Kham

The eastern region of Tibet, Known as Kham, incorporates the eastern Tibetan autonomous Region (TAR), Western Sichuan and Northwest Yunnan. It has a rugged terrain characterized by mountain ridges and gorges running from north to south.

The northern and western Kham consist of high altitude grasslands above 4,000 meters. The southern Kham has many rivers, including the Mekong, Yarlung, and the Salween River flowing through that form land and weather allowing Tibetan farmers to grow barley, wheat , and other vegetables and fruit trees. The eastern Kham is between 2,500 meters to 3,500 meters covered in thick evergreen forests.

Kham was the home of many early Repoches, lamas, including the founders of the Drigungpa and Karmapa. In 1070, many Buddhists fled persecution in central Tibet to here, in which they set up influential monasteries, and returned to central Tibet to spearhead the second diffusion of Buddhism in Tibet. The monasteries that were built earlier are still standing on the original site, even some that were destroyed in the 20th century, but rebuilt after 1990. There are two main routes through the region to Lhasa. The Southern road is mainly composed of the best alpine scenery, while the Northern road is a higher route riding through ancient temples, and herds. The best times to travel through these two routes are from late March to May and from September to early December. In some months the road is temporarily blocked for a couple of hours to a few days due to landslide caused by rain. However, Kham has a different climate than the other region of central Tibet. The summer monsoon brings a lot of rain between early June and September, while snowfall generally starts in late October.

There has a lot charm from its people, whom is called Khampaalso known as the warriors of Tibet. Today, Khampas are dressed in sheepskin cloaks and braided hair and travel through the region by motorbike instead of horses. Linguists and anthropologists refer to this remote east Tibet as the ‘Ethnic Corridor of Southwest China’, as its vast and sparsely populated territories are inhabited by over 14 distinct ethnic groups, 12 of which are virtually unknown outside of Sichuan Province.

Kham map