Zhanang County, also known as “Dranang County“, is a county under Shannan City. Zhanang means “in the thorn tree ditch” in Tibetan
Zhanang County is adjacent to Nedong District and Qonggyai County to the east, Gongga County to the west, Comai County and Nagarze County to the south, and Chengguan District & Dagze District of Lhasa City to the north.
Zhatang Town, the county seat, is 3,620 meters above sea level, 120 kilometers from Lhasa City, 51 kilometers from Lhasa Gonggar Airport, and 47 kilometers from Tsetang Town
Best time to travel
All year around
Temperate plateau semi-arid monsoon
Most popular sites
Samye Monastery is located in Samye Town of Zhanang County. It was built in the 8th century and was the first monastery in Tibet. The monastery was laid out according to the Buddhist cosmology. The assembly hall has three styles of Tibetan, Chines, and Indian, therefore Samye Monastery is also called Three Style Monastery, and there are now more than 50 monks in Samye Monastery.
Zhatang Monastery, also known as “Dratang Monastery“, was founded in 1081 AD, and its entire architectural layout was to follow “Mandala of Tantric Buddhism”. Zhatang Monastery is one of the earliest buildings in Tibet. Its unique murals have not been found in other areas except for the remnants of Shalu Monastery which was built in the same period as Zhatang. These precious historical relics have extremely high value for the study of early Tibetan murals, foreign influences, costumes, etc.
Qingpu practicing field, also known as “Chimphu Caves“, is the most well-known retreat of Tibetan Buddhism. It is located in a valley about 14 kilometers northeast of Samye Monastery on the north bank of Yarlung Tsangbo River, 4300 meters above sea level. In Tibetan, “Qing (Chim)” refers to Qing family, and “Pu (Phu)” means the upper part of ravine. Qingpu is surrounded by mountains on three sides, and its open part to south of the valley faces the broad valley of Yarlung Tsangbo River. Climate there is mild throughout the year.
Langselin Manor, also known as “Langselin”, means “land of God of wealth” in Tibetan. It is located in Langsailin Village of Zhanang County, It faces Samye Monastery across the Yarlung Tsangbo River and is 25 kilometers away from Tsetang Town. It is a national key cultural relics protection unit.
Minzhulin monastery, also known as “Mindrolling monastery“, is one of the six great monasteries of Nyingma Pa of Tibetan Buddhism . It was built at the end of the 10th century. It covers an area of about 100,000 square meters. Minzhulin monastery is famous throughout Tibet for its emphasis on the study of Buddhist scriptures, astronomical calendar, calligraphy, rhetoric, and Tibetan medicine. The “Tibetan Calendar Chronology” is based on this. The walls of Minzhulin monastery built with rubble stones are also very famous in Tibet, and they are also of high value for studying Tibetan architectural art and style.
Geography and climate
Zhanang County is located in the middle-southern part of Tibet, on the middle reaches of Yarlung Tsangbo River. The area is 2,142 square kilometers.
It is divided by Yarlung Tsangbo River into two large parts, north part and south part, which are basically equal in area. The county has an average elevation of 3680 meters and an area of 2173 square kilometers.
Zhanang County has long winters, cold and dry, windy and sandy winter and spring, and little precipitation. Sufficient sunshine, strong radiation, 3092 hours of sunshine per year;
Annual average temperature 8.25℃, extreme maximum temperature 8.25℃, extreme minimum temperature -17.3℃, daily temperature difference 14.4℃. The average annual precipitation is 419.7 mm, mostly in July and August. The frost-free period is short with an annual frost-free period of 135 days.
Population and ethnicity
As of 2018, Zhanang County has a total population of 42,000. Among them, Tibetans account for 92% of total population. In addition, there are 26 ethnic groups including Han, Hui, Monba, Luoba, Nu, Naxi, Mongolian, Uygur, Buyi, Dai, and Pumi, as well as Sherpa.
During Tubo period, Zhanang area was under jurisdiction of “Yo Ru”
In Yuan Dynasty(AD 1271-AD 1368), Zanang was under jurisdiction of Pazhu Wanhu Mansion
In the middle of 14th century, Baima Zong, Sanxiong Zong and Samye Zong were formed in Zhanang area.
During Kashag regime, Lhoka (Shannan) Jiqiao was established that governed Zadang Zong, Samye Zong, Zhaxi Zong of Zhanang area
In 1959, Zadang Zong, Samye Zong, Zhachuan Zong were merged to form Zhanang County, which was under jurisdiction of Shannan Prefecture.
In 2016, Shannan Prefecture was abolished, and prefecture-level Shannan City was established, and Zhanang County has been under its jurisdiction since then