Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tibetan cities: Ngari (Ali)

Ngari or Ali, lying at the northwest of Tibet, with an average elevation of over 14,763 feet, Ngari is reputed as "ridge of the world roof", where hundreds of streams and rivers wind through thousands of snow-clad mountains.

Due to the special conditions, Ngari is one of the most dissicult areas for tourism in the world. Maybe,you have to confront the scorching sun, bitter cold , lack of oxygen, mountain sickness, blizzards, burning ultraviolet rays and worst road. Yet after undergoing all this, almost every tourist to Ngari fells his or her journey to Ngari is the most exciting experience in his or her life.

One feature of Ngari is the animal husbandry here. Ngari is the second largest base of live-stock products in Tibet. On this vast plateau of 345,000 square kilometers, there live 80,000 Tibetans who are mainly engaged in animal husbandry or farming-livestock raising.

Someone says that the landscapes here are just like the extraterrestrial environment. The three most majestic mountain ranges in the world: the Himalayes, Gangdise and Karakunlun embrace Ngari, making it a desolate pole of the world. Nevertheless, many attractions including the Mount Kailash and Lake Manasarova , the Ruins of the Guge Kingdom and the Tholing Monastery are worth traveling.

Pulan County

Located in the Pulan County of Ngari, the Mount Kailash is one of the main peaks of the Gangdese Mountains. Having an elevation of 22,050 feet, the top of the mount has been covered with snow for years. There are 28 modern glaciers, mainly cirque glaciers and hanging glacierson running along the mountain. Considered as a holy mount, Mount Kailash has been worshipped by people from home and abroad since one thousand years ago.

The Lake Manasarova is just 18.6 miles away to the southeast of the Mount Kailash. Being 15,052 feet high above sea-level, it is one of the highest fresh water lakes of the world. Covering an area of over 154 square miles, the lake is about 266 feet deep at the deepest area. The legend says that there used to be numerous treasures lying on the lakebed.

Near the Lake Manasarova is the Lake Raksas Tal. Because of its variety of colors, it is also called the Ghost Lake. The scene there is so peaceful that it feels like the edge of the universe. In addition, there is a small temple named Kejia Temple situated in this county. Although it is small, the murals and Buddha figures inside the temple were preserved and worth viewing.

Historically, Pulan County of Ngari is an important trade port of the Tibetan Autonomous Region. Situated near India and Nepal, Pulan International Market is a cross-border market where Indian and Nepalese commodities such as fabric piece goods, perfumes and cosmetics trade.

Zhada County

There are mainly three attractions located in Zheda County, namely Ruins of Guge Kingdom, the Tholing Monastery and the Mound Forest. Having a history of 1,300 years, the Ruins of Guge Kingdom was actually the remains of the ancient Guge Kingdom which reigned between 10th and 17th Century. Constructed on the basis of an earth hill, it is more than 984 feet high consisting of palaces, temples, pagodas and caves.

The Tholing Monastery is situated in the northwestern parts of the county, near the Xiangquan River. Built by the Guge Kingdom during the Northern Song Dynasty (386-581), it was the first Buddhist temple in Ngari. Close to the Tholing Monastery is the Mound Forest, which showcases the unique naturally made mounds on both sides of the Xiangquan River.

Rituo County

The most well-known attraction in Rituo County can be the Bangong Lake. It is really a peaceful world of the local birds. So visitors can not only savor the beautiful scenery there, but also can they watch the various birds living on the bird's islands; while the site of the Rituo Rock Mural lies to the northeast of the Bangong Lake. The paintings on the wall inside the caves are mainly figures of Buddha and some ancient dancers.

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