Dege also Derge, it was the capital of the 5 major kingdoms of eastern Tibet in Kham. Dege Trek is to begin with Dzongsar village, which is hidden in the valley next to the Jinsha River for hundreds of years. Dege trek will end at Manigango, a wild-west like small town. It is said that Manigango was the Battle field that The King Gesar conquered the evil. With this trip, we will explore the hidden valleys in Kham, and enjoy the scenery there.
|Arrive||Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China|
|Departure||Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China|
Arrive in Chengdu
Meet your guide at the airport or train station, drive to your hotel to check in. In the afternoon feel free to take a relaxing sightseeing visit to the traditional Chinese teahouse at People’s park.
Chengdu to Kangding
We’ll drive 360 kilometers on a paved road, into hill country and cross through Mt. Erlang tunnel, where we will stop by to visit Luding Iron Bridge. Then, we’ll arrive at the gateway town of the Eastern Tibet of Kham – Kangding, which is cradled along the raging Dzetuo River. The river’s continual rumble can be heard in its alleyways where nomads from the West to sell Tibetan herbal medicine, Khampa knives, traditional Tibetan garments, and yak butter tea. For centuries the town has held the status of “Gateway to Tibet,” after arriving in Kangding take a walk to acclimate to the altitude and visit Anjue monastery.
Kangding to Litang
We’ll drive 285 kilometers on a paved road while enjoying the beautiful scenery and touring the white Ming yak Chorten. When we drive onto Mt. Gaoershi, if weather permits, you can see the amazing view of the peak on Mt. Minyar Gangkar. After we arrive in Litang, we will visit the Litang monastery, which is located on the northern edge of town and belongs to the Gelukpa sect of Tibetan Buddhists.
The monastery was founded in 1580 by the 3rdDalai Lama Sonam Gyatso on the site. There are three main temples in the compound, of which the oldest is located on top of the hill. It still features a wooden construction of the upper rim of the buildings. There, you can see several chambers and bedroom in which the 7th Dalai Lama is said to have resided. Many more famous and influential personal figures were born here, including the 7th Dalai Lama and 10th Dalai Lama.
Litang to Nyarong
In the morning we’ll leave Litang heading Northeast into Nyarong valley, along the Yarlung River and to Nyarong County. It is about 3,100 meters, about 1,000 meters lower than Litang. Nyarong County is located in the isolated Nyarong valley, which has always been a stronghold of the Nyingmapa School and pre-Buddhist Bon tradition. Later, we’re going to visit Yixi monastery which is one of the monasteries with Bon tradition in Kham.
Nyarong to Kanze
The road follows the east bank of Yarlung River upstream through a deep gorge to a valley junction where the land widens. Kanze county extends from the lower parts of Yi-chu valley and Rongpatsa towsnship, the county capital of Kanze is about 10 kilometers away from the valley junction. In Kanze, we are going to visit the Kanze monastery, which was originally constructed by the Qosot Monglos in 1642 on a hilltop. It once had a population of 1,500 monks and; currently it has an estimated population of 700 monks and 3 Tulkus. Since the 17th century, Den Gonpa has been maintained by the Gelukpa, an important protector temple which survived the 1960s with a revered image of Mahakala in the form of Panjaranatha. At 2:00pm, we may have a chance to see monks of Kanze monastery debate.
Kanze to Pelyul
The overall distance from Kanze to Pelyul is about 230 kilometers on a paved and dirt road. The watershed pass cuts through the glacial Kawalingring range, which divides the Yangtze and Yarlung basins. While crossing the watershed pass (4,320 meters) and heading towards Pelyul, there are spectacular upland lakes and grasslands of gentian and edelweiss, among others.
Pelyul to Dzongsar valley
Today, we will go along the eastern bank of Jinsha River to a valley junction, which is narrow and about 40 kilometers away. The valley is wide, Dzongsar, a rich and beautiful monastery is located on the top of the small mountain at the end of the valley where a vast Barley field is. It is similar to Shangri-la where Tibetan live peacefully and quietly. Dzongsar Monastery was founded in 1275. It had been a Nyingmapa and a Karma Karygu sect temple, and was the site of a Bonpo shrine. Dzongsar monastery, the now Sakyapa monastery was the home of Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo (1821-1894) and Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro (1896-1959).
During the lives of these two extraordinary spiritual leaders, Dzongsar Monastery became a center for the non-sectarian approach to the study and practice of Buddhism, and great lamas of all four Tibetan traditions studied there. The Monastery has been rebuilt in recent years following its destruction under Communist rule. The present Dzongsar Khyentse, Thubten Chokyi Gyamtso, supervises the Institute where 250 monks are being educated.
