Zanda County, also known as “Tsamda County“, means “a place where there is grass downstream” in Tibetan language. Zanda County is located in the Xiangquan River (Langqen Tsangpo) Basin in western Tibet. It is one of the border counties of Tibet Autonomous Region. It was originally the territory of Zaparang Zong and Daba Zong which were merged in October 1956, and then the Zanda Zong office was established, following the Zanda County was established in 1960.
The size of Zanda County is of 24,602 square kilometers. The County seat is Tolin Town which is 3700 meters above sea level, and 1760 kilometers away west from Lhasa.
Aila Riju Mountain is the boundary mountain between Zanda County and Gar County. It is covered with snow all year round, with glaciers, and the foothills are natural pastures. It is a paradise for yaks and sheeps.
The ruins of the Guge kingdom is just 30 kilometers from Toling, which is national key cultural relics under protection; On both sides of the Xiangquan River (Langqen Tsangpo), there are forests of soil mountains, winding for dozens of miles, forming a unique geomorphic structure. There are more than 400 caves left by the ancestors of Tibetan in the soil forests, forming an ancient building group.
Best travel time From July to October
Local climate Plateau sub-frigid arid climate zone
Most popular sites
Zanda Soil Forest is a special combination of landforms. The canyon zone centered on Zamu Town is the most typical and also the largest. It reflects the lake sedimentary characteristics left by the violent uplift of the plateau in the Zanda Basin in the lower Pleistocene of the Quaternary Period. It was listed as a National Geopark in 2005.
Guge Kingdom Ruins have a history of more than a thousand years. From the 10th century to the 17th century, the Guge Dynasty played an important role after the Tubo Dynasty in Tibet. There are 1,416 cave dwellings, houses, towers, ancient pagodas and other remnants of the ruins of the Guge Kingdom, including 879 cave dwellings, 445 house remains, 60 watchtowers, 28 broken towers of various types, and 4 secret underground path.
The better preserved are the Red Temple and the White Temple. There are sculptures and colorful murals and paintings inside. The content includes social life, religious stories, portraits of kings, etc. In 1961, the Guge Kingdom site was listed as a national key cultural relics protection unit by the State Counci
Toling monastery is located on the Xiangquan River (Langqen Tsangpo) in the northwest of Zanda County. It is the first Buddhist temple built by the Guge Kingdom in the Ngari area. The monastery was built in 996 AD and includes three parts: the hall, the monk’s house and the Pagoda area. There are many exquisite murals painted on the walls of its White Hall. Its architecture is a fusion of the local Tibetan, Indian and Nepalese architectural styles. It was listed as a national key cultural relics protection unit
Cave ruins of Piang and Dongga villages is located 62 kilometers north of Zanda county. It is by far the largest Buddhist cave site ever discovered in China. The murals in the caves have a long history with rich contents including Buddha statues, Bodhisattva statues, Buddhist stories, Buddhist lecturing, etc., as well as various decorative patterns and Esoteric Buddhism Mandalas.
Geography and climate
Zanda County borders India to the west and south, Kashmir to the north, Rutok County and Gar County to the north and northeast, and Burang County to the east. Toling Village, the county seat, is 115 kilometers south of Gar (Shiquanhe) Town, where the administrative office of Ngari Prefecture is located.
The terrain of Zanda County is low in the south and high in the north, with a height difference of 1,500 meters. Zanda County belongs to the plateau sub-frigid arid climate zone, with long sunshine hours, thin air, dry and windy.
There are 14 rivers in Zanda County, of which the second big river in Ngari, Xiangquan River (Langqen Tsangpo), crosses through the county. The Xiangquan River originates from the west side of Mt Kailash. It is one of the source river of the Indus River, and also the source river of the Sutlej River in India, covering an area of 22,760 square kilometers.
Population and ethnicity
As of 2010, Zanda County has a population of 6,883 people, making it the country’s least populous county, with an average of only 0.25 people per square kilometer. Among them, 98% are Tibetans, and with a small number of Han people and Hui people