that is both geographically diverse and culturally rich. It is a testament to the blend of natural beauty and historical depth that characterizes much of Tibet.

Sangri County, established on April 12, 1959, is a region of significant historical and cultural importance in Tibet. Here’s an overview of its key characteristics:


Geographic Dimensions:

  • East to West Width: Approximately 61 kilometers.
  • North to South Length: Roughly 62.2 kilometers.

Administrative Structure:

  • Area: The county spans an extensive area, comprising several townships, 3 towns, and covering a substantial number of square kilometers.
  • Jurisdiction: It governs over 2633.86 administrative villages and 83 natural villages.

Population:

  • As of November 1, 2020: The permanent population of Sangri County was recorded at 18,041 individuals.
  • Ethnic Composition: The majority of the population is Tibetan, accounting for 97.16% of the total inhabitants.

County Seat:

  • Location: The county government is situated in Sangri Town.
  • Distance from Lhasa: The town is approximately 215 kilometers away from Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet.

Development and Facilities:

Sangri has undergone significant development over the years. It has evolved into a new type of town equipped with relatively complete facilities, including:

  • Commerce and Finance: Well-established commercial and financial services.
  • Communication: Advanced post and telecommunications infrastructure.
  • Utilities: Reliable power supply.
  • Cultural Facilities: Includes cultural centers, radio, television services, and bookstores.
  • Education: Schools catering to different educational needs.
  • Healthcare: Hospitals and other medical facilities.

These developments have transformed Sangri into the political, economic, and cultural hub of the county.

Milestone in Development:

  • October 2018: Sangri County achieved a significant milestone by withdrawing from the list of poverty-stricken counties, reflecting its substantial progress in socio-economic development.

Sangri County, with its rich Tibetan heritage and significant strides in development, stands as a symbol of the resilience and cultural richness of the Tibetan region. Its evolution from a historic county to a modern hub of facilities and services highlights the dynamic nature of this area in Tibet.


Sangri County, situated in the Yarlung Zangbo River Valley in the Tibetan Mountains, features a diverse topography and a unique climate shaped by its geographical location and elevation.

Topography:

  • Mountainous Area: The county has a mountainous area of 1,841.3 square kilometers, constituting 69.94% of its total area.
  • Geographical Division: The Brahmaputra River bifurcates the county into two distinct parts: the Himalayas to the south and the Gangdise Mountains to the north. This creates a geographical layout described as “two mountains sandwiching one river.”
  • Altitude Variation: The elevation varies significantly across the county. The average altitude is 4,065.75 meters, with the highest point reaching over 6,220 meters. The lowest altitude is 3,143 meters.

Climate:

Sangri County’s climate is characterized by features typical of a plateau temperate semi-arid monsoon climate zone.

  • Sunshine: The region enjoys ample sunshine, with annual sunshine hours totaling approximately 2,770 hours.
  • Precipitation: The county receives an average annual precipitation of 370 mm.
  • Frost-Free Period: There is a significant variation in the frost-free period across different areas. In the river valley area, it ranges from 150 to 180 days, while in the mountainous grassland zone, it is around 60 days.
  • Average Annual Temperature: The average annual temperature is around 8℃.

Natural Disasters:

Due to its topography and climatic conditions, Sangri County is prone to various natural disasters, including: Drought, Frost, Hail, Earthquakes, Floods, Mudslides

This blend of challenging topography and a varied climate makes Sangri County a region of significant environmental and cultural interest. The area’s natural beauty is complemented by its complex climatic patterns, making it a unique destination for those interested in geography, climate studies, and Tibetan culture.


Sangri County, with its focus on agriculture and animal husbandry, offers a variety of specialty products that reflect the region’s rich natural resources and the unique skills of its inhabitants.

Agricultural Products:

  • Crops: The county’s agricultural production includes highland barley, wheat, buckwheat, and peas.
  • Livestock: The area is known for raising yaks, oxen, cattle, sheep, and horses.

