Especially for those who don’t get the chance to travel to Tibet, the Zheduo Mountain (Zhéduō Shān, 折多山) is a perfect place to get some Tibetan impressions. But be prepared for a strong and freezing wind even during summer time.

 

 

The Zheduo Mountain lies behind Kanding. If you stay in Kanding when traveling in China and want to get anywhere else in the Ganzi Prefecture, you have to cross the mountain. It is a good opportunity to stop at the peak. There are a lot of people who cycle or hike to it, however if you’re not that athletic you can take a minivan out from Kanding to get to the peak.

Even in the hottest summer time you should be prepared for dramatically weather changes. A hard wind is common. As the place lies on an altitude of 4298 meters you can get altitude sickness and therefore feel a little bit sick if you stay there longer. But if you are well prepared you can enjoy your stay at the peak.

The scenery is really breathtaking especially when you get lucky and the sun is shining. The place is not huge but the colors of the Tibetan prayer flags together with the spectacular view and the blue sky will certainly impress you.

The prayer flags can be seen all over the place. Besides looking beautiful and giving that certain something to the place, they are part of Tibetan culture and religion with a long history dating back to ancient Tibet, China, Persia and India. The Tibetan word for prayer flag is Dar Cho. “Dar” means to increase life, fortune, health and wealth. “Cho” means all sentient beings. The flags are used to bless the surrounding countryside and to promote peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. They don’t carry prayers to gods; they are thought to bring benefit to all. Also prayer flags are said to bring happiness, long life and prosperity to the flag planter and those in the vicinity. The Tibetans believe that by hanging the flags in high places, the prayers will be blown by the wind to spread the good will and compassion into all pervading space.

Traditionally, prayer flags come in sets of five colors: one of each. The five colors are arranged from left to right in a specific order: blue, white, red, green, and yellow. The five colors represent the elements of space, air, water, fire and earth. Therefore each color stands for a different element. Blue symbolizes the sky and space, white symbolizes the air and wind, red symbolizes fire, green symbolizes water, and yellow symbolizes earth. If these five elements are in balance they will bring health and harmony.

 

By continually mounting new flags alongside the old, Tibetans renew their hopes for the world. This act symbolizes a welcoming of life’s changes and an acknowledgment that all beings are part of a greater ongoing cycle.

 

If one believes in the prayer flags or not, they sure will leave a strong impression in mind when seeing them fluttering in the wind. It is just beautiful and will make your travel in China very unique.

 

 

Jack Li
 

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