Sunday, May 29, 2005

Kangding: the border between Tibetan and Han

Kangding south, originally uploaded by jiulong.

Here is a view from the middle of town looking back towards the direction of Chendgu [east?].

Anjue Si monastery, Kangding

Anjue Si monastery, Kangding, originally uploaded by jiulong.

This is one of the main monasteries in Kangding, and is right in the middle of town. It also runs a guesthouse [The Black Tent Hotel] and coffee bar!

Buddha figure at Anjue Si monastery, Kangding

The serene face of a Buddha figure seen in Kangding before my departure to Jiulong.

Anjue temple female deity

Anjue temple female deity, originally uploaded by jiulong.

As seen in Kangding last year.

A river runs through it ...

Kangding river, originally uploaded by jiulong.

The mighty Kangding river that runs smack through the middle of town and takes no prisoners whenever there is a flood.


kangding hill, originally uploaded by jiulong.

Kangding is the hill town where many of the interesting treks in Joseph Rock's footsteps start from. Minya Konka, the Yalong Canyon and even the Konkaling ranges all pass through here. In Rock's day it was known as Tatsienlu, a sinicised form of the Tibetan Darsendo.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Coming up: Mongdong [猛董] and the Yalong Canyon [雅砻江]

Mundon w 猛董
Stay tuned for the full account of my recent trip to the Yalong canyon and the beautiful mountain of Maidi Gangga [麦地贡嘎, Muti Konka]. Joseph Rock described it as a "scenic wonder of the world". Nobody has seen it since he went there in 1927. Except me.

Friday, May 20, 2005

"Yeti temple" [野人庙] in Tibetan Sichuan

These Pumi people are building a temple to honour the "wild man" (yeren [野人] or yeti) that is said to frequent this remote mountain district near Jiulong. It's a day's drive south of Kangding.

Yeren Miao [Wild Man Temple], near Jiulong in Sichuan

Yeren Miao [Wild Man Temple, 野人庙] near Jiulong in Sichuan
About an hour's drive and a 40 minute walk up a bumpy farm track southeast of town, this small temple is built in a cave, half way up a cliff. Local legend has it that the local people knew of the cave and its spring of "holy water" many hundreds of years ago, and visited it to pray for a good harvest. Then one day some primitive statues and simple structures appeared overnight. No one knew who did it, and it was attributed to the "Wild Man" or Yeren - the Chinese term for yeti. Another version I've heard is that the term wild man" was used to describe an unkempt hermit who lived in the cave, meditating for many years and whose personal hygiene and apparel - and perhaps his attitude - were somewhat, well, wild. You can now see the yeti's big footprints and hand [paw?] prints, enshrined in the small temple, reached by a short but steep walk up the cliff path. There is a fancy new temple being built at the foot of the cliff - go past it and look for the track branching off to the left, over a stone bridge.

If you want to make your own way to the temple, take the left fork from the main street just after the public toilets. You can't miss the smell!

Altar of the temple showing the Living Buddha


And a photo of the old Panchen Lama.


Caretaker of the Yeti Temple (Yeren Miao)

yeren23, originally uploaded by jiulong.

Cave shrine with yeti footprint

yeren1, originally uploaded by jiulong.

This shrine contains what is said to tbe the footrpint [or pawprint?] of the "wild man" or Chinese yeti that is venerated at the temple. See for yourself.

Beautiful eaves at the Wild Man Temple

yeren12, originally uploaded by jiulong.

Water driven prayer wheel

yeren34, originally uploaded by jiulong.

As seen at the foot of the Yeren Miao (temple).

Yeti's eye view - from the Yeren Miao

yeren9, originally uploaded by jiulong.

Looking back north west towards Jiulong. In the distance on the right is the new temple.

View of the temple from below.

yeren rd2
The newly built temple below the old cave shrine on the cliff.

yeren rd24
Approaching the Wild man temple from the valley out of Jiulong.

yerne temple
Yeren Miao from in front. The temple is built into a cave in a cliff, and the cave has a holy water spring in it.

Yeren Miao close
The "Yeti Temple".

