Tibetan Provinces / Ngari
Ngari - Top of the Roof of the World
|Location of Ngari in Tibet|
In the western part of Tibet, Ngari has an average elevation of more than 4,500 meters and is famous as the top of the roof of the world. The area has many lakes but less people and is a paradise of wild yaks, Pantholops hodgsoni, Mongolian gazelle, wild donkeys and other kinds of wildlife. In the western part of Ngari there are the famous ruins of Guge Kingdom, Toding Monastery, Duoxiang Castle and other historical sites. The holy mountains and sacred lakes in Burang attract more domestic and foreign pilgrims.
The Guge Kingdom is a wonder of Ngari. In the mid-nine century, the Tubo imperial court came to an end. The offspring of the King Namdam established their own kingdoms and Gyede Nyimagong became the king of Ngari. The second son of his three sons occupied Zarang and established the Guge Kingdom.
In the main ruins of the Guge Kingdom in Zarang, the destroyed city walls and the natural earthen forests exist harmoniously. More than 400 houses and 800 caves scatter on the 300-meter-high mountain slope. As the capital of the Guge Kingdom, the Zarang Ruins cover an area of 720,000 square meters. It is the second largest building complex in Tibet next to the Potala Palace.
The main buildings include the Red Temple, White Temple and Mandala Hall. More than 1,000-square-meter murals on the walls of the Samsara Hall are most precious. In addition to the images of Buddha, murals demonstrate such seldom images as other living things and the snakes with a human head. The caves around the temples still house some weaponry and hamlets used by the ancient soldiers.
(Tourists should buy tickets in advance from the Zanda County Cultural Bureau for the visit to the Ruins of the Guge Kingdom.)
Rutog Cliff Carvings
Cliff carvings are discovered in several places along the road from Shiquanhe to Rutog. Renmudong cliff carvings on the side of the road are of the animals and figures. Simple and rough, they are full of vitality. Qiniaopu cliff carvings are rare to find and are 70 kilometers from Rutog. Carved on a precipitous cliff, they depict all kinds of animals and figures. The carvings are vivid and are of a high artistic value.
Some 40 kilometers to the north of Zanda County seat, there is a newly discovered grotto. It is said to be the largest Buddhist grotto ruins ever found in China. The initial studies show that the Donggar ruins are of one of the eight monasteries built during the reign of Rinchen Sampu of the Guge Kingdom. Built in the 10th century, the monastery was an important political, economic and cultural center of the Guge Kingdom.
On the two-kilometer-wide cliff, there are more than 200 caves. These beehive-like caves look so wonderful and house some excellent murals.
To the north of the ruins are the Piyang Grottoes composed of more than 1,000 caves. Here there are pagoda forests, temples and remains of castle walls.