Sunday, February 15, 2015
Joseph Rock visited Radja monastery (also spelt Ragya) in Qinghai in 1926/7. He only intended to use it as a stepping off point to get to Amnye Machen but the stupid bugger tried to go up the Yellow river canyons instead of the nice easy route round the hills to the south. Easy to say that with hindsight, I suppose. Anyway, Rock floundered around in the Yellow river canyons for a week or so before giving up. The only view he got of Amnye Machen was through a telescope from about 70 miles away. You can see the whole new town of Lajia that has sprung up along the riverbank since his visit.
Here's a nice comparison pic of the monastery at Radja (Lajia in Chinese), Qinghai. It sits on the banks of the Yellow river beneath some crazy red cliffs. In this picture it seems like it hasn't changed much, but actually there is quite a large 'new town' to the left of the picture where in Rock's time there were just a couple of houses. I found it to be a very friendly place, probably on account of they don't get many visitors.
This is the then-and-now picture of Rock's rock" - a big boulder embedded in some pasture round the back of Jambeyang. If you do the Yading "Big" Kora you will come across this on the fourth or fifth day (two days from the end of the trek). It's actually only a day's walk from the Five Colours lake/Milk Lake area that most Chinese tourists visit at Yading - but that would mean walking anti-clockwise round the kora and the local Tibetans would not like that.
Joseph Rock described it as a huge lump of schist that had broken off from Jambeyang. It sits in a flat clearing after trekking up the boulders and slabs of the bleak Yetchesura valley. Nice place to stop for a cuppa or even camp.