TBR China ADV Riding

Discussion in 'Asia' started by TBR, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. TBR

    TBR One Life ~ Live It...

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    August 2017 / Amdo-Tibet ~ we went to another nearby region of the Gannan Prefecture (Amdo Tibet) called Maqu to meet up with long time local mates for a relaxed "grasslands" picnic lunch, stopping over to have a quick walkabout checking out the heavy preparations and horse training for the Gesar Horse Racing Festival 2017. Maqu County is an administrative district in Gansu, the People's Republic of China. It is one of 58 counties of Gansu. It is part of the Gannan Prefecture. Its postal code is 747300, and in 1999 its population was 36,213 people. The area of Maqu County is 10,191 km2 with an average altitude of 3,700m. Maqu County receives high rainfall and is located at the northern edge of the Zoigê Marshes on the Yellow River where conditions are optimal for alpine meadow vegetation.

    Gansu goes to the Races ~ seemingly unending grasslands and the captivating landscape of the Maqu Prairie in Gansu province is often a serene and tranquil affair, only interrupted by the occasional bird call or whistle of wind. However, as summer begins to end each year, that silence is broken by a tremendous rumble of thunder, the ground vibrating as hundreds of horses from across the country take part in the Gesar Horse Racing Festival. Maqu county has been dubbed the “Home of Horse Racing” by the China National Sports Bureau and Chinese Equestrian Association and has hosted the Gesar Horse Racing Festival for the past 10 years.

    The 11th. Gesar Horse Racing Festival Maqu County (Gansu Province / Amdo Tibet) August 2017 event had a total of 643 riders of 40 delegations from 31 counties engaged, including Gansu Province, Qinghai Province, Sichuan Province, Yunnan Province, Guizhou Province and Tibet Autonomous Region.The festival (carnival type with food & beverage stalls, entertainment & amusement, etc.) each year will attract tens of thousands of spectators and tourists from across China, its an absolute traffic mess and we had other commitments that particular weekend and have been to quite a few Tibet / Mongolia horse racing festivals before.

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  2. TBR

    TBR One Life ~ Live It...

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    LANGMUSI "Enduro" ~ once upon a time in a small sleepy village called Langmusi, in a remote breathtaking location inhabited by a colorful mix of Han Chinese, Hui and Amdo Tibetans. It is said that the provincial borderline runs through the middle of town with Sertri Gompa in Gansu and Kirti Gompa located in Sichuan. The power struggles between the two Gompa (temples) may have been the reason for the border location. Both Gompa (temples) have distinct styles making both well worth the visit alone.

    Sertri Gompa (Dacanglangmu Saichisi) - temple on the Gansu side, located on the Northern mountain.
    Kirti Gompa (Dacangnama Ge'erdisi) - temple on the Southern mountain (Sichuan side)

    We are not hanging around the temples much as the main attraction in Langmusi is the surrounding natural beauty. Just a few kilometers outside of Langmusi lies an ocean of grasslands, which is home to yaks, sheep, and Tibetan nomads. The surrounding mountains give off a very much alpine flair reminiscent of rural Austria or Bavaria and perfect for hiking, mountain biking, horse trekking and of course enduro motorcycling. Langmusi "Enduro" ~ truly enjoyed the fast going across the grassy mountains, not much into the technical slow riding must say....

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    LANGMUSI (Amdo-Tibet) Gansu - Sichuan = 34.091389 102.636389

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  3. TBR

    TBR One Life ~ Live It...

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    Next Amdo Tibet region stop, looking for the perfect challenging enduro trails = SONGPAN ~ a county of northwestern Sichuan province, China, and is one of the 13 counties administered by the Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture. It has an area of 8,608 square kilometres, and a population of approximately 68,000 composed of Tibetan, Qiang, Han and Hui populations. The ancient city of Songpan was built during Tang Dynasty and it was later rebuilt during Ming Dynasty. Songpan was an important military post. It was also an important economic and trading center for horse and tea exchange between Sichuan, Gansu, Qinghai and Tibet. At the time of the Tang Dynasty, it was the border between Tibetan Empire and Chinese Empire. Songtsän Gampo king of Tibet tried to military invade China by this gate. Chinese Emperor Emperor Taizong of Tang offered him the Princess Wencheng to calm down the Tibetan king at Songzhou (now Songpan) in 641. According to Tibetan and Chinese legends, Princess Wencheng then brings with her among other things the Jowo statue to the Tibetan Empire.
    While Songpan can be a charming city in its own right, the countryside surrounding the city offers a variety of tourist attractions. The hills surrounding the city are visual delights of Tibetan cattle herders leading their livestock over rolling grasses, endless valleys, and generally beautiful landscape. All of this can be seen through affordable horseback riding outlets on the outskirts of the city.

