Madoi, also known as “Mato” or “Machuka“, with meaning of “the source of the Yellow River” in Tibetan, it is located in the northwest of the Guoluo Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai Province. Historically, it was a post station for entering Tibet from the 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 the upper reaches of the Yellow River. It is sparsely populated and has an altitude of more than 4,000 meters. Because the source of the Yellow River is located in the county, people have come here to trace its roots since ancient times.
Madoi County is bordered by Dulan County to the north, Xinghai County and Maqen County to the east, Darla County and Sershul County of Sichuan Province to the south, Yushu City and Qumarleb County to the west, with a width of 207 kilometers from north to south, and a length of 228 kilometers from east to west, with a total area of 25253 square kilometers. The average altitude is above 4200 meters, and the 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 June, July, August, and September
Local climate Plateau mountain climate
Most popular sites
Bayan Har Mountains is located in the 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. The Bayan Har Pass is at the middle of the mountain range. Since ancient times, it has been the 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 the “Sister Lake at the Source of the Yellow River”.
Eling Lake is in the east, and Zhaling Lake is in the west. The Bayan langma Mountain is in between this two lake and separating each other. From a high place, it can be seen that the 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 the shallow water is milky white, so it is called the “white long lake”.
The Yellow River flows out from the 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 the 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 the “blue long lake”.
BTW: this two lake are temporarily closed due to envirment protection, the reopen time is unknown
The site of the 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, the site of the ancient tomb complex was violently excavated by tomb robbers and suffered severe damage
Geography and climate
Madoi County is a high plain area, the terrain slopes from northwest to southeast, the altitude is between 4500-5000 meters, the terrain is relatively flat, the specific height is 500-1000 meters, the northwest is higher, the southeast is lower, and there are flat land, desert land, marshland between the mountains. The geotectonic unit belongs to the Bayan Har fold belt, and the tectonic lines all trend from northwest to southeast, and the geomorphic profile is obviously controlled by structure. The 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 the difference between 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. The annual average temperature is -4.1℃. Except from May to September, the 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 the place with the lowest extreme daily temperature in Qinghai Province. The hottest month in July is 7.5°C, the extreme daily maximum temperature is 22.9°C. Madoi County has strong sunlight during the day, and the temperature drops sharply in night. The daily temperature difference is large. There is no absolute frost-free period throughout the year.
Madoi County is the birthplace of the Yellow River, with dense rivers and numerous lakes. There are 4,077 lakes in the county. The main rivers in the territory include Maqu, Requ, Jiangqu, Lenaqu, Duoqu, etc.
Population and Ethnic Groups
At the end of 2013, the total population was 14,570. Among them, the Tibetan population is 13,439, accounting for 92.24% of the total population, and the agricultural and animal husbandry population is 11,355, accounting for 77.93% of the total population. There are 9 ethnic groups in Maduo County, including Han, Tibetan, Mongolian, Hui, Salar, Manchu, Tu, Yao and Miao.
Madoi County 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 the 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 the other party or both parties, and it is an expression of solemnity and credibility.
The Madoi Tibetans have a kissing etiquette, but not with lips, but with forehead or cheek. This ceremony is more common among the 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 the 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 the 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.
Madoi County Brief history
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 the end of the Ming Dynasty and the beginning of the Qing Dynasty, it was under the jurisdiction of the Heshuote Mongolian regime.
In Qing Dynasty, it was under the jurisdiction of Zhangla, Songpan Town, Sichuan.
In the 30th year of the Republic of China (AD 1941), Hajiang Bureau was set up to govern the county
In the 32nd year of the Republic of China (AD 1943), it was merged into Xingchuan and established a governance bureau.
In 1950, Maduo County was established