Trek Day 1 -- Dzongsar valley to Valley junction (6.5 hours walk)
In the morning pack your luggage onto the animal carrying the baggages. Then, along Mesho-chu Southward, which is about 2 kilometers before reaching Yuba village we’ll cross a wooden bridge on Mesho-chu. We’ll reach a small hill, leave the main trail to the first unknown pass, then descend to the valley. This lush, green valley is about 8 kilometers long where you’ll turn north to Redakla pass that leads you to the valley junction where you’ll camp.
Trek Day 2 -- To Nenang Gonpa (6 – 7 hours walk)
After having breakfast you’ll load your gear, then ascend to the Redakla pass, then descend to the valley to Tingchu for about 8 kilometers., Over 3 passes en route you’ll head north to Nenang gonpa.
Trek Day 3 -- Nenang Gonpa to Medow camp
The trail today is flat where there are several rivers to crossing through. The walk is pleasant, and along the road we may see wildlife including, deer. The camp is located at one meadow by a small stream beneath the highest pass of this trek, also known as Dzen.
Trek Day 4 -- Complete this trek
You’ll depart early in the morning where the altitude goes up to 5,000 meters to the pass of Den-La from the Meadow camp at 4,100 meters. You should put aside 3 hours to cover this distance. We’ll have a picnic at the pass, where the snow covered mountains are visible including, Mt. Tro La, Mt. Rongme Peza, Mt. Gongri Neto. Descending along the rocky trail, to the first stage, a a lake that resembles a blue-diamond descends to the bottom of the valley. Along Dzen-chu to the entrance of the valley, crossing a wooden bridge, our vehicle will be waiting next to the wooden bridge. Later, we’ll drive to Manigango for overnight
Manigango to Tawu
We’ll head east via Dargye monastery to Kanze, where we’ll visit Kanze monastery and Den Gonpa. Then we’ll continue eastward driving over the Luoguo Pass with an altitude of 4,100 meters to Luhuo county. Then, after reaching at another town of Tawu we’ll visit the Nyingtso monastery that once housed 400 monks.
Tawu to Danba
You’ll depart from Tawu heading toward Bamei town. We’ll visit a monastery of Gatar Shangbalin, which the 7th Dalai Lama used to live in due to a religious doctrine. Then, we’ll drive to visit the birth place of 11th Dalai Lama. In the afternoon we’ll head to the range of Yarla Yartso mountain, for about a 30 minute drive to get to the valley where we can enjoy the scenery of Mt. Yarla Yartso. Afer, we’ll continue following the Donggu River crossing through the narrow and deep valley to Danba, which is the Kingdom of Ancient Blockhouses. A group of ancient stone blockhouses that were built during the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420-589) are located in the county’s Suopo Township. Due to its superb architecture, the blockhouses have survived wars, wind and rain, and earthquakes throughout the area’s more than 1,000 years of existence. As a result, they are called the Pyramids of the Orient. The ancient blockhouses vary in height and shape. The tallest is more than 60 meters high. They are built in various shapes as follows: square, pentagon, hexagon, octagon, or a do-decagon. With its solid angles as sharp as blades, the blockhouse stands upright resembling a sword pointing toward the sky. These ancient houses are divided, according to their functions, into four categories as follows: fort blockhouses, beacon blockhouses, village blockhouses, and dwelling blockhouses. The dwelling blockhouse is usually about 10 meters high. The structure is a combination of blockhouse and residential home. When entering the blockhouse, a ladder is necessary. After entering, the ladder is taken away so enemies couldn’t enter the house
Danba to Baoxing
In the morning we will drive to Dzonglu village to witness the traditional building of Tibetan “Pill Box,” which is located deep within the high mountains and dense forests, and thousands of blockhouses. The Dadu River takes shape there and flows through Danba. Dzonglu village is one of the villages in this area where visitors can find themselves immersed in the surroundings. There are 113 ancient blockhouses in Dzonglu village with a history of more than 1,000 years. In Danba, most blockhouses are built together with resident houses. They are made of clay and stones, with an elegant appearance. In the past, blockhouses were used as defense forts and beacon towers. Residents would pray to some of the edifices to exorcise evil spirits and bring good weather for crops. Inside each blockhouse, a delicate and intricate emblem like an ox horn or fire wheel hang on the wall. Some say these are representative of clan marks, while others argue that it is a secret signal. However, the real meaning is still a mystery. After a visit to this beautiful village, we will drive to Baoxing late in the morning, passing through the Mt. Tianjin pass, then descend to Baoxing county. There, a small town is located in a valley surrounded by mountains.
Baoxing to Chengdu
We’ll continue heading south, the curved road leading to a cross-road, where we turn east toward the highway that connects Ya’an (The rain city) and Chengdu. It may take 6 to 7 hours to cover the drive.
Today your journey to easternTibet of Kham is ending. After checking out of the hotel, you will be driven to the airport for your departure.