Specialty Products:

  1. Dagu Stone Utensils:
    • Origin: These are produced in Dagu Village, Zengqi Township.
    • Material: Local artisans use a jade-like soft stone from the mountains to craft these utensils.
    • Variety: The range includes stone pots, bowls, trays, and other items, collectively known as stone pots.
    • Unique Qualities: Food cooked in these stone pots is said to acquire a special aroma. These utensils are not only functional but also aesthetically pleasing, known for their fine workmanship and simple beauty.
  2. Zhaga Willow Weaving:
    • Location: This craft is prevalent in Zhaga, Rong Township, an area abundant in willow branches.
    • Products: Local farmers and herdsmen skillfully weave branches to create grain hoards, backs, baskets, and livestock troughs.
    • Reputation: These woven items are renowned throughout the Shannan counties for their quality and craftsmanship.

Other Notable Products:

  • Dagu Wooden Bowls: Crafted with care and precision, these bowls are another testament to the woodworking skills in the area.
  • Woka Green Oil: A unique product from the region, known for its quality and uses.
  • Handmade Tibetan Card Mats from Sangri Town: These mats showcase the intricate and traditional weaving skills of the local artisans.

Medicinal and Fruit Products:

Sangri County is also known for its precious medicinal materials and fruits:

  • Medicinal Materials: These include velvet antler, musk, cordyceps, and Fritillaria, highly valued for their medicinal properties.
  • Fruits: The region produces walnuts, apples, peaches, and pears, which are known for their quality and taste.

These specialty products from Sangri County not only represent the agricultural and craft heritage of the region but also contribute significantly to its economy and cultural identity. The traditional methods used in creating these products reflect a deep connection with the land and a commitment to preserving age-old practices.


Tourism transportation in Sangri County has developed significantly, especially following the democratic reforms in Tibet. This development has enhanced the accessibility of Sangri, making it a more feasible destination for tourists.

Key Transportation Developments:

  1. Highways:
    • The construction of highways has greatly improved connectivity. Key highways include:
      • The route from Zedang to Qusong via Sangri.
      • Highways connecting Sherpa to Gondeling, Jiangxiang, and Zhaba.
  2. Connection to Major Roads:
    • The highway from Zedang Town eastward to Bayi Town passes through Sangri County, linking it to the Sichuan-Tibet Highway.
    • A westward route from Zedang leads directly to Lhasa.
  3. Lalin Railway:
    • This railway line crosses the entire territory of Sangri County, further enhancing its accessibility.
  4. Road Network:
    • Sangri County is served by 9 trunk roads and various rural branch lines.

Travel Tips:

  1. Getting to Sangri from Zedang Town:
    • Distance: Zedang Town is approximately 30 kilometers away from Sangri County.
    • Transport Options:
      • Shuttle Bus: Tourists can take a shuttle bus from Zedang Bus Terminal to Sangri.
      • Charter Bus: An alternative is to charter a bus, which costs about 100 yuan.
  2. Cultural Tourism:
    • Sangri County is not just a destination for its natural beauty, but also for its rich cultural heritage. Several local cultural practices and crafts have been recognized as autonomous region-level intangible cultural heritage, including:
      • Dagu Zhanian
      • Balangzhuo Dance
      • Zengqi Gongzhuo Dance
      • Dabu stone pot manufacturing techniques

These developments in transportation infrastructure have not only made Sangri County more accessible to tourists but also opened up opportunities for cultural exchanges and economic growth. The combination of scenic beauty, rich cultural heritage, and improved transportation makes Sangri an attractive destination for travellers seeking to explore the unique aspects of Tibetan culture and landscape.


Monastery and temple in Sangri

Sangri County, rich in Tibetan Buddhist heritage, is home to numerous monasteries, each with its own unique history and cultural significance. Among these, Zengqi Temple, also known as Zhenqi Temple, stands out as a notable site.

Zengqi Temple Overview:

  • Full Name: Zengqi Ganden Qiangbalin.
  • Location: Situated on the north bank of the Woka River in Sangri County.
  • Foundation: Founded after the 10th century by Karmi Yunden Yongdrung.
  • Original Sect: Initially belonged to the Kadam sect.
  • Monk Population at Its Peak: Hosted over 500 monks.
  • Main Deity: Features a red-gold eight-year-old Maitreya Buddha statue, with a small sandalwood Maitreya Buddha statue on its chest.
  • Historical Significance: In AD 1393, the temple was repaired by Zongbennan Kasangbu. The renowned Tibetan spiritual leader Zongkaba once preached here. Now, the temple belongs to the Gelug Sect.

