Posts Tagged With: Zhongdian

Multimedia – Forgotten Tibet

The Tibetan provinces of Amdo and Kham are the subject of my first multimedia project in a long while.  Amdo and Kham are beautiful regions of the world that I’ve been lucky enough to visit twice recently…

Most westerners think of Tibet as being only what is today called the Tibet Autonomous Region (Xizang) in modern China.  But what they don’t know is that this is only one third of the historical Tibetan Kingdom.  Split off from modern day “Tibet” are the Tibetan Kham and Amdo provinces, now found in the Chinese Yunnan, Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu provinces.

What is surprising though, is that these areas have become much better places to see Tibetan culture than Lhasa or many other places in Xizang.  With both Chinese and Westerners’ attention focused on Lhasa, these areas are much less traveled and have far fewer travel restrictions than Xizang.  That gives the Tibetans found there an sense of ease in their day to day lives and makes it a great place to explore.

If you’re interested in learning more or even visiting the region, have a look at my more in depth series of blog posts on the Kham and Amdo Provinces.

Cheers,
-Neil

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Categories: PHOTOGRAPHY, Tibet, TRAVEL | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 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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