Posts Tagged With: 中國

Litang, Tibet (China)

Litang (ལི་ཐང།) is a small Tibetan town in western Sichuan Provence (四川), China.  Traditionally known as the Kham (ཁམས) Provence of the former Tibetan Kingdom, Litang is a dusty trade town in a high, grassy valley.

At an altitude of 4,014 meters (13,169 ft) it’s actually higher than Lhasa and one of the highest towns in the world.  Every summer, they hold one of Tibet’s biggest horse racing festivals, an event that draws Tibetans (and tourists) from all over.

Several famous Buddhists are from Litang including the 7th and the 10th Dalai Lama.  It has a beautiful, huge monastery (Litang Chöde) up on the mountain side overlooking the town.  This area has a long history of resistance to Chinese rule, from before the Chinese bombing of the monastery in 1956 to a recent riot at the horse racing festival in 2007.  During the PLA’s invasion of Tibet in 1950, Litang County was one of the strongest areas of resistance.

A Tibetan Cowboy waits for a friend on a remote mountain near Litang, Tibet (China).

A Tibetan Cowboy waits for a friend on a remote mountain near Litang, Tibet (China).

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Categories: PHOTOGRAPHY, Portraiture, Tibet, TRAVEL | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Shangri-La (Zhongdian), Tibet (China)

Zhongdian is a small Tibetan town in the northeast corner of Yunnan Province, China.  It was the southeastern-most area of Tibet before the Chinese invasion of 1950.  After China took control, they split it from the what is today considered Tibet (actually now called Xijang, or the Tibet Autonomous Region**)  In 2001, the Chinese government officially changed the name from “Zhongdian” to “Shangri-la“, but the local population still refer to it by its Tibetan name Gyalthang (རྒྱལ་ཐང་རྫོང).

Traditionally Tibetan, the town has had a large immigration of Han Chinese for decades and most of the new town has a real Chinese feel to it..   Still, the surrounding countryside and the old town has held on to its Tibetan feel and many locals can be seen going about their daily business in traditional clothing customary to their local Tibetan tribes.

I visited Zhongdian in 2005 and in 2007 and the amount that it changed in those two years surprised me, but it is an interesting study in the growth of modern China, and the part that tourism is playing.

Every evening, people meet in the old towns center to dance and sing.

Every evening, people meet in the old town's center to dance and sing.

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Categories: PHOTOGRAPHY, Tibet, TRAVEL | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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