Key Architectural Features:

  • Main Buildings: Includes the main hall, Buddhist hall, Gongkhang (mgon-khang), and monks’ houses.
  • Buddha Statues: Houses various Buddha statues, primarily of Sakyamuni.
  • Unique Artifacts: The temple walls feature thirty-five naturally formed penitent Buddha statues, still clearly visible today.

Tour Tips:

  1. Accessibility and Fees:
    • There is no admission fee, allowing visitors to explore freely.
    • The temple is about 80 kilometers from Zedang Town, accessible by chartered car or self-drive, with beautiful scenery en route.
  2. Historical Connection to the Dalai Lama:
    • Chenlie Gyatso (1856–1875), the 12th Dalai Lama, was identified as such at the age of 5 and hailed from Wokhajuzhuo, now Zengqi Township in Sangri County.
    • Despite his untimely death at 20, Chenlie Gyatso made significant religious contributions, visiting and lecturing at various monasteries including Sera, Drepung, Ganden, and Samye.
  3. Gonpo Droba Dance:
    • This unique art form, integrating religious rituals with singing and dancing, is a significant part of the temple’s cultural heritage.
    • Originating nearly a thousand years ago, it was created to honor Qiangba Buddha (Maitreya Buddha) and is based on local Zhuo dance traditions of Kampot.
    • This rare and ancient form of singing and dancing is a treasured part of Tibet’s intangible cultural heritage.

Zengqi Temple, with its rich historical background, spiritual significance, and unique cultural practices, serves as a vital link to Tibet’s Buddhist traditions and history. It remains a significant destination for those seeking to explore the religious and cultural depths of Tibetan Buddhism.


Gepu Temple

Gepu Temple, known in Tibetan as “ge-phug,” is a site of great historical and spiritual significance located in Sangri County, north of Zhenqi Temple.

Historical Significance:

  • Padmasambhava and Kandro Geji: It is believed that Master Padmasambhava and Kandro Geji once practised here. The temple is also noted as the burial place of the Mahabala Sutra.
  • 15th Century: Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelug Sect, practised Buddhism here, reinforcing the temple’s connection to this sect.

Architectural Features:

  • Main Buildings: The temple complex includes a sutra hall, a Buddhist hall, a Dharma protector temple, and monks’ houses.
  • Deities: The temple primarily houses statues of Sakyamuni Buddha, Jampa Buddha, and other gods.

Tsongkhapa’s Legacy:

  • Full Name: Tsongkhapa, whose real name was “Losang Drapa” (meaning “good wisdom”), was born in Huangzhong, Qinghai, an area known in Tibetan as “Tsongkha.”
  • Early Life: He started as a monk in the Kadam sect, learning sutra and esoteric teachings.
  • Reforms: Tsongkhapa advocated for the restoration of precepts in Tibetan Buddhism, emphasizing a life of asceticism, celibacy, and abstention from alcohol.
  • Establishments: In AD 1409, he founded the Great Prayer Assembly in the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa and established Ganden Monastery, marking the formal establishment of the Gelug Sect, also known as the “Gaden Sect” or “New Kadam Sect.”

Influence and Teachings:

  • Gelug Sect: Known as the “Yellow Sect” due to the color of monks’ attire, this sect rose to prominence with support from various dynasties and spread across Tibet and beyond.
  • Writings: Tsongkhapa authored significant works, including “The Lam-rim-chen-mo” and “The Lam-rim of Tantra,” which discuss the practice steps of Sutra and Tantra.

Tour Tips:

  • Visiting Gepu Temple: There is no admission fee, and visitors can freely explore the temple and its surroundings.
  • Traveling to the Temple: Located about 80 kilometers from Zedang Town, it’s accessible by chartered car or self-drive, offering scenic views along the way.

Gepu Temple is not only a religious site but also a place of deep cultural and historical significance, embodying the rich heritage of Tibetan Buddhism and the legacy of one of its most influential figures, Tsongkhapa.


Chaga Qude Temple

Chaga Qude Temple, known as bya-sgar-chos-sde in Tibetan, is an important religious site located in Rong Township, Sangri County. This temple, belonging to the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism, has a rich history and distinct architectural features.

Historical Background:

  • Establishment: The temple was built towards the end of the 16th century AD.
  • Size: It covers an area of approximately 2,000 square meters.