    The economy of Songpan is dominated by agriculture and livestock raising. In recent years, tourism has become an increasingly important sector, and is actively promoted by the authorities *very tacky charmless new old town comes to mind once again*... Additionally, Songpan is popular among foreign students and other Chinese language learners staying in China as the base for treks through the scenic mountains nearby. Apart from the scenic attraction of Huanglong which is located in the county, Songpan with its strategic location also acts as the gateway to world famous Jiuzhaigou Valley at the north. Unfortunately for the whole region in terms of needed tourisms, Jiuzhaigou Valley was hit hard by destruction (Earthquake 08/08/17) and the whole national park was closed right after the quake struck.

    Songpan felt strangely weird, soulless and no real vibe while we stayed, the serious earthquake (7.0) a few days earlier definitely contributed quite surely to the situation as the national highway (G213) between Chengdu / Songpan was closed due to heavy land slides after the powerful earthquake. The earthquake struck Jiuzhaigou County in China's southwestern Sichuan Province late on Tuesday night 8th. August, we spent our time up in Labrang (Xiahe) at that time and did not feel anything....

    Songpan (Amdo-Tibet) Sichuan - China = 32°39'00.0"N 103°36'00.0"E

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    Northern Sichuan lies in an area with high tectonic activity. In this region, the Tibetan Plateau abuts against the Yangtze Plate with immense pressure forming faults along the edges. Jiuzhaigou County is located in the Min Mountains, a range that was formed at the intersection of these faults. The devastating 1879 Gansu earthquake had its epicenter approximately 65 km (40 mi) to the east of where the 2017 Jiuzhaigou earthquake occurred. The mountainous areas to the south of Jiuzhaigou County were the epicenter of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake that resulted in tens of thousands of fatalities.

    The 2017 Jiuzhaigou earthquake struck at 21:19:46 China Standard Time on 8 August 2017 in Zhangzha Town in Jiuzhaigou County (33.20°N 103.82°E) with magnitude 7.0. Cities as far away as Lanzhou, Chengdu and Xi'an felt the quake. The epicenter was 39 kilometres from the county seat of Jiuzhaigou County, 66 kilometres from Songpan County, 83 kilometres from Zhouqu County, 90 kilometres from Zoigê County, 105 kilometres from Longnan City, and 285 kilometres from Chengdu City.

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    We had a look around Muni Valley (Mounigou Valley) and Zhaga Waterfall. it's like a very "miniature" Jiuzhaigou Valley in some ways... Mounigou, located to the west of Songpan Ancient Town, occupies an area of 160 square kilometers. It has an elevation between 2,800 meters to 4,070 meters with an annual average temperature of 7 degrees. Celsius. It belongs to the western part of Huanglong National Scenic Reserve. After ten years of development, this unknown valley has now been listed as the World Biosphere Reserve, World Natural Heritage as well as the Green Globe 21 of UN. Its spectacular mountain scenery, large waterfall and the surrounding culture combine to create an attractive landscape. There are two major scenic spots in Mounigou Valley: Zhaga Waterfall and Erdaohai Scenic Area.

    Zhaga Waterfall ~ there are many colorful pools and round waterfalls in Zhaga Valley. The various sounds of waterfalls echo throughout the forest. Some fall down from the calcific steps while others pass through the woods creating an impressive spray and some misty fog.
    Among the most beautiful waterfalls, Zhaga Waterfall feels like the most supernatural one. It is the largest travertine waterfall in China. It is 93.2 meters high and 35 meters wide with an elevation of 3,270 meters. In the upper reaches of the waterfall is a lake and in the lower reaches, is a multistep waterbed. When the waterfall rushes down from the travertine steps, it creates a large spray and an earsplitting sound. Visitors will be astonished by the amazing scene. The filemot rock cliff of the waterfall shows some flowery color under the sunshine.
    When wandering along the path, you can not only see the countless flowers blooming in profusion in the primeval forest, but also some dense bamboo forest. It is the sphere of activity for the pandas-the national rare animal. If you are lucky enough, you can meet them on your way. Also along the 5 kilometer valley, you can find hundreds of colorful pools of different shapes and sizes, they are very attractive.

