Riwoqe County Overview
Riwoche is a little known county located in Chamdo prefecture in northern Tibet (Kham). It sits at around 3400m above sea level and borders Nangchen to the north, Chamdo to the east and Dengchen to the west. Its administrative center is located in Riwoche Town. The Dzi River, a tributary of the Mekong River, flows through the region.
Attractions of Riwoqe County
Riwoche Monastery: The main temple is three-storied and has been undergoing restoration since 1985 after its destruction by Chinese communists. It is very imposing, supported by huge tree trunks and painted in black red and white vertical stripes, which is distinctive of the Taklung lineage. The monastery contained a notable 14th-century cloth painting entitled Jnanatapa which was unearthed in recent years. The central figure depicts the Onpo Lama Rinpoche and the spiritual lineage of Riwoche monastery.
The surrounding community of practitioners includes both members of the Kagyu and Nyingma schools, some of whom are married.
Yiri Hot Spring(伊日温泉): located at Riwoqê County, surrounded by the hills, is a famous hot spring which can cure diseases.
Jiumichan Monastery(旧密禅寺): within Riwoqê County, 105 KM away from the county seat, is a national key scenic spot.
Naitang Monastery(乃堂寺): located at Riwoqê County, with Dingxia Mountain(丁夏山)on the back, Naishui River(乃水河) in the front, and Duoji Cliff(多吉岩) on the north. Buddhists thought it as the holy land of Ruchi 16 Arhats(如持十六罗汉), called it as Naitang Monastery(乃堂寺).
Qamdo Folk Custom in Tibet
Qamdo Folk Custom in Tibet – Dressing
Qamdo dressing is representative a regional culture and spirit. People in Qamdo Prefecture are called Kangba people. Men dress themselves very vigorous and unrestrained, bold and uninhibited. They prefer to wear long Tibetan knife, or other weapons. Their clothes are usually made of the silks and satins, cloth, and fabric, etc, and the edges are usually embroidered with otter's skin, tiger's skin, or leopard's skin, etc. Ladies dress themselves very graceful with as many gold and silver as possible, such as red coral earrings, coral, agate, and amber. They usually wear red coral which embroidered the silver and bronze on their forehead. It is said that the red coral was once wore by the imperial concubine of King Gesar. It looks very luxuriant and beautiful.
Qamdo Folk Custom in Tibet – Festival
Most of the festivals in Qamdo Prefecture are the same with other regions in Tibet Autonomous Region. But some festivals in Qamdo Prefecture are unique and distinctive. For example, the Shoton Festival and Wangkor Festivals are highly celebrated in Lhasa city and other regions in Tibet, but both of them are not available in Qamdo Prefecture.
With the age-old and profound history and tradition, Qamdo folk customs related to the business activities in Qamdo Prefecture are very popular and famous, such as Tsongqyue Festival. In 1326, one great master of Kagyu Sect appointed June 15th according to Tibetan calendar to celebrate the completion of the ancestral monastery of Kagyu Sect. The religious ceremonies were greatly held at that time. It is said that people would transact their business very successfully if they worship during Tsongqyue Festival. Therefore Tsongqyue Festival gradually became a very popular and splendid festival in Qamdo Prefecture in Tibet.
Qamdo Folk Custom in Tibet – Dance
Qamdo "Zhuo Dance" is also called Qamdo "Guozhuang Dance". Qamdo "Guozhuang Dance" is showed by large numbers of people together. It is characteristic of the movements of the foot. It is the most welcomed dance in Qamdo Prefecture.
Tingqying Repa Dance
Tingqying Repa Dance is a comprehensive performance of speaking, singing, dancing, acrobatics and breathing technique. Wuto Repa Dance is most age-old dance in all the schools of Tingqying Repa Dance.
Mangkang Chord Dance
Mangkang Chord Dance is performed by many men and women together. A man will dance while play the urheen. The women will dance with the tune and chime in with men's songs together.
Qamdo Folk Custom in Tibet – Religion
Tibet Buddhism was greatly learned in Qamdo Prefecture since the 11th century. Before the introduction of Tibet Buddhism, Qamdo people mainly believed the natural deities. They thought that the deities exist everywhere in their life and fight with the devils for them. Hence they highly respected the deities and worship them very much.
Besides, people also believed the huge rocks, especially the white rock. They believed that the white rock is the essence of the snow mountain. They usually put the white stones on their roof, Manidui, or windowsill, etc.
Qamdo Folk Custom in Tibet – Taboos
The marmot was said to be the pet of the gnome's. Hence hunting the marmot is not allowed in Qamdo Prefecture. They do not eat dogs, monkeys, bears, and other animals which have the paws.
China National Highway 214
China National Highway 317
How to Get to Qamdo Riwoqe County
Located in the Bangda Grassland, the Chamdo Bangda Airport is the world's highest airport and has the longest runway. It is 136 kilometers (84.5 miles) from Chamdo County. As the first lateral airport in Tibet, Chamdo Bangda Airport started to be built in 1993 and finished in October, 1994. At present, it has air routes to/from domestic cities including Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Lhasa, Tianjin, Xian, and Xining; meanwhile, flights to/from Nepal are also operated at this airport.
Passengers can take airport shuttle bus to Riwoqe County from the airport.
The airport inquiry number is +86 0895-4821004.
The Prefecture is over 1,200 kilometers (746 miles) from Chengdu and over 1,100 kilometers (684 miles) from Lhasa. Every week at least three buses travel between Qamdo and the two cities. Apart from regular buses, the tourist bureau sometimes sends special buses to Lhasa for visitors. It usually takes 10 days from Lhasa to visit Riwoche. Moreover, tourists have to arrange a tour through a travel agency(Mysterious Tibet) for independent travel to this region is not allowed.
For situated at a remote place, however, Riwoche rarely sees foreign travelers. Besides, a full tour to this area requires travel permits, a tour guide and a private vehicle, which keeps out a large number of foreign tourists. It usually takes 10 days from Lhasa to visit Riwoche. Moreover, tourists have to arrange a tour through a travel agency(Mysterious Tibet) for independent travel to this region is not allowed.