Architectural and Artistic Features:

  • Main Structures: The temple complex includes the main hall, Buddha Hall, Dharma Protector Temple, and monk’s residence.
  • Buddha Statues: One of the key attractions is the statues of Tsongkhapa and other Buddhas.

Significance of the Tsongkhapa Statue:

  • Representation: The statue of Tsongkhapa in the temple is a significant representation of this eminent monk in Tibetan Buddhism.
  • Iconography:
    • Attire: Tsongkhapa is depicted wearing a yellow pointed hat and a monk’s cassock.
    • Posture: He is seated cross-legged with his hands forming the Dharma seal.
    • Symbols: The statue features two lotus branches, one holding a Buddhist basket and the other a sharp sword. These are symbols of Manjushri Bodhisattva, suggesting that Tsongkhapa is regarded as a reincarnation of Manjushri.
  • Disciples: Flanking Tsongkhapa are statues of his disciples, Jia Caojie and Ke Zhujie.

The Chaga Qude Temple, with its intricate representations and historical significance, offers a window into the spiritual and artistic traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. It serves as a testament to the rich religious heritage of the region and is an important site for both pilgrimage and cultural exploration. Visitors to the temple can immerse themselves in the serene atmosphere and appreciate the profound symbolism embedded in its art and architecture.


Kha Ma Dang Temple

Kha Ma Dang Temple, also known as kha-ma-dang, is a historically significant Buddhist temple located in the hills east of Sangri County. With its origins dating back to the 11th century, the temple holds a unique place in Tibetan Buddhism.

Historical Background:

  • Establishment: The temple was built in the 11th century AD.
  • Name Origin: “Kama” in Tibetan means “hanging red stone.” The name is derived from a legend where Lama Kyodun Solang threw a stone into the river, which eventually stayed on the river beach where the temple now stands, marked by a red rock.
  • Initial Affiliation: Originally, it belonged to the Kadam sect.
  • Transition: In AD 1086, it became a fundamental dojo for the Mo Kyaw sect (mo-gcod-pa), and in the 15th century, it converted to the Gelug Sect.

Architectural Features:

  • Structure: The temple is a two-story building.
  • First Floor: Mainly dedicated to the statues of Sakyamuni Buddha and Tsongkhapa masters and disciples.
  • Second Floor: Houses statues of Luo Ji Dolma and other eminent monks of the Moji sect.

Cultural Significance:

  • Secret Practice Cave: Behind the temple lies Lao Zhunma’s secret practice cave, known as the “Hall of Hundred Thousand Joys,” which is revered as a very sacred site.
  • Historical Importance: Despite its small size, Kha Ma Dang Temple holds an irreplaceable position in history, attracting numerous pilgrims and tourists.

Tour Tips:

  1. Tickets: There is no set ticket price; donations are welcome as per visitors’ discretion.
  2. Opening Hours: The temple is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
  3. Access: The temple is located about 26 kilometers from Zedang Town. Visitors can reach it by chartering a car or driving themselves.

Kha Ma Dang Temple, with its rich historical lineage and spiritual significance, offers a glimpse into the diverse practices and transitions within Tibetan Buddhism. Its intimate setting and revered artifacts make it a noteworthy destination for those interested in religious history and spiritual practice.


Qulong Temple

Qulong Temple, known as chos-lung in Tibetan, is a historically and spiritually significant site located north of the Wakavodgonje Sacred Mountain in Sangri County. It is revered as an important monastery within the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism.

Historical Connections:

  • Tsongkhapa’s Influence: The temple is famously associated with Master Tsongkhapa, who is said to have used it as a base for his teachings.
  • Legend: A notable legend recounts that Tashi Gyaltsen, the head of Wokha Dzong, visited Qulong to pay homage to Tsongkhapa. In response, Tsongkhapa requested the construction of a house to accommodate the four majesties, leading to the establishment of Qulong Temple.

Temple Features:

  • Artifacts: The temple houses significant relics, including the murals of the Thirty-five Buddhas of Confession, stone slabs used by Tsongkhapa for offering mantras, and sacred stones and wood used for prostrations.
  • Master Tsongkhapa’s Devotion: The temple contains evidence of Tsongkhapa’s intense spiritual practices, such as the impressions of his hands, feet, and forehead on stone slabs, showcasing his dedication and the physical toll of his devotion.

