Travel Destinations: Dege, Sichuan Province, China

Lian Slayford By Lian Slayford, 29th May 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>Asia>China>Sichuan & Chongqing

This article explores Dege in Sichuan as a great place to visit.

Travel Destinations: Dege, Sichuan Province, China

Travel Destinations: Dege, Sichuan Province, China

Dege is located in western Sichuan Province and a place sadly overlooked by most tourists who come to this area. It has a population of 58,000 people and is nestled away in a valley 3270m above sea level. Chola Mountain rests in the east and the Tibetan border in the west.

Dege is celebrated for being the birthplace of the famous king of Ling, Gesar. The village still seems to be part of this ancient world, with little in the way of modernism. It has been a place where apothecary monks travelled to develop traditional medicine but now sees travellers coming for its famous printing lamasery.

Dege is a hard place to get to but well worth the effort it takes. Some buses have unfortunately overturned on the icy and extremely narrow roads and altitude sickness is not uncommon for those unused to being at such high altitudes.

But the scenery along the way is simply amazing. The snow peaks of Chola Mountain and the Xinhua Glaciar makes you feel as though you have been transported back to another time, especially when the Tibetans throw colourful paper prayers at you at the Tro La Pass.

Bakong Scripture Printing Lamesary (Dege Yinjingyuan) is the highlight and most famous landmark in Dege and well deserved. This is a popular Tibetan Buddhist pilgrim site, where pilgrims will gather outside and perform more than a thousand circuits.

Printing has gone on at the lamasery for 270 years, home to more than 270,000 pieces of Tibetan scriptures and paintings from the different Buddhist sects, including the Bon. These scriptures contain many different themes, from music to geography, from astrology to medicine and the classics. The only woodblock copy of the history of Indian Buddhism written in Sanskrit, Hindi and Tibetan is home here.

The monastery was constructed here during the Qing Dynasty and is one of the three most important Tibetan lamaseries.

The hundreds of workers produce over 2500 prints everyday and upstairs, older workers create the beautiful prayer flags that travel to other temples. If you wait and ask nicely, they will create one of your own choice for Y10.

In the chambers, from the walls to the ceilings, booskshelves are covered with different prints. Throughout the monastery you can hear the sounds of thwacking as the workers create their beautiful goods. The lamasery is protected by the guardian goddess Guanyin as a green Avalokiteshvara.

Tags

China, Chinese, Dege, Sichuan, Trave, Travel, Travel Agency, Travel At Ease, Travel Budget, Travel By Train, Travel Nepal, Travel Tip, Travel Tips, Travelling

Meet the author

author avatar Lian Slayford
Lian is a Research Archaeologist, specialising in Religious Archaeology.

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