Amdo County means “the lower part” in Tibetan. It is a county in Nagqu City that located in the upper reaches of the Nu River in the northern Tibet Autonomous Region. Here, “Amdo County” is different from “Amdo” which is one of the three ancient Tibetan areas.
It is adjacent to Zhidoi County and Zadoi County of Qinghai Province and Nyainrong County of Tibet to the east, Seni District to the south, Baingoin County and Shuanghu County to the west, and Golmd City to the north.
Amdo County is on the main road into Tibet from north, it is the only county between Golmud and Nagqu City. Pana Town, the county seat, is about 4705 meters above sea level.
Amdo County is the intersection of language and culture. The river is to be called Tsangbo in U-tsang area; it is to be called “Qu” Or “Chu” in Do-Kham area. The river in Amdo County is used to be called “Qu” Or “Chu”
Best travel time From July to September
Local climate Plateau sub-frigid zone, semi-humid monsoon climate
Most popular sites
Par Gompa is located in Dandui Township about 50 kilometers east of Amdo county. It was built in 1654, and it is the only well-preserved monastery that is composed of tents which are with considerable scale in northern Tibet. This tent-monastery includes Assembly tent, Lakhang tent, Monk’s House Tent, just like other monasteries in other parts of Tibet.
Nyainqentanglha Mountain means “mountain on the plateau” in Tibetan, it is the watershed between the Yangtze River and the Nu River. The mountain is more than 150 kilometers wide, and the altitude is mostly 5000-6000 meters. Geladaindong Peak is the source of Tuotuo River, which is the source of the Yangtze River. The Tanggula pass is 5,231 meters above sea level that is the highest point of the Qinghai-Tibet Highway, and also the natural boundary between Qinghai Province and Tibet.
Cuona Lake covers an area of more than 400 square kilometers. It is the source lake of Nu River, with an elevation of 4,594 meters and an area of about 300 square kilometers. It is the highest freshwater lake in Tibet. Cuona Lake is regarded as “holy lake” by local Tibetans. Thousands of believers come to worship every year of Dragon.
To the east of the lake, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway runs along the Cuona Lake, the nearest is only 20 meters away, and there is also a viewing platform. The lake is rich in aquatic products, attracting black-necked cranes, swans, wild ducks, mandarin ducks and other wildlife and animals. The grassland by the lake is home to Tibetan antelopes and Tibetan gazelle. The rivers and streams in the southern part of the Tanggula Mountains first merge into Cuona Lake and then flow into the Nu River.
Geography and climate
The terrain of Amdo County belongs to the plateau mountain type, which is high in the middle & west, and low in north, south, and east.From 6,604 meters on the main peak of Tanggula Mountain in the middle, it gradually drops to more than 4704 meters in the north of the county and more than 4,500 meters in the south, forming a shape of “roof”
Tanggula Mountain means “a mountain that an eagle cannot fly over” in Mongolian. The western section of Tanggula Mountain is the watershed between the inland water system and the outflow water system in northern Tibet. The eastern section is the watershed between the Indian Ocean water system and the Pacific Ocean water system. The Nu River, Lancang River and Yangtze River all originate from the northern and southern foothills of Tanggula Mountain.
There are three main water systems in Amdo County: the source water system of the Yangtze River, the source water system of the Nujiang River and the source water system of Selin Tso. Lakes in the territory are dotted, mainly distributed in the southwest of the county.
The air in Amdo County is thin, the temperature difference between day and night is large, the four seasons are unclear, and the weather is snowy. There is no absolute frost-free period. The annual sunshine hours are 2847 hours and the annual precipitation is 435 mm. The annual average temperature is -2.8°C, the coldest January average temperature is -14.6°C, the hottest July average temperature is 7.8°C, and the annual gale days are more than 200 days.
Population and ethnicity
As of the end of 2018, Amdo County had a total population of 43,000, of which the Tibetan population accounted for 96% of the total population, and the Han population accounted for 2% of the total population. Other ethnic groups include Hui, Kazakh, Manchu, Dong, Bai, Mongolian, Miao, Tujia people, etc.
In ancient times, there were 4 major tribes in the area where Amdo County was located.
In 1959, the area of Amdo County was under the jurisdiction of Nagqu Administrative District
In 1960, Amdo County was established, and its jurisdiction includes the eight tribal areas of Amdo of the Black River Zong
In 1961, the county seat of Amdo was moved to Pana town
In 1970, Nagqu Administrative District was renamed as Nagqu Prefecture, and then Amdo County was under the jurisdiction of the Nagqu Prefecture
In 2017, Nagqu Prefecture was abolished, and Nagqu City was established; Amdo County is under the jurisdiction of Nagqu City until now