Tour Tips:

  1. Admission and Hours:
    • There is no admission fee, allowing visitors to explore at their leisure.
    • The temple is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
  2. Access:
    • Qulong Temple is approximately 70 kilometers from Zedang Town and is accessible by chartering a car or self-drive, offering scenic views along the route.
  3. Nearby Attractions:
    • A short walk northeast from Qulong Temple leads to Qusang Temple, another significant site where Master Tsongkhapa cultivated the Buddha Amitayus and once enshrined Tsa Tsa999.
    • Both Qulong and Qusang Temples are revered destinations for worshippers and tourists.

Qulong Temple’s rich historical background and its association with Master Tsongkhapa make it a vital destination for those interested in Tibetan Buddhism and its practices. The temple’s artifacts and relics provide a deep insight into the spiritual rigor and devotion characteristic of this Buddhist tradition.


Dansati Temple

Dansati Temple, or gdan-sa-mthil, is a historical and spiritual landmark located on the mountainside of Pamu Drupa Village in Sangri County. This temple, perched at an altitude of 4500 meters above sea level, holds significant importance in the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism.

Historical Background:

  • Establishment: First built in 1158 AD by the eminent monk Dorje Jibu of the Kagyu sect.
  • Area: The temple covers an area of over 30,000 square meters.
  • Origins: It is the earliest monastery of the Drukkagyu (Pak Muzhu Phagru Kagyu) sect.
  • Tsongkhapa’s Visit: Legend has it that Vajrayana (Dorje Pam) once visited this site, and Master Tsongkhapa used it as a base for his teachings.

Cultural and Religious Significance:

  • Founding Lama: Dorje Jibu, also known as Phagmo Drukpa, gathered disciples here for over 10 years to teach Dharma.
  • Temple Leadership: The position of temple head was traditionally inherited by members of the Lang family.
  • Political Influence: During the Yuan Dynasty, the temple’s head held significant political power, and by the 14th century, it played a vital role in integrating family, religion, and political authority.

Architectural Features:

  • Reconstruction: The temple was rebuilt in 2005.
  • Monk Population: It currently houses 12 monks.
  • Unique Structures: A thatched cottage, believed to be the original dwelling of the founder Pamu Drupa, is situated beside the main hall.
  • Artifacts: The temple contains Buddha statues, two large pagodas in the Lingta Hall, and statues of the founders Pamudlupa, Naropa, Marpa, Milarepa, and the throne of Drikung Dharma King in the sutra hall.
  • Dharma Protector Temple: This section mainly enshrines statues of Mahakala and Drigung Aqi.

Tour Tips:

  1. Admission and Hours:
    • There is no set admission fee; donations are welcome.
    • The temple is open from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM.
  2. Access:
    • Dansati Temple is more than 20 kilometers from Zedang Town, accessible after crossing the Yarlung Zangbo River Bridge.
    • Visitors can rent a car or drive themselves for a pilgrimage.
  3. Additional Sites:
    • Near the temple, visitors can find Pamudlupa’s practice cave, adding to the spiritual experience.

Dansati Temple’s rich history, coupled with its cultural and spiritual significance, makes it a revered destination for those seeking to explore the depths of Tibetan Buddhism. The temple’s unique architecture and artifacts offer a glimpse into the ancient practices and teachings of this profound religious tradition.


Balang Chookang

Balang Chookang, located in Balang Village, Rong Township, Sangri County, is a notable site of historical and religious significance. This Buddhist scripture hall, covering an area of 280 square meters, stands out for its preservation of the Tubo period’s architecture and cultural heritage.

Historical and Architectural Significance:

  • Tubo Period Influence: Balang Chookang is one of the few remaining Buddhist scripture halls from the Tubo period, showcasing the architectural style characteristic of that era.
  • Size: The hall spans an area of 280 square meters.

Cultural and Religious Artifacts:

  • Deities: The hall houses statues of Sakyamuni Buddha, Jampa Buddha, and other gods.
  • Ancient Scriptures: A key feature of Balang Chookang is its collection of handwritten scriptures and birch bark scriptures dating back to the Tubo period. These manuscripts are of immense historical and cultural value, offering insights into the religious practices and textual traditions of the time.

