Why we suggest this tour itinerary, & the Key Points of This Tour:
Many people know Tibet, but only few people know that there are still many Tibetan Chinese also stay in many other areas beyond Tibet in China. The altitude of these rarely visited remote areas is not as high as Tibet, but the sceneries are the same breathtaking. It is far more easily accessible than Tibet. Foreign tourists do not need to apply for the Tibet Tour Permit in advance. You also do not need to tap your physical potentials to enjoy the scenic masterpieces and splendid culture at the high altitude area. In this itinerary, tourists would visit Labrang, the most important religious center of Gansu and Sichuan Provinces for the Tibetan Chinese stayed there, Taer Temple, the most important religious center of Qinghai Province, Ganjia Prairie, a Shangbala (wonderland in Tibetan legend) like area near Labrang, Qinghai Lake, the biggest lake in China, and many other sites well worth a visit. You can also enjoy the Tangka art (As the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, Tangka is the one kind of Tibetan Buddhist painting) at Tongren County in Qinghai Provine.
You can enjoy the local Tibetan’s custom in some small towns. And we will also arrange you to visit a local normal Tibetan family in Tong Ren County. To have a dinner and enjoy the local Tibetan life with them.
Tashi delek! (the Tibetan greeting to wish somebody happiness and luck)
Main Tourist Attractions in the Itinerary:
In Gansu Province:
Huzuo, the capital of Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture
Milariba Buddha Tower
Labrang Monastery, Ganjia Prairie (include Saint White Rock Cliffs Cave, White Rock Cliffs Monastery, Octagonal City Ruins).
In Qinghai Province:
Longwu Monastery, Wutun Monastery for its famous Regong Arts, the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Xining, the Capital of Qinghai Province
Taer Monastery (or called Kumbum Monastery), Qinghai Lake
Some More Info about Labrang Monastery, Ganjia Prairie and Regong Art which you will visit in this Itinerary:
Labrang Monastery was founded in 1709 by Ngagong Tsunde (E’angzongzhe in Chinese), the first-generation Jamyang (a line of reincarnated Rinpoches or living Buddhas ranking third in importance after the Dalai and Panchen lamas), from nearby Ganjia. Known as the "World Academy for Tibetan Art", it possesses a vast number of Tibetan written works covering politics, history, culture and many other fields. The monastery is one of the six major Tibetan monasteries of the Gelugpa order (Yellow Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism). The others are Ganden, Sera and Drepung monasteries near Lhasa; Tashilhunpo Monastery in Shigatse; and Kumbum (Ta’er) Monastery near Xining in Qinghai.
Renovations began in September 2012 with a budget of 305 million yuan ($45 million). The Labrang Monastery restoration project is the most extensive undertaken since Chinas reform and opening.
Many of the chapel halls in the temple are illuminated in a yellow glow by yak-butter lamps, their strong-smelling fuel scooped out from voluminous tubs. Although Tibet is not on your itinerary this time, the monastery sufficiently conveys the mystique of its devout persuasions, leaving indelible impressions of a deeply sacred domain.
In addition to the chapels, residences, golden-roofed temple halls and living quarters for the monks, Labrang is also home to six tratsang (monastic colleges or institutes), exploring esoteric Buddhism, theology, medicine, astrology and law.
At its peak, Labrang housed nearly 4000 monks, but their ranks greatly declined during the Cultural Revolution. Modern Labrang is again such a popular destination for young disciples that numbers are currently capped at 1800 monks with about 1600 currently in residence, drawn from Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan and Inner Mongolia.
More detail about Labrang Monastery at Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labrang_Monastery
Located some 20 km away to the north of the Xiahe county, Ganjia Prairie features its original wild features with abundant grass and beautiful scenery，some mysterious scared Buddhist lands. Under the white-clouded blue sky, herds of sheep and cows are grazing, surely a perfect place of natural scenes for enjoying a pastoral life. Every summer the pastureland covered with grasses and all kinds of flowers vying for beauty seems to be a carpeted lawn. With a fresh and cool weather, they are the ideal places for returning to nature in which visitors can be free from summer heat while getting to know something about the nomadic life of the Tibetan people.
Regong Art includes paintings (murals and scrolls called "Thangka" in Tibetan), clay and wooden sculptures, barbola, color paintings on buildings, patterns, butter sculptures, and so on. Among these, the paintings, sculptures and designs are most famous. The contents of Regong art ranges from the story of the Sakyamuni, Bodhisattvas, Buddhist guardians and fairies, to Buddhist stories.
The period from the 10th century to the 13th century was the “Late Development Period of Tibetan Buddhism”, as well as a transferring period for the art of Tibetan Buddhism, which was also the time when Regong Art was born. During this time, Tibetan Buddhism was already widely accepted by people. Thus, being a tool to deliver the sermon, the art of Tibetan Buddhism had begun to change itself from foreign style to the style answering to the appreciation of the beauty of the nation.
During the hundreds of years of its development, Regong Art has become a unique folk art. It features in accurate and vivid characters, beautiful and delicate drawing, gorgeous and decorative colors, fully displaying the rhythmic, moving and stereoscopic sensation of the lines. It also maintains the perfection with the whole. The modest style of painting, clear and harmonious color set and life-like portraying shows the excellent culture created by Tibetan people, which is an important treasure of art among Chinese heritages.
To better protect this art, it was included in the 2nd batch of the National Folk Culture Protection Project in April 2004. And on 20 May 2006, it was listed in the 1st batch Directory of National-level Non-material Cultural Heritage. Itinerary was inscribed in 2009 on the Representative List of the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
More about Regong Arts at UNESCO official website: http://www.unesco.org/culture/ich/en/RL/regong-arts-00207