Dege County, also known as “Derge County“, is a county under jurisdiction of Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture.
The name “Dege” comes from the “Four Virtues and Ten Kinds“. The 32nd generation of Dege family, Solang Rinchen, was once appreciated by the 5th generation His Holiness of Sakya pa — Phagpa, and was given the title of “Da Fu of Four Virtues and Ten Kinds”.
“Da Fu” means senior official in feudal China
Here, The chinese pronunciation of “Virtue” and “Kind” is “De” and “Ge” respectively. After that, they named their family “Dege” and also named their ruled area “Dege”
Dege Kingdom was well-known for its metal processing and was also an important center for the birth of the “Rime Movement” of Tibetan Buddhism
“Rime Movement” The Sect Undifferentiated Movement, also known as the Non-Sect Movement, is an important spiritual revival movement of modern Tibetan Buddhism that originated in the pre-Tibet area in the 19th century. Most of the initial promoters came from the Nyingma and Sakya Sects.
They hope to unify the differences between different sects of Tibetan Buddhism, and to have equal respect for the teachings and inheritance of different sects, so as to return to the original teachings of the Buddha and preserve the traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.
Gengqing Town became the religious and cultural center of Kham when it was the capital of Dege Kingdom. Dege Sutra Printing House (Dege Parkhang) and Palpung monastery, the main monastery of the Kagyu Sect, are located here.
Dege County is also the main birthplace of “Southern Tibetan Medicine“. It is adjacent to Garze County in east, Pelyul(Baiyu) County in south, Jomda County of Tibet across Jinsha River in west, and Sershul County in north. Located in the upper reaches of Jinsha River and Yalong River, it is the main transportation hub for Tibet to west and Qinghai to north.
Best time to travel
From May to October
Continental plateau monsoon climate
Most popular sites
Dege Scripture Printing Institute (Dege Parkhang) was founded in 1729 AD, with a total area of about 5,000 square meters, a building area of nearly 3,000 square meters, and a total construction area of more than 9,000 square meters. It is located in the Cultural Street of Dege County (Gengqing Town), It was listed as a national key cultural relics protection unit by the People’s Republic of China in 1996
Xinlu lake, also known as “Yulhun Lhatso“, is on the side of the Sichuan-Tibet Highway, about 100 kilometers away from Dege County, with an altitude of 4,040 meters. Xinlu lake has an average depth of 10 meters and the deepest point is 15 meters. It is a ice-eroded lake in Garze Prefecture.
Dzogchen monastery was built in 1685 AD. It is located in Gengda Village, Zhuqing Township with altitude of 3550 meters above sea level. It is one of the 6 major monasteries of Nyingma pa of Tibetan Buddhism.
Palpung monastery was built in 1179 AD, and is located on a hill with altitude of 3800 meters above sea level. It is the main monastery of Kagyu pa of Tibetan Buddhism in Kham. Together with Tsurphu monastery in Lhasa, they are both known as the two great resorts of Kagyu pa
Dzongsar monastery was originally built by believers of Bon religion in 746 AD. Later, it was changed to Nyingma pa, and then to Kadam pa of Tibetan Buddhism. It was not until 1275 AD that the 5th generation His Holiness of Sakya pa — Phagpa came here, and this monastery was converted to be a Sakya pa monastery
Monasteries in Dege
Dzamon Gya Monastery
Chu Ngo Monastery
Dege Sakya Monastery
Er Owang Monastery
Geography and climate
Dege County is located on southeastern edge of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, it is 137 kilometers from east to west and 146 kilometers from south to north covering an area of 11031 square kilometers.
Trola Mountain belongs to northern branch of Shaluli Mountain of Hengduan Mountain, which divides Dege County into two parts, northeast and southwest.
Among them, the northeast of Dege is high, the river valley is wide and flat, the soil is fertile. It belongs to hilly plateau landform of northwest Sichuan;
The southwest of Dege is low, the river valley is deep, and topography has a large difference in elevation. There are more than 30 glaciers and 30 peaks above 5000 meters above sea level in the territory.