Balang Chookang not only serves as a place of worship but also as a custodian of Tibetan Buddhist history. Its preservation of ancient scriptures and the architectural remnants of the Tubo period make it an essential site for understanding the religious and cultural evolution of the region. Visitors to the hall can expect to be immersed in an atmosphere that echoes the ancient past, providing a unique and profound experience of Tibetan Buddhism’s rich heritage.

Tourism Attractions in Sangri


Wodai Gongjie Sacred Mountain

Wodai Gongjie Sacred Mountain, known as vod-de-gung-rgyal in Tibetan, is one of the most revered sacred mountains in Tibet, located on the north bank of the Brahmaputra River in Sangri County.

Key Features:

  • Altitude: The mountain stands at an impressive 5,926 meters above sea level.
  • Other Names: It is also referred to as “Wo Di Gu Jia,” “Wo Tai Gong Jia,” “Wode Gong Jia,” and “Siba old God,” the latter being a title denoting its status as a master land god in Nyangbu.
  • Cultural Significance: Wodai Gongjie is deeply ingrained in Tibetan folklore and is considered the father of several significant deities, including Nyenchen Tangla. It is part of the “Nine Gods of the Formation of the World.”

Mythological Description:

Tibetans describe Wodai Gongjie with reverence and awe, imagining it as a place with towering snow-capped peaks and a palace set with strange gems, inhabited by the old god Wodai Kunje.

Tsongkhapa’s Connection:

  • Historical Visit: According to the “Biography of Tsongkhapa,” he visited this sacred mountain upon receiving a revelation from Guanyin Bodhisattva. This visit marked the beginning of his propagation of Buddhism in the region.
  • Gelug Sect: The Qulong Temple on the mountain was established by Tashi Lunzhu for Tsongkhapa and his disciples, becoming a foundation for teaching the Gelug Sect’s doctrines.

Geological and Ecological Features:

  • Brahmaputra River: The mountain’s proximity to the river has created a deep rift valley, characterized by steep rock formations, rushing waters, and thunderous sounds, making for a spectacular natural display.
  • Woka Power Station: Located at the mountain’s foot, it is a significant infrastructure project in the Shannan area.

Tourism Information:

  • Distance: Approximately 42 kilometres from Sangri County to Woka, the journey is accessible by car, although road conditions are average.
  • Mountain Access: Visitors typically need to walk or ride a horse to ascend the mountain, and hiring a guide is recommended.
  • Guide Fee: The cost for a guide is around 50 yuan per day.

Wodai Gongjie Sacred Mountain, with its rich mythological significance and breathtaking natural beauty, is not just a trekking destination but also a spiritual haven for those seeking to connect with Tibetan religious and cultural heritage. The presence of Qulong Temple adds to its religious importance, making it a must-visit location for those exploring the spiritual landscapes of Tibet.


Vodkha Hot Spring

Vodkha Hot Spring, known as vod-kha-chu-tshan in Tibetan, is a famous and culturally significant hot spring located in Xueba Village, Woka Township, Sangri County. Nestled at an altitude of 4200 meters above sea level, this hot spring is not just a natural wonder but also a place steeped in Tibetan culture and spirituality.

Key Features:

  • Geographical Composition: Woka boasts two rivers and seven hot springs. Locals categorize them based on water temperature and color into white water, black water, hot water, warm water, and cold water.
  • Source of Waters: The white water originates from the Zengqi River (snow water), and the black water is from the Derimu River. These rivers, along with the Yulong River, are revered as the “Three God Rivers,” symbolizing Guanyin Bodhisattva, Manjushri, and Vajradhara protector.
  • Hot Springs: The seven hot springs are known for their distinct characteristics, with two springs hot enough to scald eggs. They are all situated on the grassland north of Woka, with an average altitude of over 3700 meters.

Specific Hot Springs:

  1. Zroka Hot Spring:
    • Features a 364 square meter bathhouse, historically used by the Dalai Lama and other high-ranking Buddhist figures.
    • The bathhouse allows for temperature control and water purity maintenance.
    • Known for its high water temperature, this spring is believed to have healing properties.
  2. Jueqiong Bangka Hot Spring:
    • Surrounded by a shrub meadow, hence its name Bangka, meaning “meadow.”
    • Believed to be a place frequented by Master Tsongkhapa for bathing.
    • This spring is considered sacred and is thought to cure stomach ailments.
  3. Pab Hot Spring:
    • A popular spring among locals, known for its therapeutic properties against arthritis and skin diseases.
    • Utilized for bathing livestock in spring and summer to cleanse them of parasites and dust.
  4. Menqugang Hot Spring:
    • Known for its beneficial effects on various ailments like stomach and eye diseases, sinusitis, and skin conditions.
    • A popular destination for bathers seeking therapeutic benefits.
  5. Bangaka Hot Spring:
    • A romantic spot frequented by lovers, especially at night.
    • Believed to be effective in treating skin diseases.

