Madoi, also known as “Mato” or “Machuka“, with meaning of “source of Yellow River” in Tibetan, it is located in northwest of Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai Province. Historically, it was a post station for entering Tibet from inner land of China, and it was also an ancient ferry.
There are different tribes including Han, Hui, and Salar, and mostly is Tibetan. Madoi is the first county seat in upper reaches of Yellow River. It is sparsely populated and has an altitude of more than 4,000 meters. Because source of Yellow River is located in this county, people have come here to trace its roots since ancient times.
It is 207 kilometers from north to south, and 228 kilometers from east to west, with a total area of 25,253 square kilometers. Average altitude is above 4200 meters, and annual average temperature is -4℃. It belongs to an alpine grassland climate. Erling Lake, Zhaling Lake, Donggetsona Lake, Xing Suhai lake, and Yellow River have made this county with rich water resources.
Best travel time
From June to September
Plateau mountain climate
Most popular sites
Bayan Har Mountains is located in southwest of Madoi County. It means “Fertile Black Mountain” in Mongolian, in Tibetan, it is called “Chala” meaning “Gorgeous Mountain”. It extends 780 kilometers east from Kunlun Mountains, and being regarded as southern branch of this mountain. Bayan Har Pass is at middle of mountain range. Since ancient times, it has been main road to connect Xining and Yushu.
Eling lake (also Ngoring lake) and Zhaling lake (also Kyaring lake), are two plateau freshwater lake, known as “Sister Lake at Source of the Yellow River”.
Eling Lake is in east, and Zhaling Lake is in west. Bayan langma Mountain is in between this two lake and separating each other. From a high place, it can be seen that Yellow River divides into three streams and flows into Zhaling Lake.
Zhaling Lake’s surface is wide from east to west and narrow from north to south. It covers an area of 526 square kilometers, with an average water depth of 8.6 meters, and the shallowest point is just over 1 meter, with a water storage capacity of 4.6 billion cubic meters. Because shallow water is milky white, so it is called “white long lake”.
Yellow River flows out from south bank of Zaling Lake, passes through a Yellow River gorge about 20 kilometers long and more than 300 meters wide, and flows into Eling Lake in nine strands in southwest corner.
Eling Lake is wide from north to south and narrow from east to west, covering an area of 618 square kilometers, with an average water depth of 17.6 meters and a deepest point of more than 30 meters, with a water storage capacity of 10.7 billion cubic meters. Known as “blue long lake”.
BTW: this two lake are temporarily closed due to envirment protection, reopen time is unknown
Mogedwa Ancient Tombs is located about 80 kilometers northwest of Huashixia. It is a third-level cultural relics protection unit in Qinghai Province, covering an area of about 2,000 square meters. Unfortunately, due to being left unattended for a long time, site of ancient tomb complex was violently excavated by tomb robbers and suffered severe damage
Geography and climate
Madoi County is a high plain area, terrain slopes from northwest to southeast, altitude is between 4500-5000 meters, terrain is relatively flat, height diffeence is 500-1000 meters, its northwest is higher, and southeast is lower. There are flat land, desert land, marshland between mountains. Geotectonic unit belongs to Bayan Har fold belt, and tectonic lines all trend from northwest to southeast, and geomorphic profile is obviously controlled by structure. Dominant landform types in Madoi are wide valleys and river-lake basins, which are mostly formed by rifting.
Madoi County has an alpine grassland climate. There are no four seasons in a year, only cold and warm, which are usually called winter and summer respectively. Winter is long and severely cold, dry and windy, and summer is short, warm and rainy. Annual average temperature is -4.1℃. Except from May to September, its monthly average temperature is below -3.0℃. The coldest January is -16.8℃. In 1978, it reached -26.6℃. The extreme daily lowest temperature was -48.1℃. It is a place with the lowest extreme daily temperature in Qinghai Province. The hottest month in July is 7.5°C, extreme daily maximum temperature is 22.9°C. Madoi County has strong sunlight during a day, and temperature drops sharply in night. Daily temperature difference is large. There is no absolute frost-free period throughout a year.
Madoi County is birthplace of Yellow River, with dense rivers and numerous lakes. There are 4,077 lakes in thid county. main rivers of this county include Maqu, Requ, Jiangqu, Lenaqu, Duoqu, etc.
Population and Ethnic Groups
At end of 2013, total population was 14,570. Among them, Tibetan population is 13,439, accounting for 92.24% of total population, and agricultural and animal husbandry population is 11,355, accounting for 77.93% of total population. There are 9 ethnic groups in Maduo County, including Han, Tibetan, Mongolian, Hui, Salar, Manchu, Tu, Yao and Miao.
Local Culture & Custom
Local Tibetan don’t eat fish, dog, donkey, horse. There is almost no bedamn word in Maduo’s Tibetan vocabulary. Bedamning is regarded as a shame, and scolding person will be despised and ridiculed.
“Hada” (Tibetan transliteration) is an item often used in Tibetan gifts and daily communication etiquette. Generally, there are two kinds of white and light yellow, five to six inches wide and three to five feet long. Giving “Hada” is the highest respect or congratulation to other party or both parties, and it is an expression of solemnity and credibility.
Madoi’s Tibetan have a kissing etiquette, but not with lips, but with forehead or cheek. This ceremony is more common among elderly. Old people often give this gift to show their affection when they meet their relatives, friends. But it is not accepted between young men and women.
Funerals in Maduo area generally have 4 forms: cremation, sky burial, water burial, and earth burial.
Cremation is a funeral ceremony for living Buddha and more famous religious figures.
Celestial burial is the most common form of funeral. Except for children and people with special circumstances, celestial burials are performed by adults regardless of gender.
Water burial is relatively simple. Tibetans in Madoi area regard water burial as the worst end. Generally, people who use water burials are suicide, severely ill, no offspring, or being designated by Akkha or Living Buddha for water burial. Others absolutely do not perform water burial.
Like water burials, earth burial is rarely carried out, with only a few cases , scuh as diseases, tortures, and burials of children.
In ancient times, it belonged to Qiang area.
In Tang dynasty, it was under jurisdiction of Jimizhou and later becoming a land of Tubo kingdom.
In Ming Dynasty, it belongs to ancient Kham region.
At end of Ming Dynasty and beginning of Qing Dynasty, it was under jurisdiction of Heshuote Mongolian regime.
In Qing Dynasty, it was under jurisdiction of Zhangla, Songpan Town, Sichuan.
In 30th year of Republic of China (AD 1941), Hajiang Bureau was set up to govern county
In 32nd year of Republic of China (AD 1943), it was merged into Xingchuan and established a governance bureau.
In 1950, Madoi County was established