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Kangding Lhagang(Tagong) grassland

About 110 km northwest of Dartsendo (Kangding) lay the Lhagang (Tagong) Grassland, altitude 3700m, a vast expanse of green meadow surrounded by snow-capped peaks and dotted with Tibetan herdsmen and tents. An annual horse racing festival features thousands of local Tibetan herdsmen and Tibetan opera. The annual Horse Race Festival is held at the beginning of the 8th lunar month in Tagong grassland. There are Tagong Grassland, Tagong Monastery (Lhagong temple), Tagong Pagoda Stupa, Yala Snow-capped Mountain, Tagong Buddhism College etc around.

The small village of Lhagang (Tagong) is a fantastic place to visit if you want to get a taste of Sichuan`s Tibetan Wild West. In the village, Lhagang (Tagong) Lamasery blends Han Chinese and Tibetan styles and dates back to the Qing Dynasty (17th century).

Tagong Monastery, built during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) to commemorate the Han Princess Wencheng and Phagspa, the Grand State Tutor of Tibetan Buddhism with Buddhism Institute inside, also named as 'the small Lhasa Jokhang Monastery', is one of the 108 temples built during the reign of Songtse Gampo in ancient Tibetan times. There is a sacred statue of 12-year old sakyamuni (Buddha) in the monastery, which have been brought by Princess Wenchen on her way to Lhasa. It collects statues, white towers, other cultural artifacts, and scriptures of the Sakya Buddhist sect. This temple is distinctive for its four towers painted green, red, yellow and white respectively. There is a big Buddha Event about 3days around the 30June in Tibetan Calendar every year. About 100 chortens lie behind the Tagong monastery.

Many bus ride from Dartsendo (Kangding) City gets you to Lhagang (Tagong), which is a very wild-west kind of Khampa town with a sacred mountain, a college of Buddhism (the largest in Sichuan) and a huge Sakyapa monastery. At the college you might run into Hong Kong Chinese who is studying here and knows a lot about the area. Lhagang (Tagong)`s facilities are primitive--forget about hot showers. There is a guesthouse in the government compound on the west side of the highway in the town`s center. Dorje Tashi Rinpoche runs a model orphanage nearby; they are glad for visitors. To find it, look for a new, ornate gate leading into a compound with a tall new building on the right side. If you planned ahead and picked up a few toys or kid`s books in Dartsendo (Kangding), they will be thrilled to receive them.

From Lhagang (Tagong) town there are trails heading off in various directions to different pasturelands. To trek around Zhara Mountain takes between 10 to 30 days. One can trek from here to Mogetso Lake, in probably two days--they are planning to put a road through, so trek now while you still can.

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