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2006-02-21 09:44:34

An Important Pass in Eastern Tibet

In Tibetan, Changdu (also known as Chamdo on many western maps) means the place where the rivers meet. The Zhaqu and Angqu Rivers join here, creating the headstream of the Lancang Jiang River.  It used to be an important pass in Eastern Tibet. After Songtsan Gampo unified Tibet in the 7th century, Changdu belonged to the Tufan Tibetan regime in ancient China. During the Qing Dynasty, the county of Changdu was renamed Chamdo, and many Western maps and guide books still use this name. With a complicated geomorphologic structure, different topographies, climate types and horticultural environments, Changdu is incredibly diverse. The average annual sunshine is 2,100-2,700 hours, and the non-frost period ranges from 46 to 162 days. There are four full seasons on the mountain and the weather differs even within its 5000 square meters area. Tibetan historical records show that there are 25 holy mountains in the Kham area, most of which are located in Changdu.

Changdu is an important pass along the Tea Horse Road. It's also a gateway to Tibet. Traders from Sichuan, Yunnan and Qinghai often pass through here on their way to conduct business in Tibet. Nowadays, of course, the transportation in Changdu is more convenient. Visitors can take a bus from Lhasa or Chengdu, with the total trip taking about 5 days. Along the way, visitors will see some culturally important scenic spots and get a feel for the mystique of Tibetan Buddhism.

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