Litang is located in western Sichuan province, more than 530 kilometers from Chengdu. The county is part of Khampa, the birthplace of Tibetan Buddhism and a historical Tibetan region. Many Chinese tourists drive along the National Highway 318 from Chengdu to Lhasa, which is considered the most beautiful road in all of China. This road passes Litang, and connects many amazing destinations such as Kangding, Xinduqiao, Tagong, Yading and Shangri-La.
With an altitude of 4,014 meters, Litang is one of the highest towns in the world and sits on the edge of a wide grassy valley surrounded by green mountains inhabited by yaks and nomadic herders. The surrounding stunning scenery offers endless possibilities for hiking, horse riding, or motorcycling.
Many Dalai Lamas were born here and lived in the local temple outside the city, which is a very interesting spot. The sixth Dalai Lama, also a famous poet, Tsangyang Gyatso had written many poems about Litang. A must-see moment is an equestrian festival on August 1st, during which nomads perform speed and Opera.
What to Visit in Litang?
As the poem of Tsangyang Gyatso, the sixth Dalai Lama says:
‘Oh, you white crane,
Please Lend me your power to fly.
I will not linger in faraway places,
But shall make a trip to Litang and come back.’
Born here, Tsangyang Gyatso was elected later as the Dalai Lama and went to Lhasa, but Litang is still the place where his dreams linger: He missed the mountains, rivers, family, and people here. So enjoy your journey in this palpable place.
Ganden Thubchen Choekhorling Monastery (Litang Temple)
It is one of the oldest and largest Tibetan Buddhist temples built by Sonam Gyatso, the Third Dalai Lama. Every year around July 10, which is the 15th day of the first month of the Tibetan lunar calendar, the Yak Butter Flower Carving Festival is held in the temple. Meanwhile, a great spiritual procession (Kora) was organized to commemorate the birth of the seventh Dalai Lama. Travelers can visit the splendid architecture, the dazzling array of instruments, various statues of Buddha, the exquisite sculptures, and the vast collection of documents in this temple.
40 kilometers away from Litang, Maoya Grassland is one of the most beautiful and greatest grasslands in China. Inhabited by some camps of nomads and their animals, it has a multifaceted beauty: snow-clad peaks, white clouds, and blue sky. A white pagoda stands in the middle of the grassland. According to legend, it was built by Princess Wencheng.
The White Stupa Park
Located in the center of the city, it is one of the must-see places in Litang. Inside, 119 small stupas with 2.5 meters high surround the main stupa of 33 meters high, forming a unique Stupa Forest. These 119 small stupas represent 119 villages in the county. Every day the Tibetan people circle these stupas to pray in a clockwise direction. The prayer wheel is considered the largest in the world.
Horse Ridding Festival
It is held from August 1 to 5 each year. Tibetans come from all over Kham, Amdo, and Central Tibet to set up their tents on the vast grassland. The most exciting part of this festival is the horse racing. Brave riders take their lovely decorated horses to compete in the races showing off their excellent riding skills including picking up some sort of ball from the back of a running horse and shooting at galloping targets. The women are dressed in traditional jewelry and look beautiful as they cheer on the riders.
85km from Litang town, the Genie Mountain is still not very touristy, but it is home to magnificent landscapes drawn with primitive forests, vast meadows, clear lakes, and natural hot springs. With 6,204 meters, Genie Peak is the third highest peak in Sichuan. The summit is covered in snow all year round, and it can be seen on the horizon from far away. Recently, more and more mountaineering enthusiasts have come here, trying to reach the top.
When to Visit Litang?
The best time to visit Litang is between May and October. In summer, average temperatures are around 19 degrees during the day time and 8 degrees when night falls. In winter, it is freezing, with temperatures around 8 degrees during the day, minus 10 degrees when night falls.
How to Go to Litang?
Litang is a remote area located more than 530 km from Chengdu. It takes about two days to get there, and on the way, you can visit some interesting attractions, like the Bifengxia Giant Pandas center, Tagong, Xinduqiao, etc. If you don’t want to have too much time by car, you can take a flight from Chengdu.
Share this article