Guinan County, also known as “Mangra (Mangla) County“, is a county in the eastern part of Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai Province. It covers an area of 6,693 square kilometers. It has a vast terrain, magnificent scenery and a wide variety of biological species. Guinan County is adjacent to Zeku County to the east, Tongde County to the south, Xinghai County and Gonghe County to the west, and Guide County to the north. The Longyangxia Reservoir, the largest reservoir in the upper reaches of the Yellow River, is built at the junction of the northern part of the county and Gonghe County.
Best travel time: June to September
Local climate: Plateau continental climate
Most popular sites
Tarshul Gompa It is located in Horseshoe shaped Valley surrounded by green mountains on three sides some 15 kilometers from Guinan county; There are more than 30 statues of Sakyamuni, Tsongkhapa and Maitreya Buddha. Among them, a 4-foot-high statue of Sakyamuni is the most precious. It is said that the statue has the remains of bones of Bodhisattva Gadgadasvara on its chest, and there is a natural image of Avalokitesvara on the bone. In addition,the gonpa also houses 3 Tripitaka, and more than a thousand masterpieces by eminent monks in Buddhism, as well as numerous gold and silver artifacts and other Buddhist supplies;
Lutsang Gompa also known as “Lu Gonpa”, its full name is “Lutsang Gon Shedrub Gepeling”; Located at the foot of Hamairi Mountain, about 2 kilometers northwest of Mangla township, it is administratively under the jurisdiction of Senduo Township. There are 955 houses in this gompa, among which the main buildings are 1 assembly hall called “Qia Dangma”, 1 main hall of “Lhakang Sai Dangma” and 1 “Rushze Lhakang” hall. It was demolished during the “Cultural Revolution” in 1960s’ of 20th century, and being reopened in 1981. Now there are 15 sutra halls were rebuilt, and 87 monks’ houses; There are now about 90 monks including one living Buddha
Tuli Monastery This is the fusion of Tibetan and Han monastery. It was built by believers from both Tibetan and Chinese in 1916. In 2005, the Tuo Le Temple was rebuilt. There are currently more than 600 monks.
Cayo Cultural Site The Cayo culture was named after it was first discovered in Cayo Village, Huangzhong County, Qinghai Province in 1923. “Cayo” is Tibetan, it means the flat land in front of the mountain pass. The Cayo culture is an aboriginal culture with the largest number and the widest distribution among various ancient cultural sites in Qinghai Province.
At the end of the 3rd century AD, the various tribes of the Qiang people in Guinan belonged to the Tuyuhun Kingdom.
During the Qin and Han dynasties, the Qiang people’s pastoral land was for Shaodang. During the 16 Kingdoms Period of the Eastern Jin Dynasty, Guinan was called Shazhou.
The Southern Song, Qi, and Liang dynasties officially called Tuyuhun the “the Kingdom of River South”.
In the 5th year of the Sui Dynasty (AD 609), the Guinan area was under the jurisdiction of Chishui County after the Sui Army defeated Tuyuhun.
In the Tang Dynasty, it was once under the control of Tubo. In the 12th year of the Tianbao of Tang Dynasty (AD 753), Zhuohe County was established in Guide, and Guinan was under its jurisdiction. In order to consolidate its territory, the goverment of Tang dynasty set up the Jin-Tian troops in the area of Longyangxia, Wu-Ning troops in the area of Guo-ma-ying, and Wei-Sheng troops in the area of Sha-gou.
After the 5th year of Huizong Chongning of Northern Song Dynasty(AD 1106), the land was occupied by gold again.
In the 7th year of Emperor Gaozong of the Southern Song Dynasty in Shaoxing (1137), Jin ceded the land of Guinan to Xixia for 10 years.
In the first year of Baoyou Lizong of the Southern Song Dynasty (the 3rd year of Mongolian Menggehan, 1253 AD), the Mongol Empire set up Tubo Mansion in Hezhou (now Linxia, Gansu). Guinan area was under the jurisdiction.
In the 8th year of Hongwu of the Ming Dynasty (AD 1375), the Yuangui Dezhou was renamed the Guide Guard Thousand Households, and Guinan was under its jurisdiction.
In the 57th year of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (AD 1792), the Guide Office was changed to the Guide Hall, which was under the jurisdiction of the Xining Mansion. Today, Guinan was still under the jurisdiction of the Guide Hall.
In the 2nd year of the Republic of China (1913), the Lucang administrative district was established in Guinan today.
In March 1953, the Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Region was established and renamed as Prefecture in December in the same year; Guinan is one of the five counties of Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.
Geography and Climate
Guinan County belongs to the Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, accounting for approximately 14.45% of the total area of the prefecture. It is located in the northeastern part of Qinghai Province, between the Xiqin Mountains and the Yellow River which is in the transition zone from the edge of the Qilian Mountains to the Kunlun Mountains. It is also the eastern extension of the Qaidam block-the Gonghe Basin. The southern part of the territory is a part of the fold plateau of the Xiqin mountain. Zhihai Mountain is the highest peak in the territory, with an altitude of 5,011 meters. The central part is the Yellow River Valley plain, which is open and flat, of which the Mugetan Desert covers an area of 1.12 million mu. It is a typical inland desert, with continuous sand dunes and little pasture. The terraces and valleys formed by the cutting and erosion of the Yellow River and its tributaries, the Shagou River and the Mangla River are wide or narrow and relatively flat; the Laxiwa Yellow River in the north is at an elevation of 2,222 meters, which is the lowest point in Guinan county. Most areas in the territory are between 2,150 meters and 4,500 meters above sea level. The scattered distribution of mountains, beaches and valleys is the characteristic of Guinan’s topography.
Guinan County has a plateau continental climate with long winters and short summers. There is no severe cold in winter and intense heat in summer, which is suitable for the development of grassland animal husbandry. The annual average temperature is 2.3℃, the annual extreme maximum temperature is 31.8℃, the annual extreme minimum temperature is -29.2℃, the annual precipitation is 403.8 mm, and the annual average sunshine hours is 2910 hours; the temperature is low, the sunshine is long, the radiation is strong, and the precipitation is concentrated. Rain and heat are in the same season, but there is insufficient precipitation and large evaporation.
Guinan County Ethnic groups
Guinan County is a multi-ethnic settlement area dominated by Tibetans, with 12 ethnic groups including Tibetan, Han, Mongolian, Hui, Tu, and Salar. In 2006, the population was 70,000, of which 94% were Tibetans. As of 2005, the population density of the county did not exceed 11 people per square kilometer.
Guinan County Culture and Festival
A Tibetan woman living in the Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Qinghai Province has a three-piece braid made of leather and cloth (called Jialong in Tibetan) on her back, which is covered with jewelry such as silver shields, silver medals or shell corals. The red thread is used as the ear, which could even reach to the foot. The embroidery pattern on the hair cover varies according to the customs of different regions, mainly Eight treasures, hundred knots, flowers, animals, moire, etc.
Three major festivals are held every year, Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha, and Mawlid.