“Nangqian” means “internal prime minister” in Tibetan language, and it was official title of Tubo period.
According to “Genealogy of King Nangqian”, Zhiwalu, a descendant of Zhu family, moved to southern part of Yushu from Dzeduo Mountain in Kangding of Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, along with his family and some other people.
It is said that his ancestor Jihu Hulong Rongbu once served as minister of a certain dynasty in mainland of China. In order to commemorate glory of ancestor, “Nangqian” was used as name of this tribe, and then to name place where they moved in.
Nangqian County, also known as “Nangqen County“, or “Nangchen County“, is a county under jurisdiction of Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai Province. It is located in southernmost tip of Qinghai Province.
It borders Tibet Autonomous Region to southeast and southwest. It covers an area of 12,741 square kilometers and has a population of 60,000 in 2001, of which 99% are Tibetans. County seat is Xiangda Town.
Nangqian County is a spring salt producing area with a long history in Qinghai. There are 29 salt springs exposed in an area of more than 10,000 square kilometers, of which eight have been turned into salt fields. History of these salt farms can be traced back nearly a thousand years ago; salt produced here allows remote Nangqian to integrate into regional trading circle and become an important commercial and trade center.
Best time to travel
From May to October
Continental monsoon season
Most popular sites
Qunguo Tashi is contained in Zanarong grassland with an altitude of more than 5,200 meters in Zaduo County. Mountains around grassland are like pearl necklaces hanging upside down in sky. Follow rushing ice trough gurgling down towards Qunguo Tashi Beach in middle of grassland
Rancha Grand Canyon is about 110 kilometers away from county seat. It is only way to Dana Monastery. Landscape of canyon is unique. Jiqu River rushes out through canyon and rugged rocks are full of canyon. Ancient Zongguo Monastery is located on cliff at top of valley entrance, and an ancient pagoda of Sakya King stands beside Monastery.
Zongge monastery Located about 6 kilometers west of Ginisai Township, it belongs to Barong Kagyu Sect. Main monastery is Lacha Monastery in Jinben township. Zongge monastery is one of 18 Barong Kagyu monasteries in Kham District. Sachin Gunga Ningpo (1092-1158), the first ancestor of Sakya pa, and the great translator Galo Zawa passed away in this monastery, and relic stupas were built for them
Gar monastery is located in Baizhaduo county, some 70 kilometers away from Xiangda Town, about 3700 meters above sea level. According to legend, Padmasambhava once practiced and suppressed demons here more than 700 years ago. Around 1200 AD, in accordance with will of founder of Driguntil Kagyu pa of Tibetan Buddhism, Gar Monastery was founded here. There are Cakrasamvara Hall, Vajra Hall, Dakini Hall, and more than 1,000 small statues of founder of Kagyu pa. Later, upper and lower monasteries were formed. Those who entered upper monastery were monks with strict discipline, and those who entered lower monastery were laymen.
Surmang Monastery is also called “Zurmang monastery“. It is ancestral monastery of Surmang Kagyu lineage of Karma Kagyu branch. It was founded in 1423 AD by disciple of 5th Karmapa, who was also recognized by Karmapa as incarnation of Master Tilopada. Current Surmang Kawang Rinpoche is 12th reincarnation of Tsongmaxie
Naijiama Holy Mountain is located on west bank of Zhaqu River by Zongzashe of Qianmai Village with an altitude of 3640 meters. “Naijiama ” means leader of a hundred sacred mountains in Tibetan. It is a sacred mountain with meaning of symbolism recorded in verse of twenty-fifth sacred mountain by Master Padmasambhava
Zang-Niang stupa is located on south bank of Tongtian River, about 40 kilometers west of Zhongda Township. It is known as world’s three most well-known Tibetan Buddhist pagodas along with Bodhnath Stupa in Kathmandu and Pelkhor Pagoda in Gyantse. Pagoda was built in seventh year of Tiansheng in Northern Song Dynasty (AD 1030) and has a history of nearly a thousand years. This pagoda is more than 40 meters high and has a circumference of 200 meters. In 2001, it was listed as a national key cultural relics protection unit.
Geography and climate
Nangqian County is adjacent to Haixi Mongolian Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in north, Golog Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in east, Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan Province in southeast, and Chamdo City, Nagqu City in Tibet Autonomous Region to south and southwest.
It is 158 kilometers from east to west, and 131 kilometers from north to south. With a total area of 12741 square kilometers, and located in eastern of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. Hengduan Mountains is in its south and main plateau in north. Mountains are criss-crossed, with overlapping peaks. Four juxtaposed branches of Tanggula Mountain form an overall sloping topographical framework in northwest to southeast direction. In northwest, land is high and gentle, generally 4500-5000 meters above sea level, and belongs to mountainous landform.
Nangqian County is with long sunshine time, strong radiation, large daily temperature difference, heavy and concentrated rainfall, and four seasons are unclear. There are only two seasons of cold and warm, dry and less rain. There are five big rivers: Zhaqu River, Ziqu River, Baqu River, Requ River and Jiqu River.
Population and Ethnic groups
In 2013, total population of Nangqian County was 130,000, including ethnic minorities such as Tibetan, Han, Hui, and Tu.
During Wei and Jin Dynasties, Nangqian County belonged to Qiang people area
In Tang Dynasty, it was under jurisdiction of Tubo kingdom
In Southern Song Dynasty, it was under jurisdiction of Nangqian tribe until Qing Dynasty.
In 18th year of Republic of China (1929), it was under jurisdiction of Yushu County.
In 22nd year of Republic of China (1933), Nangqian County was established.
In 1951, Nangqian County was established, and it has been under jurisdiction of Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Region since then