Zamthang County, also known as “Dzamtang county” or “Zamtang county” or “Rangtang county“, is a county under jurisdiction of Aba Tibetan Qiang Autonomous Prefecture. “Zamthang” means “the flat land in mountains of God of Wealth” in Tibetan
Zamthang County is administrated by Aba Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture, located on upper reaches of Dadu River, in northwest of Sichuan province
It borders Barkham County and Aba County on east and northeast, and adjoining Jinchuan County on south, and Sertar county, Luhuo County and Dawu County in west and south, and connecting Banma county of Qinghai Province (Amdo) in north.
Rangke Town, the county seat of Zamthang County, is 3290 meters above sea level, 539 kilometers away from Chengdu, the provincial capital, and 195 kilometers away from Barkham, the prefectural capital
Best time to travel From May to October
Local climate Cold temperate monsoon climate
Most popular sites
Zamthang Chode Gompa is located in Middle Zamthang Township on east bank of Zequ River. It covers an area of 2,625 square meters and is a wood-stone structure of Tibetan architecture. There are 4 spiritual pagodas for high lamas. In addition, more than 10 pagodas with a height of more than 20 meters standing around this monastery. In 1991, it was listed as a provincial cultural relics protection unit.
Zamthang Tsangpa Gompa is dated from Ming dynasty to Qing dynasty. located in Middle Zamthang Township near Zamthang Chode Gompa, it is main inheritance place of Jonang Sect of Tibetan Buddhism.
The main buildings are mostly stone-wood or civil-wood structures, which are well-protected and large-scale Tibetan Buddhist buildings in Ming and Qing Dynasties in Sichuan Province.
It is also one of main dojos of Jonang Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Hundreds of precious cultural relics from Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties are in its collection. It is listed as a cultural relics protection unit in Sichuan Province
Xiangla Dongji Holy Mountain Scenic Area it is about 30 square kilometers large, and located some 29 kilometers from Zamthang county. This is a mountain that has never been touched by anyone because it is one of sacred mountains in King Gesar, being regarded as inviolable. “Shangra Dongji” sacred mountains is shaped like a “Zhong (众)” charactor of Chinese, it is thought to be incarnation of Vajrapani, and being surrounded by 88 snow-capped mountains, which are servants of Holy Mountain according to legend.
Haizi Mountain Scenic Area It is located at junction of three counties of Zamthang, Aba, and Barkham, it is about 80 kilometers from county seat. Haizi Mountain means “mountain with Haizi (Lake)”. There are about 35 lakes. Haizishan is 4,760 meters above sea level, its main peak is called “Zun-ma” means “Queen” ; It is said to be “Queen” of Amnye Marchn Mountain in Qinghai, whom wearing a silver cloak, riding a white horse, holding a wishful treasure, protecting a living creature.
9-story Maitreya Pagoda : 9-story Maitreya Pagoda can be regarded as a Buddha statue exhibition hall. It displays a variety of Buddha statues, including murals, Thangkar paintings, clay sculptures, and metal sculptures. The most exciting thing is that ninth pagoda is hanging around in a circle. Outside the pagoda wall on 9th floor, each side has a row of slate tiles that extend from wall, which is about 20cm long, and just long enough to hold one foot. Visitor or pilgrimage comes out from tower gate, lay a hand onto tower, and move steps on slate around pagoda . Just in case, monks carried a circle of steel ropes as handrails on pagodas.
Jo-Nang Sect: The region between Xiangla Dongji Holy Mountain Scenic Area and Haizi Mountain Scenic Area breeds Jo-Nang Pa of Tibetan Buddhism, which was root in three monasteries of Zamthang Chode Gompa, Zamthang Tsangpa Gompa and Zsebuji Gompa, and all of which were ones in begining in 1435 BC, and named “The East SangzhuLuobuling monastery” that have been developed into three monasteries. The buildings of monastery are integrated into a single town, just 60 kilometers from Zamthang county.
Geography and climate
Zamthang County is located in east of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and west of Aba Tibetan Qiang Autonomous Prefecture. It is 90 kilometers from east to west and 134 kilometers from north to south, with a total area of 6863 square kilometers.
Its topography is dominated by hilly plateaus, with alternating river valleys and flatlands. It is a typical middle-high mountain valley landform type area. There are more than 60 mountain peaks over 4500 meters above sea level
The highest peak is 5178 meters above sea level, the lowest elevation is 2650 meters in this county, and average elevation is 3285 meters.
Average temperature of Zamthang County is 4.70℃. The extreme maximum temperature of 29.40℃, which occurs in August each year; the extreme minimum temperature is -23.40℃, which occurs in January each year,
Average annual precipitation is 763 mm; The frost-free period in north of Zamthang County is short, and frost-free period in its south is 100-120 days long. The first snow appears in mid-September, and the last snow is in early May at latest.
Population and ethnicity
As of end of 2019, the total population of Zamthang County is 47,484, of which Tibetans account for 90% of total population. Other ethnic groups include Qiang, Hui, Han, Miao, etc
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How to get to there
Zamtang county is located in east hinterland of Kham, recommended transportation is by vehicle. It is convenient to start with Chengdu, renting a vehicle, or by public transportation.
In general, there are two ways to get to Zamtang
- By daily direct buses departure from Chengdu, with rate of RMB204, taking 15 hours bus-ride to arrival Zamtang county
- By daily direct buses departure from Chengdu to Barkham city with rate RMB126, and 6.5 hours journey; then start from Barkham to Zamtang on next day with rate RMB53, and 7 hours vehicle ride
Chengdu Cha Dian Zi Bus station
Brief: Chengdu Cha Dian Zi Transporting Center is mainly to send buses to Tibetan Area in west and north of Sichuan province
Address : No. 289, Section 5, West 3rd Ring Road, Jinniu District, Chengdu
Contact: +86 28 8750-6610 / 8750-7768
Working hours : 06:00 am – 19:30 pm
In 310 BC, Zamthang area was known as place where yak grew outside the mainland China
During Qin Dynasty and Han Dynasty, it was the place where Qiang people lived,
Before unity of ethnic minorities in southwest China in Han Dynasty, Zamthang area was little known
In Tang Dynasty, Zamthang area was under jurisdiction of Tubo
Later, Zamthang area was recoved and being placed under rule of Shu Jun withcpital town of ancient Chengdu
In Yuan Dynasty, Local “Tu-guan” official system was implanted along its initial system.
Since Ming Dynasty, it became one of 18 Tribes in Jiarong Tibetan area of Kham, and had gone through 41 generations of chieftains.
In 39th year of Emperor Kangxi of Qing Dynasty (1700 AD), 33rd chieftain of Zamthang area went to Beijing and Surrendered to Qing Dynasty.
In 28th year of Republic of China (1939), Cuo Si Jia regions of Zamthang was planned to establish “Cuo Si Jia County” under Xikang Province, however, this plan failed. This area originally belonged to Serta County, and was a territory of Axi tribe
In 1958, Zamthang County was established with county seat of Natang Town
In 1959, County seat was moved from Natang Town to currently Rangke Town