The Legendary Shangri-La
The Legendary Shangri-La
There are many fairy tales around the world. Two legends, the Peach Garden and Legendary Shangri-La, are popular among the wonderful land of China. The former one is likely to be fictional, but the latter one is well founded. Shangri-La can be divided into Shangri-La County and Great Shangri-La Area. The whole Great Shangri-La Area is across Tibet, Sichuan and Yunnan Provinces. Many people have been to Shangri-La County, but this is just a gate to the holy place. Go through it and you can experience the true meaning of legend. There are two places that are universally acknowledged as the soul of Shangri-La. They are Sichuan’s Yading and Yunnan’s Yubeng, which deserve to be called heaven. Yading has extremely high altitude, while Yubeng needs strong physical strength. It’s never easy to break into heaven.
There are snow mountains, ice lake, forest, Tibetan village, golden grass, river, yaks, falling snow and prayer flags. Isolated from the outside world, it attracts few visitors. This is the shocking impression Yading leaves oo people. There are only few Tibetan villages in Yading. Village’s buildings and temples have a style of their own, which is very unique. Go ahead of Yading. There is Chonggu Temple, which is the real start of scenic region. In August, trees around the temple have different colors. None of these colors are the same. From the temple, you can choose to go to the Pearl Sea to watch the reflection of Xiannairi Mountain in the water. Or go by accumulator car to Luorong yak farm.
Luorong yak farm is surrounded by holy and beautiful Xiannairi Mountain, YangMaiyong Mountain and XianuoDuoji Mountain by triangle. Herds of yaks and horse gaze on golden grass and rivers. Snow is falling from the sky, while prayer flags are flapping in the wind. Ice Lake shows the reflection of the snow mountain in the water. Every step walks into an amazing world. Every step is like walking in heaven.
Surrounded by the Meilixue Mountain and colorful prayer flags, each breath and step of visitors will be tested. Compare with Yading, which is high altitude but can go by riding, Yubeng needs determined steps and willpower. In this deep valley, people feel that they integrate with nature into one. Pilgrims and hikers take a long effort to achieve such a realm.
Yubeng has three scenic spots: holy lake, ice lake and the holy waterfall. We chose the shortest route and the most possible goal to achieve: holy waterfall. We went from one side of Yubeng to the other side of Yubeng, and then we arrived at holy waterfall. It was rainy most of the time. We spent eight hours staring from 3000 meters altitude to 3900 meters altitude and back. We walked around the holy waterfall three times with holy snow water from the Holy Mountain to clean all impurities from the body and the heart.
If Yading is an ornamental wonderland, then Yubeng is a fantastic break-in to the heart of nature. Yubeng village is hidden under the Meilixue Mountain. Meilixue Mountain is the head of the eight holy mountains in Tibet, which ranks high-status in Tibetan people’s hearts. Spectacular view of golden sunshine on top of the mountain and strong religious atmosphere attract a lot of hikers and lamas who are on the pilgrimage. Despite all the difficulties and hardships, they want to take a look at the holy mountain.
When human beings go to plateau at more than 3000m altitude they will have different degrees of altitude stress. Yubeng altitude is between 3000-4100 meters, while Yading is 4000-4900m. Tourists need to take preventive medicine, for example, Rhodiola rosea and Gaoyuanan, a week before they take off. Among them, Yading has the highest altitude and it’s isolated from the outside. In case of any accident, tourists should carry acute altitude stress medicine and portable oxygen bottles.
There are many ways to go to these two places. They all have different degrees of danger. The safest way is a 14-hour drive from Shangri-la County to Daocheng. The next day it takes five hours to go Yading. From Yubeng, it takes eight hours to arrive at the gate of the village. Then you can choose to walk or ride a horse to go into the village, which takes around six hours.
Yading and Yubeng belong to the Tibetan area. Tibet has three traditional foods: yak meat, buttered tea and Highland barley bread. They can be found everywhere and available and in every restaurant.
When people pass the Tibetan Buddhist pagoda, they need to walk clockwise by the left. Otherwise, it will be considered as unlucky and disrespectful to the local religion. Tibetans likes to use “tashi delek” (meaning felicity and luck) to greet each other. It’s commonly used like ‘hello’. If you don’t reply the greeting, it is considered impolite.
First, altitude stress refers to different degrees of discomfort. After a day or two, the body will automatically get used to the environment and symptoms will disappear. However, if a person has altitude stress with a cold, he or she may possibly have a serious complication called pleural effusion. Second, it’s hard to survive in Yubeng if you don’t have an alpenstock, unless you have another pair of legs. Third, Meilixue Mountain forbids climbing. No one has been to the top of the mountain. Besides terms from law and religion, its history also tells people to give up this idea.
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