Xinghai County, also known as “Tsigortang County” in Tibetan, is located in southwestern of Qinghai Province, it is in core area of “Three Rivers” National Nature Reserve, with magnificent natural landscapes. Sertzong Mountain, which located in central of Xinghai County, is one of 4 holy mountains in legends of Tibetan in Amdo. There are golden statues of Sakyamuni, Padmasambhava, Tsongkhapa, and Arecang in hall of Sertzong monastery, which is at foot of Sertzong mountain. Murals include both Buddhist scriptures and powers and animal, landscapes, which are colorful and lifelike.
Best travel time: From June to September
Local climate: Plateau continental climate
Most popular sites
Sai Zong monastery (Tosam Yonten Dargyeling) At foot of Saizong Mountain (also known as Drakar Tredzong), some 18 kilometers west of Sangdang Township. According to legend that Guru Padmasambhava, Tsongkhapa, and the first living Buddha of Longwu Monastery, had all been here, and leaving relics. Around end of Qing Dynasty, a Senkang was founded at foot of Saizong Mountain. In 1923, 18 monks’ houses and Angqian were built. After that, sutra hall and Manjusri Hall were built in 1927. Between 1951 and 1954, assembly hall, Maitreya Hall, and Dharma Hall were built, thus making Sai Zong monastery the largest Gelug pa monastery and Buddhist cultural center in Hainan Tibetan Prefecture. In 1958, this monastery had a total of 18 halls and pagodas, 15 temples, more than 150 monks’ houses, there are about more than 500 monks, including monk students from Tongren.
Sai Zong mountain (Drakar Tredzong) Sai Zong Mountain is located in central part of Xinghai County, it is one of four famous Buddhist mountains in Amdo. its tibtean name means cottage of monkey. From a distance, Mount Sai Zong looks like a giant elephant that is drinking water, with its trunk hanging down in Chemo ditch in front of Sai Zong monastery. Mountain is full of ravines, caves, pine trees, cypresses, and many mysterious place names.
Yellow River Canyon Yellow River Canyon in Xinghai County involves canyon section formed by cutting main stream of Yellow River from Mardang Gorge to Banduo Gorge. It has a unique plateau climate. canyon section has deep and rapid water flow. It is the longest and deepest in Yellow River Basin. It has a rich and original landscape combination. V-shaped canyon section with good appearance.
Xinghai County has a total area of 12,100 square kilometers, 160 kilometers long from north to south, and 119 kilometers wide from east to west. It is 248 kilometers away from Xining and 103 kilometers away from Chapcha, capital of Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.
It faces Guinan County and Tongde County across Yellow River in east, borders Gonghe County in north, Dulan County in Haixi Mongolian Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in west, and Madoi County and Maqin County in south.
Xinghai County has an average elevation of 3,924 meters (Ziketan Town, where county seat is located, is 3,303 meters above sea level). Although the highest point of Ora Mountain Range is 5305 meters above sea level, the lowest point is 2590 meters above sea level at Wuhetuo village of Heka Town.
Population and Ethnic group
As of end of 2012, Xinghai County had a population of 76,000, and Tibetans accounted for 78% of total population.
Local Tibetan call themselves as “Boba”, which means an agricultural crowd, and they are an agricultural tribe that originated in Yarlung Zangbo River Valley. During Han Dynasty (202 BC-220 AD), it belonged to a branch of Xiqiang people. In 7th century, Tibet King Songtsen Gampo established his kingdom which Tang and Song Dynasty called it “Tubo Kingdom”. It was not called “Tibet” until Kangxi Emperior of Qing Dynasty, and Tibetan name came from this.
Tibetan language belongs to Tibetan branch of Tibeto-Burman group of Sino-Tibetan language family, which distinguishes three dialects: Tibet, Kham and Amdo. Current Tibetan script is a phonetic script based on ancient Sanskrit and Western languages in early 7th century. 10th century to 16th century was a period of prosperity for Tibetan culture.
Xinghai, before Qin Dynasty, was Rong Qiang. During Yongjia period of Western Jin Dynasty (AD 307-312), Tuyuhun, a native of Xianbei ethnic group in eastern Liaoning, moved westward and established governance in Daheba Basin of Xinghai County. Thus, Xinghai was under jurisdiction of Tuyuhun King.
In 8th year of Zhenguan of Tang Dynasty (AD 635), Tubo opened up “Tangbo Ancient Road” and set up a post on Huangqing River in Daheba, Xinghai County
In 18th year of Republic of China (AD 1929), Qinghai Provincial Government was established, and Xinghai was under jurisdiction of Gonghe county.
In 28th year of Republic of China (1939 AD), Daheba was set up, which was former Xinghai county.
In 34th year of Republic of China (1945 AD), Daheba was upgraded to Xinghai County.
In 1950, Xinghai County was officially established