Litang County is a county under jurisdiction of Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, located in the southwest of Garze Prefecture. The county seat is “Gaocheng Town“, 4014 meters above sea level, about 285 kilometers away from prefectural capital Kangding City, and 573 kilometers away from provincial capital Chengdu.
Litang is named after the vast grassland of “Maoya“. In Tibetan, “Li” means “copper”, “Tang” means “flat grassland”; “Litang” means “A flat grassland as a bronze mirror”. It used to be a land of Litang Chieftain
Litang, formerly known as “Li-hua County“, belonged to Xikang Province, Chinese Han people, Tibetan, and other ethnic minority groups live here together. It is an important transportation hub to connect Sichuan province, Yunnan province and Tibet, which there are many Tibetan buddhism monasteries.
The land in Litang is flat with densely populated, merchants gathered here, and a large tea-horse trading market was here. It is an important material transfer center and commodity distribution center in southern of Garze Prefecture, which is regarded as South-Kham Trade Center
Litang was hometown to many Tibetan celebrities, including the 7th Dalai Lama of Gesang Gyatso, the 10th Dalai Lama Tsultrim Gyatso, and the 8th Jetsun Dampa Hotogtu of Outer Mongolia, Labrang Monastery’s 5thliving Buddha Jamyang Zhepa, …etc., whom were all born in Litang
Best time to travel From May to October
Local climate Plateau climate
Most popular sites
Litang Chode, also known as “Ganden Tubchen Chokhorling”, is located on the northern hillside of Litang county. It was a Bon religion monastery when it was first built, and the time when it was first built is unknown.
When the 3rd Dalai Lama of Sonam Gyatso passed by during Wanli reign of Ming Dynasty (1580 AD), he converted this monastery to Gelug pa and raised funds to expand it. The monastery covers an area of more than 500 acres and accommodates more than 4,300 monks. With a permanent residence of about 800 monks, it is the largest Gelug pa monastery in Kham.
In Tibetan, “Ganden” means this monastery is inherited from Gelug pa; “Tubchen” means Maitreya Buddha (i.e. future Buddha), “Chokhorling” means Falun, and “Tubchen Chokhorling” means Maitreya Buddha Wheel which symbols that the Falun is always turning and wonderful Truth lasts forever
Ge’nyen mountain, at an altitude of 6204 meters, it is located in southwest and about 110 kilometers away from Litang County, this mountain has a well-developed moraine landform and is covered with snow and ice all year round. It is the highest peak in southern Kham and the second highest peak in Sichuan Province, and it ranks the 13th Goddess Mountain among the 24 sacred mountains of Tibetan Buddhism
Litang Horse racing Festival, which means “June Zhuanshan Festival” in Tibetan, is a traditional folk festival in Litang County. In history, every year in the 6th month of Tibetan calendar, Litang Chode held this huge event according to ancient customs. This festival was once fixed in the 1st week of August, nowadays, it has been held almost in the end of July and beginning of August, however, the date of Festival is uncertain in recent years
Zhaga sacred mountain, 4135 meters above sea level, 18 kilometers away from Litang county seat, is one of the five sacred mountains that are most believed by the local people.
Half of Zhaga Mountain is full of blue-brown rocks, and the six-character mantras (“Om Ma Ni Ba Me Hum” OR “Om Mani Padme Hum”) in different size are naturally presented on the rocks on this mountain, as well as patterns of sun and moon.
There is also a natural karst cave with a radius of several tens of meters on the mountain. The cave is sometimes wide and sometimes narrow, with stalagmites, stone pillars and stone people shaped like Buddha statues.
Maoya Grassland is located in the middle section of Shaluli Mountain in Hengduan Mountains, with an altitude of 3800-4500 meters. It is distributed in the open and long shallow basin-like zone between the two mountains, covering an area of more than 300 square kilometers.