Yeren Miao artwork

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Wuxu Hai (伍须海), near Jiulong (九龙) in Sichuan, 2004

Wuxu lake is a pristine alpine lake about a day's ride on a bus south from Kangding. It is surrounded by mountains of about 18-20,000 feet high and there are a few Tibetan herders living around it. It is a beautiful and unspoilt spot, but for how much longer remains to be seen. This is the view from the near shore, a short walk from the rough and ready "visitor centre" with its restaurant and log cabin accomodation.

If you want to find out more, there is my Jiulong travel guide summary hosted at the fabulous Chinabackpacker:

Wuxu Hai (伍须海) - northern shore

Wuxu Hai 2, originally uploaded by mutikonka1.

On the far shore of the lake is a smallish grassy flat with a couple of Tibetan log cabins. This is the view from there towards the "Twelve Daughters" range of peaks.

Wuxu Hai 伍须海 - the view from the northern shore

Wuxu Hai 5, originally uploaded by mutikonka1.

Wuxu Hai views

Wuxu Hai inlet, originally uploaded by mutikonka1.

wx paddock
Paddock in front of the lake.

Wuxu Hai centre
The "hotel" and restaurant.

Wuxu Hai road view
Along the road.

Wuxu Hai trees
Lichen on trees.

Wuxu Hai shore2
The near shore. Clear water.

Wuxu Hai peak and tree
One of the peaks surrounding Wuxu Hai.

Wuxu Hai stream
A stream that runs out of the lake.

Wuxu Hai peaks

Wuxu Hai mts, originally uploaded by mutikonka1.

Looking south towards the Twelve Daughters mountain range.

Forest at Wuxu Hai

Forest at Wuxu Hai, originally uploaded by mutikonka1.

The inhabitants of Wuxu Lake

Shacks at Wuxu Lake, originally uploaded by mutikonka1.

Wuxu Hai huts October 2004

Wuxu Hai huts October 2004, originally uploaded by mutikonka1.

wuxu caihong

"Twelve daughters" mountains (十二姑娘), Wuxu Hai, near Jiulong, Sichuan

In Chinese these peaks are known as the "Shi er guniang shan"

12 daughters

Wuxu Hai northern lake shore

Wuxu Hai north lake, originally uploaded by mutikonka1.

Wuxu Hai peaks and prayer flags

Wuxu Hai prayer flag, originally uploaded by mutikonka1.

Wuxu Hai Tibetan log cabins

Wuxu Hai cabins, originally uploaded by mutikonka1.

Hut below Wuxu Hai

Hut below Wuxu Hai, originally uploaded by mutikonka1.

On the road up to Wuxu Hai from the lower village you get some tantalising glimpses of peaks in the distance.

Lower Wuxu village

Lower Wuxu village, originally uploaded by mutikonka1.

About 5km below Wuxu Hai there is a small Tibetan village known as lower Wuxu. There is a small store here and some holiday cabins being built.

lower wuxi
At lower Wuxi village we tried to hitch a lift back to Jiulong but there was no traffic. In the end we paid a couple of local guys to take u s on the back of their motorbikes - one of the scariest and most foolish journeys I've ever taken. It's hard to keep your balance on a motorbike when you have a 15kg backpack on and you're riding over potholes without a helmet.
Lower Wuxu village
Looking up at one of the "12 daughters"

Wuxu Hai child labour

kid basket, originally uploaded by mutikonka1.

In the village below Wuxu Hai I snapped this young kid already at work in the fields with a basket full of corn stalks on his back.

Rock painting near Wuxu Hai

Rock painting near Wuxu Hai, originally uploaded by mutikonka1.

About 3km down the hill from Wuxu Hai in the forest by the roadside is a huge rock covered with Buddhist deity paintings and festooned with white scarves and prayer flags. It is circled by devout pilgrims and cheesy looking tourists from Leeds, like the one above.

"Black limestone peak"

black limestone peak, originally uploaded by mutikonka1.

On Joseph Rock's hand-drawn map of the area, he has marked on some "black limestone peaks". Sure enough, on the 20km dirt track up from Jiulong, here they are.