Tour Tips:

  1. Access and Transportation:
    • Sangri County is 36 kilometers from Woka Hot Spring, accessible by shuttle buses, chartered vehicles, or self-driving.
  2. Accommodation:
    • Local family hotels are available, though language barriers may exist as not many locals speak Chinese.
    • It’s advisable to stay in the county town for convenience and environmental friendliness.

Vodkha Hot Spring, with its rich cultural and spiritual significance, is more than just a natural attraction. It’s a place where the physical and mystical merge, offering visitors a unique glimpse into Tibetan traditions and beliefs.


Dagu Canyon

Dagu Canyon, situated at the confluence of Sangri County and Jiacha County in the Yarlung Zangbo River Canyon, is a region of extraordinary natural beauty and ecological diversity.

Location and Geography:

  • Proximity: It borders Zangmu Township in Jiacha County to the east and Woka in Sangri County to the west.
  • Comparison: The canyon is the second largest in the Yajiang area, comparable in scale and grandeur only to the Linzhi Big Bend.
  • Topography: The area is characterized by its roaring rivers, humid climate, lush vegetation, and crystal-clear mountain streams.

Flora and Fauna:

  • Wildlife: The canyon is home to a rich array of wildlife, including sheep, horses, brown bears, and wild monkeys. It also hosts second-level protected animals such as snow leopards, musk deer, blue sheep, Tibetan gazelles, black bears, lynxes, Tibetan snow chickens, and blue-eared pheasants.
  • Medicinal Plants: Rare medicinal materials like cordyceps, fritillaries, musk, coptis, bupleurum, snow lotus, and rhodiola rosea are found here.
  • Ornamental Plants: The canyon also boasts a variety of ornamental plants including red peony, rhododendron, gentian, and other diverse plant resources.

Unique Landscape Features:

  • Snow-Capped Peaks: The surrounding mountains are notable for their snow-capped peaks and unique shapes, offering a picturesque and diverse landscape.
  • Descriptive Imagery: The canyon’s beauty is often described in vivid terms, highlighting its varied terrain and the difficulty of distinguishing between the seasons due to its lush vegetation.

Waterfalls:

  • Shuiguan Waterfall: This spectacular waterfall in Dagu is formed by geological structural faults in the Yajiang River.
  • Nieka and Zeng Waterfalls: These falls have significant drops due to the river’s large boulders, creating a visually stunning spectacle.

Ecological Significance:

  • River Dynamics: The river’s descent within the canyon is rapid, dropping nearly 300 meters over a span of less than 50 km, contributing to the area’s dynamic waterfalls and rapids.
  • Natural Events: In the Neka area, an annual spectacle occurs where fish from the lower reaches gather, creating a breathtaking display as they attempt to swim upstream against the powerful current.

Dagu Canyon is a natural marvel, offering not only breathtaking landscapes but also a unique ecological system. Its combination of rich biodiversity, medicinal plants, and scenic waterfalls makes it an exceptional destination for nature enthusiasts, researchers, and tourists alike.


Red Deer Nature Reserve

Red Deer Nature Reserve, located in Zengqi Township of Sangri County, is a significant ecological area known for its diverse wildlife and lush vegetation. Spanning an area of 1500 square kilometers and at an average altitude of over 4000 meters, the reserve is a sanctuary for a variety of species, including the red deer, after which it is named.

Wildlife Diversity:

  • Inhabitants: The reserve is home to red deer, white-lipped deer, gazelles, brown bears, and deer deer, among others. It also hosts national second-level protected animals like snow leopards, musk deer, blue sheep, Tibetan gazelles, black bears, lynxes, Tibetan snow chickens, and blue-eared pheasants.

Flora:

  • The area is rich in Tibetan medicinal herbs like Cordyceps sinensis and Fritillaria sinensis. Additionally, the scenic area is dotted with various ornamental plants, making it a natural gallery of biodiversity.

