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  • Gordon Dumoulin

Roads in China | View on one of the three holy mountains in the “last pure land on earth”

View on Mount Jampelyang,

one of the three holy mountains in Yading Natural Reserve,

the “last pure land on earth”

Yading Nature Reserve is located in Daocheng County of Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture (Ganzi Prefecture), 甘孜藏族自治州, དཀར་མཛེས་བོད་རིགས་རང་སྐྱོང་ཁུལ་ in south-west #Sichuan province.

Yading (亚丁) Nature Reserve, in Tibetan Nyingden (ཉིང་རྟེན), covers an area of about 1350 km2 with an average elevation of 4000m. The total Ganzi prefecture is about the size of Bangladesh with a size of 150,000km2 and a population of a little over one million of which about 80% Tibetans. The region was designated by the government as a nature reserve in the late 1990’s.

Inside the Yading Nature Reserve are the 3 holy mountains with Tibetan names Chenresig (Compassion), Chana Dorje (Power) and Jampelyang (Wisdom). In Chinese the mountains are called Yangmaiyong, Xiannairi and Xianuoduoji. These 3 snow-capped peaks sit in a triangle formation with forested valleys, clear rivers, pastures, glacier-fed lakes and abundant wildlife among them. Along with the 800 year old Gongga Chonggu Monastery (贡嘎冲古寺), the area is a mountain sanctuary and major Tibetan pilgrimage site.

Sometimes called “the last pure land on earth” (relating to the celestial realm of a buddha, especially in 淨土 or Chinese Buddhism), Yading Natural Reserve was a hidden natural wonder to the outside world until American botanist and explorer Dr. Joseph Rock explored the southeastern portion of the Tibetan Plateau (western Sichuan and northwest Yunnan provinces) in detail for over 20 years beginning in the mid-1920’s. In 1928, he arrived in Yading and photographed the entire region. In the July 1931 issue of National Geographic, more than 60 pages are dedicated to the writings and photographs of Dr. Rocks travels in this area. This issue of National Geographic gave the world its first pictures of the incredible beauty of the Yading area.

The fictional paradise Shangri-La written in the famous novel “Lost Horizon” by James Hilton (1933), it is likely that James Hilton based his fictional place on the Yading pictures which Joseph Rock published in the July 1931 issue of National Geographic.

In recent years, infrastructure has developed for sustainable tourism in the natural reserve and Daocheng Yading airport was opened in 2013, about 130km from the natural reserve.

#china #china2022 #chinaroads #chinesehistory #chineseculture #chinesesociety #5iz #5izchina

Video source naturesms IG, Douyin

Picture sources :

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