Dagze District Overview
About Dagze County
Dagzê is a county immediately east of the city of Lhasa, Tibet. Established in 1959, the county lies on both sides of the middle reaches of the Lhasa River. As of the total population are over 29,152, mostly ethnic Tibetans engaged in agriculture. The county is home to the Ganden and Yerpa monasteries.
There are 14 temples and Rizhui Kanglas（日追康拉）, among which Ganden Monastery（甘丹寺） which is regarded as the first of the top six Gelug （格鲁派）temples among the four main sects of Lamaism was founded in the 15th century, with the history of over 600 years. Ganden Monastery which plays an important role in religion, architecture, art, etc. was listed as one of China's key cultural relic’s protection units in 1961.
Dagze means "Tiger peak" in Tibetan. The total area of the county is 1,373 square kilometers. It has an average elevation of 4,100 meters above sea level, and descends from higher ground in the north and south to 3,730 meters in the lowest part of the Lhasa river valley.
The Climate in Dagze County
Dagze is in a semi-arid plateau monsoon climate zone. The average temperature is 7.5 °C (45.5 °F), with about 130 days free of frost. Average rainfall in Dagze County is 450 millimeters with about 80%–90% of precipitation falls in the summer.
The Main Attractions in Dagze County
The main attractions in Dagze County include the monasteries, Ganden Monastery（甘丹寺） and Yerpa（扎叶巴寺）, and the Dagze Bridge as well as the Lhasa River.
- Ganden Monastery
Ganden Monastery（甘丹寺） is one of the great three Gelug university monasteries of Tibet, China. It is in Dagzê County, Lhasa. The other two are Sera Monastery（色拉寺） and Drepung Monastery（哲蚌寺）. Ganden Monastery was built after 1409 at the initiative of Je Tsongkhapa（宗喀巴）who’s the founder of the Gelug sect（格鲁派）, the most important one among the four sects: Gelug sect（格鲁派），Kagyu sect（葛举派），Nyingma （宁玛派），and Sakya sect（萨迦派）. It is situated in Dagze County, 57 kilometers from Lhasa City. There are Buddha halls, palace residences, Buddhist colleges and other buildings in the monastery.
The monastery was destroyed after 1959, but has since been partially rebuilt. Another monastery with the same name and tradition was established in Southern India in 1966 by Tibetan exiles.
Yerpa（扎叶巴寺） is only a short drive to the east of Lhasa, Tibet, and consists of a monastery and a number of ancient meditation caves that used to house about 300 monks. Dra Yerpa which has a history of over 1500 years is located on a hillside in Dagzê County. The entrance to the Yerpa Valley is about 16 kilometers northeast of Lhasa on the northern bank of the Kyichu（Lhasa River）. From there, it is another 10 kilometers to the famous ancient meditation caves in the spectacular limestone cliffs of the Yerpa Valley. There is an ancient sky burial（天葬）site opposite the main caves. The famous legendary hero Gesar of Ling（格萨王） is said to have visited the valley. The holes his arrows left in the cliffs are believed to be evidence of his presence.
The Yerpa is full of natural reiki with the tall and verdant pine trees on the hill and the trickling down streams as well as the. The spring and summer in Yerba are full of brilliant flowers with the singing of the lively birds.
- Dagze Golden Pond Ecological Scenic Spot
Dagze Golden Pond Ecological Scenic Spot is located in the territory of Dagze County, 29 km distance from Lhasa, covering an area of 1.9 million square meters (including wasteland and water area). Six kilometers east of Dagze County, it is located in 318 State Road, Lalin expressway（拉林高速路） and along the Lhasa River with a very convenient transportation.
Here is beautiful Lhasa river valley scenery, aspen forests, wetlands, ecological fish ponds and other natural ecological resources integrated with the characteristic of rural cultural landscape, which forms an imposing and amazing golden pond scenic area. The golden pond in summer will dance in the shadows of the aspen trees. While in the autumn, visitors can view the gorgeous colors and the pleasing scenery of the clear and pure Lhasa River reflecting the blue sky, the changeable clouds, and the golden aspen trees.
- The Dagze Bridge
The Dagze Bridge is a one-lane suspension bridge in Dagzê, Tibet. At the time of its completion in 1984, it was the longest spanning bridge in China with a main span of 500 m. The bridge crosses the Lhasa River 30 km east of Lhasa.
- The Lhasa River
The Lhasa River is a northern tributary of the Yarlung Tsangpo River（雅鲁藏布江）in the south of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. The Yarlung Tsangpo is the upper section of the Brahmaputra River（布拉马普特拉河）. The Lhasa River is subject to flooding with the summer monsoon rains, and structures have been built to control the floods. In its lower reaches the river valley is an important agricultural area. The city of Lhasa, named after the river, lies on the river. There are two large hydroelectric power stations on the river, the Zhikong Hydro Power Station (100 MW) and the Pangduo Hydro Power Station (160 MW).
- The Sanga Monastery
Sanga Monstery（桑阿寺）, about 20 km from Lhasa City, is located in the old city center of Dagze County. The monastery built in 1419 AD by Tsongkhapa（宗卡巴）, so far has a history of 587 years. It belongs to the Gelug sect（格鲁派） of Tibetan Buddhism. According to the religious history practice, Sanga Monastery is the jurisdiction of the Ganden monastery. Sanga Monastery which looks old is not large with the elegant and wonderful surrounding scenery and environment.
- Yangbajian Monastery
Yangbajian Monastery（阳巴坚神殿） located in the west side of Tscochin Hall（措钦大殿），is the main protect hall of the Ganden Monastery in Dagze County, Lhasa.
Festival and activities in Dagze County
There are several festivals celebrated in Dagze County, among which, the Wangguo Festival（望果节）and Horse Racing Festival are grandest and most popular.
Wangguo Festival and Activities in Dagze County
The Wangguo Festival（望果节）, which has a history of more than 1500 years, is widely popular in the rural areas of Tibet. Every July to August in Tibetan Calendar, before people preparing harvest, Tibetan farmers in festival costumes, holding Qiema(grain bucket)切玛 which symbolizes a golden harvest, and highland barley wine, sing and dance in the farmland, to celebrate the harvest this year and wish a better harvest next year.
Wangguo Festival contains a lot of activities rich in contents like horse racing, archery, singing and dancing, Tibetan opera, and goods exchange. The festival which integrates literature, art, sports, and business, enriched the material and cultural life of the local Tibetan farmers and herdsmen in the masses.
Horse Racing Festival in Dagze County
Horse Racing Festival is celebrated in almost all the Tibetan festivals that are handed down by the people with a long history.In Tibetan festivals, horse racing is often appeared in the form of theme in the holiday, and, more importantly, based on the strong feelings about horse of the Tibetan people, they created the unique characteristics of the national horse racing culture.
During the festival, Tibetan people will hold many activities such as the harvest celebration, antiphonal singing, horse racing, god worship, the equestrian performance and goods exchange.