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    Mingyong Glacier is the most magnificent. It is eight kilometers long, 500 meters wide, covers an area of 73.5 square kilometers and stretches from an altitude of 5,500 meters to a forest zone 2,700 meters above sea level. When the sun rises, the glaciers melt, and hundreds or even thousands of ice pieces begin to collapse and fall, producing a thunderous sound.

    At the foot of the mountain there is a well-preserved Tibetan village called Yubeng. Surrounded by mountains, it is a sparsely populated "wonderland" of scenic beauty.

    The Moirig Snow Mountains are also a sacred place known far and wide. Kawagebo means "the God of Snow Mountain" in Tibetan. According to legend, a demon with nine heads and 18 arms often came to the village to kill people and drink their blood. Later the demon was tamed by a Buddhist master and converted to Buddhism. He became a brave warrior and Buddhist guardian, and the Moirig Mountains became a sacred place for Tibetan Buddhists. It ranks first among the eight sacred mountains in Tibetan areas, and its status is higher than Qomolangma of the Himalayas.

    The emotions of Tibetan Buddhists towards the Moirig Mountains are beyond description. They will tell you that the dharma power of a lama who has not made the pilgrimage to the Moirig Snow Mountains will only be half that of a lama who has done so, and that people are reluctant to help carry the deceased who have never made the pilgrimage, for they regard their bodies as unclean. As autumn turns to winter every year large numbers of pilgrims come to worship from faraway places such as Tibet, Qinghai, Sichuan and Gansu. The scene of Tibetans circling the mountain following every step with a prostration is stunning. According to written records, such pilgrimages have a history of over 700 years.

Travel Tips

    The ideal season for visiting the Moirig Snow Mountains is from October to May, the best time being late October, when the weather is fine and the air clear, providing high visibility.

    Several spots are good for enjoying the surrounding scenery. The first is National Highway 214 at the foot of Baimang Snow Mountain, where visitors have a panoramic view of the Moirig Snow Mountains. However, the highway is narrow and people cannot stay long. The second spot is the Viewing Terrace of Wunongding, 15 kilometers from the county seat of Deqen. Visitors can enter Deqen from Shangri-la (Zhongdian) County along National Highway 214. There are 13 white pagodas, and the terrace is wide. The third spot is the Joss-Burning Terrace of Feilai Temple, situated in Feilaisi Village, 11 kilometers from Deqen on National Highway 214, the road that joins Deqen to Tibet. Local Tibetans and passers-by stop to burn joss sticks and pray for good luck. It is a good place to see both the sunrise and sunset. The Joss-Burning Terrace of Feilai Temple has become a popular tourist destination complete with facilities such as restaurants, bars and hostels. Visitors can spend the night here to enjoy the dusk and dawn. It is also a convenient spot from which to visit Yubeng Village and Mingyong Glacier.

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VOL.59 NO.12 December 2010 Advertise on Site Contact Us