Saga County Overview
Basic Information of Saga County
Saga County is located in the northwest of Shigatse, southwest of Tibet. It acted as the center of the three counties of southern Shigatse. It is border to Angren County（昂仁县） and Nyelam County（聂木拉县） in east, Jilong County（吉隆县） and Nepal in south, Zhongba County（仲巴县） in west and Ngari Prefecture（阿里地区） in North. Tourists usually travel to Mt. Kailash（冈仁波齐峰） via Saga County during Tibet tour.
Due to the special location, the terrain in Saga County is higher in north than east. Mt. Kailash is standing in northwest and Himalaya Mountain Range is standing in south part of Saga County. There are over tens of small lakes in this area and 6 hot-springs. Rujao Hot-spring is the most famous as it is shade of a bowl with 30 square meters scale, and it is said to be helpful to many common disease such as stomachache, dermatosis, and arthritis.
Yarlung Zangbo River（雅鲁藏布江） originates from Jiema Yangzong Glacier（杰马央宗冰川） in Zhongba County（仲巴县） in the northern foothills of the Himalayas. It is the first great river in Tibet, which looks like a silver dragon. Originated from the Northern Slope of the middle Himalayas, Yarlung Zangbo River which is more than 6,000 meters above the sea level flows from west to east on the south of the famous Tibetan plateau. The main streams of Yarlung Zangbo River changes along the course of natural conditions, river valley form and runoff, its basic features can be summed up in ten words: high, mighty, deep, smooth, quiet, long, dangerous, low, unique and elegant. Yarlung Zangbo River can be divided into river source area, upstream, midstream and downstream.
The cultural scenery in Saga County are mainly Nugong Monastery, Tuqing Monastery, Buzha Monastery, Kuyu Monasterya nd Dajiling Monastery.
Nugong Monastery（努贡寺）, located in the southeast of Saga County, Shigatse, Tibetan Autonomous Region, is 104 kilometers away from the county seat. The monastery built in 1182 AD is the Tibetan Buddhist monastery of Nyingma sect（宁玛派）.
Tuqing Monastery（土庆寺）: Located in the east of Saga County, Shigatse, Tibetan Autonomous Region, Tuqing Monastery（土庆寺） is 140 kilometers from the county seat. It was constructed in 1542 and is a monastery of the Gelug sect（土庆寺） of Tibetan Buddhism.
Buzha Monastery（布扎寺） which is 45 kilometers from the county seat is located in Xiongru Town（雄如乡）, the southern part of Saga County, Shigatse, Tibet Autonomous Region. It was built in 1780 AD and is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery of Gelug sect（格鲁派）.
Kuyu Monastery（库郁寺） is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery of Kagyu sect（噶举派）, located in Kuyu Village（库郁村）, Changguo Town（昌果乡）, Saga County（萨嘎县）, Shigatse of Tibetan Autonomous Region.
Dajiling Monastery（达吉岭寺） is located in the north of Saga County, 35 kilometers away from the county seat. The monastery of Gelug sect（格鲁派） in Tibetan Buddhism which was founded in 1729 AD is one of the sub-temples of the Jokhang Monastery（大昭寺） in Lhasa.
The Climate in Saga County
The average temperature for the year in Saga is 29.3°F (-1.5°C). The warmest month, on average, is July with an average temperature of 46.2°F (7.9°C) while the coolest month on average is January, with an average temperature of 12.4°F (-10.9°C).
The average amount of precipitation for the year in Saga is 11.1" (281.9 mm). The month with the most precipitation on average is August with 2.2" (55.9 mm) of precipitation while the month with the least precipitation on average is November with an average of 0.3" (7.6 mm). There are an average of 110.4 days of precipitation, with the most precipitation occurring in July with 21.6 days and the least precipitation occurring in December with 2.2 days.
The Customs in Saga County
There are many features of Tibetan clothes.
The fur-lined jacket made by sheepskin. The material of collar is leopard skin in general. The otter is usually edged on the dressing.
A kind of large summer dressing made by Tibet wool.
A kind of fur-lined jacket made by lambskin.
In general it is about 3-4 meters long made by clothing. During the festival, blue, yellow, and red silks and satins are used to be the waistband.