In the depths of grassland, there is crescent-shaped freshwater lake “Ruogen Tso”, Wuliang River, which originated from Ge’nyen Mountain, winds through the heart area of the grassland. There is a tall white pagoda on the grassland, which is said to be one of the three big pagodas built when Princess Wencheng entered Tibet to marry Tibet King of Songtsen Gampo
Geography and climate
Litang County is located on southeastern edge of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, west of Sichuan Province, southwest of Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, between Jinsha River and Yalong River, in the middle of Hengduan Mountains, and Shaluli Mountain runs through the county from north to south.
Litang County is 215 kilometers from south to north and 155 kilometers from east to west, with a total area of 14,352 square kilometers.
Litang County is dominated by hilly plateaus and mountainous landforms, as well as some alpine valleys. Due to uplifting of orogens in the central part of the west, the terrain is undulating and slopes to the southeast and northeast. Mountains and rivers in Litang are running north-south, aand also being alternately arranged from west to east,
The vertical distribution of mountains is obvious, with types such as mid-high-mountain, high-mountain, and extremely high-mountain appearing successively. There are also terraces, flat grassland, and alpine plains appeared again in narrow valleys, wide valleys, and top planations of high mountains.
The climate in Litang is low temperature, the winter is long and dry, the warm season is short and cool, the sunshine is abundant, the radiation is strong, the wind is strong, the evaporation is large, and the dry and wet seasons are distinct.
Its average temperature is 3.0℃, average temperature in January is -5.8℃, the minimum temperature is -30.6℃, average temperature in July is 10.6℃, and the extreme maximum temperature is 25.6℃.
Rainfall is concentrated from June to September, annual rainfall is 722 mm, frost-free period is only 50 days, and annual average sunshine hours is 2638 hours.
There are many rivers in Litang County, which are divided into two major river systems, Yalong River and Jinsha River. There are a total of 11 tributaries, of which 8 flow into Yalong River and 3 into Jinsha River.
Population and ethnicity
As of 2019, the total population of Litang County was 73,141, of which Tibetans accounted for 95% of total population. Other ethnic groups include Han, Mongolian, Hui, Naxi, Tujia, Yi, Miao, Qiang people;
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How to get to Litang County
There are two airports are close to Litang:
–Daocheng airport, which is about 110km south of Litang county, approxiamtely 2 hours drive
–Kangding airport, which is about 270km east from Litang county, approxiamtely 6 hours drive
Contact: +86 836 572 3333
IATA Code: DCY
Altitude: 4,411 meters
Contact: +86 836 282 7811
IATA Code: KGT
Altitude: 4,238 meters
Add : No. 338, Yinfu Road
Phone : +86 836 532-2371/532-1351
Altitude: 4,014 meters
Add: No. 2, Xin Nan Road
Contact: +86 28 8543-3609
Altitude: 460 meter
Distance from Litang to
- Kangding: 290 kilometers, about 6 hours’ drive
- Bamei : 270 kilometers, about 5 hours’ drive
- Xinlong: 150 kilometers, about 3.5 hours drive
- Garze (Kanze) : 260 kilometers, about 5.5 hours’ drive
- Daocheng: 160 kilometers, about 2.5 hours’ drive
- Batang: 170 kilometers, about 3 hours’ drive
In Sui Dynasty (AD 581-AD 618), Litang area belonged to “Lido tribe”
During Tang Dynasty (618 AD-907 AD), it was occupied by Tubo Kingdom
In Yuan Dynasty (AD 1271-AD 1368), Litang City was firstly set up
During Ming Dynasty (AD 1368 -AD 1644), Litang Pacification Commissioner’s Office was established
At the end of Ming Dynasty(AD 1368 -AD 1644) and beginning of Qing Dynasty (AD 1636 -AD 1912), it was under jurisdiction of Gushi Khan
In 48th year of Emperor Kangxi of Qing Dynasty (1709 AD), Litang area belonged to Heshuoqi tribe of Qinghai
In 32nd year of Emperor Guangxu of Qing Dynasty (1906 AD), Lihua County was established;
In 14th year of Republic of China (1925), it was directly under jurisdiction of Xikang Provincial Government.
In 1951, Lihua County was renamed as “Litang County”
In 1955, Tibetan Autonomous Region of Xikang Province was changed to Xikang Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, in the same year, it was renamed as “Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture”, since then “Litang County” was under its jurisdiction