Red Deer (Shawa):

  • Description: Red deer, or “Shawa” in Tibetan, are large mammals of the Cervidae family. Adult red deer are about 2 to 2.3 meters in length, stand around 1.5 meters at the shoulder, and weigh between 230kg to 250kg.
  • Habitat: These animals prefer open river valleys and woodlands, which the nature reserve provides amply.
  • Conservation Status: They are a national second-level and Tibetan first-level protected species.
  • Use in Tibetan Medicine: Various parts of the red deer, including horns, fetuses, meat, kidneys, blood, oil, testicles, bone marrow, and antlers, are used in Tibetan medicine to treat a range of ailments.

Tour Tips:

  1. Accessibility: The reserve is more than 80 kilometers from Zedang and can be reached by driving or chartering a car. The cost of chartering a car is approximately 250 yuan.
  2. Unique Wildlife: The reserve also houses a unique species of horse known locally as “Rob.” These horses are believed to have horns due to genetic mutations and are highly revered by locals.

Red Deer Nature Reserve is not just a haven for wildlife enthusiasts but also a vital area for conservation efforts. Its diverse ecosystem supports a wide range of fauna and flora, making it an essential resource for ecological studies and a beautiful destination for nature lovers. Visitors to the reserve can immerse themselves in the breathtaking natural scenery and observe a variety of wildlife in their natural habitat.


Sijin Latso

Sijin Lacuo, translating to “powerful sacred lake” in Tibetan, is a site of profound spiritual significance nestled in the northern part of Zengqi Township, Sangri County. Perched at an altitude of 4500 meters, this lake is revered by the local community as the dwelling place of the “rich king of hundreds of dragons.” Its shape, reminiscent of a cornucopia, and its setting amidst towering peaks and connecting mountains, add to its mystical allure.

Cultural and Mythological Significance:

  • Sacred Lake: The lake is considered sacred by the local populace, who believe it to be the abode of a wealthy deity.
  • Historical Legend: According to legend, Tibetan Zanpu (Emperor) Trisong Detsen once visited Sijin Lacuo to seek wealth from the prosperous Mozhusi Jinlong King, a deity believed to reside in the lake.
  • Annual Rituals: Every year on June 15th of the Tibetan calendar, prominent Tibetan Buddhist figures such as the Panchen Lama, the Dalai Lama, and the Drikung Living Buddha are said to visit the lake for worship. During this time, people offer gold and silver treasures into the lake as a gesture of gratitude and to receive blessings.

Natural Beauty and Setting:

  • Geography: The lake’s unique shape and its picturesque setting amidst high mountain peaks make it a visually stunning location.
  • Spiritual Atmosphere: The serene and sacred ambiance of Sijin Lacuo offers a tranquil retreat for visitors and pilgrims alike.

Sijin Lacuo is not just a natural wonder but also a cornerstone of local religious practices and beliefs. Its cultural importance is intertwined with its natural beauty, making it a significant destination for those interested in Tibetan culture, spirituality, and the natural splendor of the region. Visitors to Sijin Lacuo can expect to experience a blend of tranquility, natural beauty, and spiritual enrichment.


Gondeling Grassland, situated in Zengqi Township of Sangri County, stands as a prominent and scenic attraction along the southern tourist route of Tibet. This expansive grassland is known for its fertility and the vitality of its livestock, particularly cattle and horses.

Key Features:

  • Lush Pastures: The grassland is characterized by its vast, lush pastures, providing ideal grazing conditions for livestock.
  • Ghee Production: Gondeling is renowned for being one of the most famous ghee-producing areas in Tibet. The ghee produced here is known for its rich, creamy flavor.
  • Historical Significance: In the past, the ghee from Gondeling Grassland was reserved for the Dalai Lama and other Tibetan dignitaries, earning it the moniker “Imperial Grassland.”

Gondeling Grassland not only offers a picturesque landscape but also gives visitors a glimpse into the traditional agricultural practices of Tibet. It is a place where the natural beauty of the Tibetan plateau meets the cultural richness of its people. The grassland serves as a testament to the sustainable and harmonious ways in which the local communities have interacted with their environment for generations. Visitors to Gondeling Grassland can experience the serene beauty of the Tibetan countryside and gain insight into the region’s unique agricultural heritage.

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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