The main peak of Trola Mountain, Rong Mai Oza, is 6,168 meters above sea level, which is the highest point in Dege county, and the lowest point is Maidian River estuary at junction of Baiyu County in southwest. The elevation is 2980 meters, with a relative elevation difference of 3188 meters. The county’s average elevation is 4235 meters.
The air in Dege County is dry, the temperature is low, and there is no summer but long winter. The annual average temperature is below 0℃ in northeast and 6.5℃ in southwest. The average temperature in January is -2.8℃ and the minimum temperature is -20.7℃; the average temperature in July is 14.5℃ and the maximum temperature is 30℃.
Annual average precipitation is 623 mm, mostly from May to September. The sunshine is longer, the frost-free period is about 115 days, and the annual average sunshine is 2051 hours.
Population and ethnicity
As of 2016, Dege County has a total population of 87,551 people, of which Tibetans account for 96% of total population. Other ethnic groups include Han, Yi, Tujia, Miao, Qiang, Hui, Mongolian, Yao, Dong, Naxi, and Zhuang.
How to get to Derge
Derge is located in the hinterland that connects the central Tibet and the east Tibet; it is not near any airport of Tibet or Kham. The closest airport of Khangding is about nearly 600 kilometers eastward; its isolation on geographic has determined that the land transportation is the main and the only way to reach this remote town.
There are buses that connects Derge to Luhuo, Kanze, Chamdo, Kangding….etc; among of which, Kangding is the only terminal that has departure or terminal for the long distance for Derge, the other destinations are just middle way,
Bus from Kangding to Derge
- Distance: 588 kilometers
- Rate for riding with regular bus – RMB 127 per person
- Rate for the riding with new bus – RMB 169 per person
- Ticketing office by Jin Kang monastery, contact: +86 836 283-8377 / 888-9851
- Ticketing office by Tai Ning hotel, contact: +86 836 282-3481
Kangding Bus Station
Add: Qing Ge Ave, Kangding
Contact: +86 836 282-2211
Working hour: 06:30 am – 18:00 pm
Altitude: 2,650 meters
Derge Bus Station
Add: No. 18, Cha Ma Upper Street
Contact: +86 836 822-2888
Working hour: 06:30 am – 18:00 pm
Altitude: 2,950 meters
Distance from Derge to
- Chamdo City : 350 kilometers, about 7.5 hours drive
- Baiyu County : 100 kilometers, about 3.5 hours’ drive
- Manigango town: 115 kilometers, about 2 hours’ drive
- Garze County: 205 kilometers, about 3.5 hours’ drive
- Sershul County: 330 kilometers, about 7.5 hours’ drive
- Yushu City: 460 kilometers, about 10 hours’ drive
During Warring States Period (475 BC-221 BC), Dege area was land of “Dong family”
During Han Dynasty (202 BC-220 AD), Dege area was land of “Dong Nian”
In Sui Dynasty (AD 581-AD 618), it belonged to Bailan kingdom
In the early period of Tang Dynasty (618 AD-907 AD), it was occupied by Fu Kingdom
During Tang Dynasty (618 AD-907 AD), it was occupied by Tubo Kingdom
In Yuan Dynasty (AD 1271-AD 1368), it was under jurisdiction of Tubo High Pacification Commissioner’s Office
In Ming Dynasty (AD 1368-AD 1644), it was under control of Mdo-khams Itinerant High Commandery
In 10th year of Emperor Yongzheng of Qing Dynasty (AD 1732), Dege area was upgraded to Dege Itinerant High Commandery
In the 1st year of Emperor Xuantong of Qing Dynasty (1909), Dege prefecture was established
In 2nd year of Republic of China (1913), it was renamed as “Dexi” and being occupied by Tibet Kashag regime
In 21st year of Republic of China (1932), Dege County was restored, and it was under Xikang Special Administrative Region.
In 28th year of Republic of China (1939), it belonged to 4th administrative inspectorate of Xikang Province.
In 1950, it belonged to Xikang Tibetan Autonomous Region.
In 1955, Xikang Tibetan Autonomous Region was changed Xikang Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture; in October of the same year, Xikang Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture was abolished, and Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Sichuan Province was established, since then Dege County was under its jurisdiction.