Located 350 kilometers from Chengdu and in the Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous prefecture, Tagong is a must-see stop in western Sichuan Province. This small town is located in the center of the Khampa region, one of the three historical regions of Tibet.
Tagong, Lhagang in Tibetan, means the land favored by Buddha. According to a local legend, Princess Wencheng of the Tang dynasty (618 AD－907 AD) went to Lhasa for her wedding to Tibetan King. She brought a golden twelve-year-old Sakyamuni statue. When she passed this place, this statue started to talk and said that he loved this place and would like to stay. However, this Buddhist Statue is a precious present for the Tibetan King to strengthen the friendship between the two countries. So the princess made a replica and placed it in Tagong Monastery. From then on, Tagong became famous in the Tibetan area and his monastery was called little Jokhang. It is said that people in the Khampa Tibetan area who couldn’t go to Lhasa for pilgrimage, can go to Tagong Monastery, which can also accumulate merit to the Buddha.
What To Visit at Tagong?
Tagong is not very big, but very interesting to stay in. You can see a different culture here: Tibetan monastery, Prayer Flags, Marnyi Stones, etc.
You can slowly wander the Tagong grasslands. Covering an area of 712 square kilometers, it is the most famous and beautiful grassland in Garzi. From June to August, the pastures are green and lush, and the sheep and yak graze slowly. If lucky, you will be invited to a warm herdsman’s home for a cup of butter tea. In this beautiful place, a horse trek is a popular option, and on the way, you can see a valley full of prayer stone carvings and paintings.
The horse festival is held once or twice a year. It is the most important festival for the Tibetans: the locals in neighboring areas wear colorful traditional festival costumes. Then an exciting horse riding competition comes, accompanied by music, dancing, and many other folk activities.
After a hike or horse riding, you can visit Tagong Monastery. One of the three most important Tibetan Buddhist temples in this area is the Sakya Temple of Tibetan Buddhism, which is still active for over 1,000 years and contains the Buddha Statue of Sakyamuni and many precious Tibetan Buddhist relics. Every year in the middle and late June of the Tibetan calendar, the temple will hold a grand Buddhist festival, the monks dance in their masks, and the locals wear their most beautiful clothes.
Looking from Tagong monastery, Yarla snow mountain seems to be in front of us. With 5,820 meters above sea level, it is described as one of the four sacred mountains in the Tibetan region and is also known as the “Second Shambhala” in Tibetan tradition. Shambhala is supposed to be an ideal world, a fantasy world inhabited by gods. Locals believe Yarla’s snowy mountains bring good luck. Depending on where you look, the peaks appear in different forms.
When Go To Tagong?
The summer and autumn are the best time to visit Tagong. In summer, it is not hot like Chengdu because of its high altitude. It rains, but it won’t affect the visit. After the rain, the grassland is greener, and the air is fresher. In autumn, it turns a bit cold, but there are more colors: the white clouds, blue sky, green grassland with the black yaks, the golden leaves, etc.
How Go To Tagong?
There is no airport or railway station at Tagong. Even from Chengdu to Kangding, another Tibetan city 100 kilometers from Tagong (2hours’ bus), there are many flights, you are suggested to take a bus to Tagong. From Chengdu, you have 02 possibilities: one is that you take the road through Ya ‘an, Kangding, Xindu Bridge, and it will take you 6 or 7 hours. On the way, you can stop overnight in Ya’an for a visit to Giant pandas in the Bifengxia, or in Kangding City for a discovery of the Mugecuo lake.
You can take another long road to find the Qingcheng Taoist Mountain, the Sigunaingshan Snow Mountain, Danba Tibetan villages, Moshi Black Stone Park, etc. For this option, you are suggested to have 02 nights on the way, the first night in the Siguniangshan Snow Mountain and the second night in a Tibetan village called Zhonglu in the Danba City.
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