Nedong District Overview
About Nedong District
Nedong District is located in the middle south of Tibet and south of Mount Gangdise, which means the front of Elephant Trunk Hill. Covering an total area of 2185 square kilometers, Nedong District has a population of 59615 and is famed as the granary of Tibet because of its earlier developed agriculture and animal husbandry.
The Climate of Nedong District
Nedong District is a semi-arid monsoon climate zone whose temperature varies widely from day to night is big. June to September belong to the rainy season with many rainy nights and sunny days, while in spring and winter, the weather will be dryer with much wind. There is no frost period in the whole year. The annual sunshine hours are 2936.6 hours, with 143 days without frost and 410 millimeters of precipitation. Natural disasters mainly include drought, frost, hail and wind.
▪ Yungbulakang Palace（雍布拉康）: 5 kilometers from Tsedang, Yungbulakang Palace is the earliest palace in Tibetan area with a long history of more than 2100 years and a three-storied architecture. According to legend, it was the first building in Tibet and the palace of the first Tibetan king, Nyatri Tsenpo. Yumbu Lakhang stands on a hill on the eastern bank of the Yarlung River in the Yarlung Valley of southeast Nêdong County about 192 kilometers (119 mi) southeast of Lhasa.
▪ Trandruk Temple（昌珠寺）: Tradruk Temple is located in Nêdong County of Lhoka in Tibet Autonomous Region, about seven kilometers south of the county seat, Tsetang. It is a monastery of Gelug sector, which was built during Srongtsen Gampo was in power. It's said that Padma Sambhava and Milarepa has been practiced nearby.
▪ Yalaxiangbu Custom Garden（雅拉香布风情园）is located in Changzhu Town（昌珠镇）, Nedong District（乃东区）, and started construction in August 2001. The planning and design of the custom garden embodies the "ethnic origin and the source of culture ".
▪ Laxiangbu Snow Mountain（拉香布大雪山）with an elevation of 6835.8 meters is located in Nedong District which is close to Longzi County（隆子县）. Legend has it that the mountain looks similar to a fierce yak, which is known as the top of the four holy mountains in Tibet. It is on behalf of the yak totem, and is the main source of Yarlung River（雅砻河）.
Nedong Festivals and Activities
Many festivals are held in Lhoka region in its counties, district, monasteries and villages to celebrate the harvest season, the New Year or Losar and natural elements such as birds. A colorful and widely celebrated festival is the Ongkor (Bumper Harvest) Festival which is observed in June according to the Tibetan calendar, in the riverine areas to mark good harvests of the season.
As the crop-ripening time approaches, Tibetan farmers begin to celebrate the Ongkor Festival, which is prevalent in rural areas, especially in those areas along the middle reach of the Yarlung Zangbo River and Lhasa River Valley.
In Tibetan language, "Ong" means the field and "Kor" means walking around, so it means walking around the crop fields to express the farmers' yearning for a good harvest.
Each year at the crop-ripening time, often falls on the sixth or seventh month of Tibetan calendar, the monks of the monasteries nearby will select an auspicious day to stage the festival, during which the people, all dressed up, carrying barley beer and food, follow the monks, who hold high the Buddhist images, scriptures and prayer flags, and march around their ripening fields and yell for the deity's and Buddha's blessing.
Afterwards, they will have horse racing, archery contests and song and dance performances all night, shifting the atmosphere from solemnity to joyfulness.
The date of the festival in different places varies according to ripening of the crops. As long as you don't mind running from one place to another, you may possibly participate in several Ongkor festivals in a string.
Festival of birds
The festival for worship of birds is called in Chinese ’yingniao jie.’ It is a religious festival that is special to the Bon or Bonpo community, which still practices the original pre-Buddhist religion of Tibet known as Bön. During this festival, cuckoo, the spring bird, which is considered the king of all birds arrives in the naidong qiasalakang temple in Tsedang, the Bird’s temple; according to a specific Tibetan calendar date, corresponding to May as per Gregorian calendar. The festival is also observed in a different month at the Reting Monastery and celebrated till the Cuckoo is seen chirping and accepting food offerings in the monastery grounds. The bird temple has a large Buddha statue cast by King Baikezan. On this occasion birds are given a red carpet welcome at Linka with a tribute of food items such as the Tibetan Highland barley, wheat, peas and other grains on a platter placed on a table. Two butter lamps are also lighted near the table. Two lamas are specially deputed from Lhasa to organise and perform this religious festival. The first cuckoo bird known locally as “Kuda” arrives as a messenger of the Cuckoo king of birds and after a survey of the arrangements made in the Linka, the chief Cuckoo bird arrives formally by performing “Xiezha” at the grounds where a table is set with offerings for the bird. Arrival of these spring birds every year and hearing its chirping is considered as an auspicious sign by the Tibetan people to usher a good cropping season; the birds have been the mascot for Tibetan people since ancient times.
Local Products of Nedong District
Tibet carpet is said to be the important flower in the Chinese carpet gardens with the unique technique of antique blanket. It is the main material of clothing, shoes and hats with a history of more than 200 years.
Gold and silver ware is a traditional Tibetan handicraft, which has a history of more than 1,000 years. There are two main types of gold and silver vessels: decorative items such as bracelet, headdress, scabbard and snuff, etc. The other kind is life supplies, such as wine pot, wine cup, dish and so on.
Tibetan walnut is one of the ancient tree species in Tibet. Legend has it that princess Wencheng was brought into Tibet from the mainland when she entered Tibet. The walnuts trees are widely distributed in the Lhoka Prefecture. There are many varieties of Lhoka Walnut, which are especially famous for "butter walnuts" and "egg walnuts" in Nedong District, Lhoka Prefecture. "Butter walnut" in Tibetan language is called "Qudaga" or "Madaga", which belongs to thin skin walnuts. The fruit of this variety is round, with egg yolk, thin shell, good quality, flavor and unique flavor.
Tsampa（糌粑） is one of the main foods of the Tibetan ethnic group for hundreds of years which are made by the fried highland barley grown in Tibetan Pletau.
Nedong Travel Tips
1. The best time to visit Nedong District is June to August because the highest temperature of this period is about 20 degrees. December and January are the coldest months when the lowest temperature will drop to minus ten degrees centigrade.
2. Suggested Traveling Day: Two Days
3. High Altitude Precaution. Although Lhoka is at a relatively lower elevation area, some places of high elevation may easily cause altitude reaction. Better take some medicines for relief and keep warm all the time.
4. Prepare Food and Drinks. Since tourists have to spend 8 hours on travelling from Lhasa to Nedong, you are suggested to get some snacks, fruit and water ready before the long riding journey. Bring your warm cloths and rain gear is always a good idea if you go to Nedong in summer.
Nedong District Transportation
The government seat of Nedong District is 191 km from Lhasa and 97 km from Gonggar Airport.
The whole county highway is in the middle of the road, formed the highway traffic network which centered with Tsedang Town, connecting the 12 counties of Lhoka Prefecture.It is the main transport hub of the south of Tibet.