Shoes and Socks
Tibetans usually use the shoes made by oxhide, and the socks made by Tibetan wool of hand work.
In autumn and winter Tibetans usually wear the fox fur hat. In spring and summer Tibetans usually dress wool hat.
Most Tibetan festivals center around in spring and summer, including several grandest and most popular festivals. If you are planning to visit Tibet, you’d better refer to Tibetan festival calendar in advance. It will undoubtedly add a lot of wonderful unforgettable memories for your Tibet tour if you happen to come at the right time.
The Festivals in Saga County
Tibetan New Year Festival
Tibetan New Year Festival, also known as Losar Festival, is the most significant festival in Tibet. Just as its name implies, the New Year takes place on 1st January of Tibetan calendar. Tibetan people begin to celebrate on 29th December and the festival lasts for about 2 weeks, with the main celebrations on the first 3 days. Tibetan New Year Festival is not only celebrated in Tibet, but also in Bhutan and Mongolia. Even in Tibet, different areas have different ways to celebrate it.
Before the Tibetan New Year, each household makes or buys "qiema" (a wooden measure for grain), expressing the wish of good harvest and auspiciousness in the coming year. They will also make "kasai" (fried twisted dough sticks) in various forms, which looks golden and tastes crispy, and "luoguo" (a kind of food made of butter in the shape of sheephead), signifying thriving domestic animals and abundant life. In addition, they offer dried or fresh fruits, butter and brick tea to Buddhas. Then they will Have a family reunion to welcoming the New Year, and visit their friends & paying pilgrimage to the monastery.
Bathing Festival usually falls in July according to Tibetan calendar. Lasting a week, it is also known as the Bathing Week. In Tibetan it is called "Gamariji," meaning Venus. As the star rises to the sky, the mass bathing starts. As the star sets, the bathing ends. Legend goes that bathing at this period is beneficial to health.
According to Tibetan Buddhism, the water in Tibet at this time has 8 advantages: sweet, cool, soft, light, clear, clean, unharmful to throat, nor to belly. Judged from the natural environment and climate of Tibet, the river water has a relatively high temperature and is suitable for bathing. During the 7 days, thousands of Tibetan men and women go to river or lake to have baths.
Ongkor Festival is an old festival in farming areas of Tibet held in each August according to Tibetan calendar when all crops are waiting for harvest." Ongkor" in Tibetan means "surrounding the farmland". Major activities include horse racing, shooting, singing and dancing, Tibetan Opera, stone holding and wrestling. The "Ongkor" not only shows people's wish for a good harvest, but also a good time for them to rest. Since crops ripen in different times, the festival is held accordingly. The Ongkor Festival originated in the valley at the middle and lower reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River. The initial form is offering sacrifices to gods by natural villages to pray for a good harvest.
Here are some travel tips we listed for the visitors so that the visitors can have an unforgettable and amazing trip in Saga County.
Traveling Tips in Saga County
Best Time to Go — Mid Spring to Late Autumn
Spring in Tibet is April and May. Tibet will normally be reopened from early April. It’s a good time to travel, before the summer tourist crowds arrive.
Tibet's summer time is a "sea of festivals", with thangka unrollings, horse races on the grasslands, and other significant Tibetan Buddhist events. The weather is warmer and the oxygen content is higher. Thus summer is the peak travel season for Tibet. See more on Tibetan Festivals and Tibet festival dates for 2017.
Autumn in Tibet is September and October. It’s also a busy travel time in Tibet as it has good weather for hiking and camping.
Winter Travelling Suggestions
If you travel Tibet in winter, you may meet harsh weather conditions. And tent hostels in Everest Base Camp will be closed. However, the hotel price, flight/train ticket price will be more reasonable. And you can avoid crowds in winter.
Note that Tibet will be closed during Tibetan New Year period, usually falls in February and March.
The Transportation in Saga County
As Shigatse is 480 kilometers away from Saga County and there are no shuttle bus or train direct to Saga County, visitors can drive there or have a car-pooling for about 9 hours. Meanwhile, visitors can have an opportunity to appreciate the beautiful scenery along the way.