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    Sidenote: Nearby the waterfall, Erdaohai Scenic Area (access was closed during our August 2017 visit due to earthquake damage) hides in a jungle with an area of 6800 square meters. Visitors can get here by horse or on foot from the Zhaga Waterfall. The upper part of Erdaohai Lake is so limpid and clear that people can see little fishes under the water. While the lower part of it is a deep pool, it is too deep to be fathomable. Erdaohai Lake is a typical fallen lake. The color of water changes gradually from light blue to black blue as the depth increases.
  4. TBR

    TBR One Life ~ Live It...

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    Walking around Songpan town, dried & spiced Yak meat cuts (Yak Jerky) of all sorts hanging on display up for sale to the tourists groups. In Qinghai and Sichuan provinces of China, beef jerky is mainly produced in the meat-processing plants. There are two kinds of beef jerky - spiced and curry. The fresh meat is boiled in water for one to four hours, depending on its tenderness. When cooled, it is cut into thick slices 1.5 cm long, 1 cm wide and 0.5 cm, which are put into a pot and sautéed for three hours to remove some water from the tissue. Spices are placed between the meat slices, which are then covered with water and left to simmer for about three hours. The slices are taken out and hung to drip-dry for four hours, then dried at 65 degr. celsius for six to eight hours. This product is known as "Spiced Yak Jerky". "Curry Jerky" is made by mixing the spiced jerky with curry powder. These products can be eaten directly or after additional cooking, frying or boiling.

    Well ~ the most popular meat eaten by Tibetan is Yak meat of course. Contrary to popular belief, most Tibetans in Tibet are not vegetarian and Yak meat is very important to the Tibetans diet. Yak meat is usually eaten boiled or dried, but in some areas of Tibet it is sometimes eaten raw in the winter. Traditionally, prior to winter, the nomadic herdsmen living in the Tibet highlands cut yak meat into long narrow strips (approximately 4 - 5 cm wide and 30 cm long) and dry these suspended from woven-hair ropes. Drying takes only a few days. The air-dried meat will keep for one or two years either hung in a tent or stored in hide bags - this is a longer storage period than for the naturally frozen meat. The air-dried meat is very dry indeed and has a distinctive flavour. Some of this dried meat is eaten as it is, only cutting or tearing the strips into smaller pieces; and milk-tea is drunk as an accompaniment. When cooking the dried meat, there are two main methods. One is to roast it by burying the meat in the stove, fuelled by yak dung, until the meat smells fragrant. It is then taken out, cleaned and cut into pieces. The other method is to soak the dried meat for several hours and then boil it in water, salt and other condiments are not usually added.

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  5. TBR

    TBR One Life ~ Live It...

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    We did not spent much time around the “tacky & touristy” Songpan town region, somehow very hard to explain to people to be honest, lets just say ~ its not one of our favourite destinations. While around town, we had to check out Mount Zhaga, a stone mountain on the west side of Songpan town. It stands at the north end of Songpan’s Muni Valley (Mounigou Valley). On a clear day, it provides some of the best views of XueBaoDing "Snow Mountain". It is one of the most easily accessed mountains in Songpan but at an altitude of nearly 4300 meters it is not easily climbed. Mount Zhaga is one of eight brother mountains throughout the Amdo-Tibet region in Sichuan.

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    Sidenote: Emma's Kitchen (Songpan) has edible western food, skip the rest of pseudo western style restos, the Muslim street parallel to Songpan town "pedestrian street" has a couple of good food options. In case your into some outdoor activities, Adventure Access http://www.adventure-access.com is a foreign owned and operated outdoor company specialising in 'off the beaten track' style tourism. They do mountain bike tours, cycling tours, day hikes and multi-day treks where you are guaranteed freedom from the masses of annoying Chinese tourists. The company is based out of Songpan but offers options for Jiuzhaigou and RuoErGai as well. The office is located on the river just beside the old bridge, known as Gu Song Qiao, in the center of the old town.
    TDC_ERock likes this.
  6. TBR

    TBR One Life ~ Live It...

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    Back up in the preferred Northern part of Amdo Tibet once again, Gannan Prefecture (Gansu) exploring the greater Hezuo / Ritoma region. Hezuo (Zö) is the administrative seat of the Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in southern Gansu province in Western China. It is home to the Gêndên Qöling (Zö Gönba) and its Milaraiba Tower, the Langshangmaio Temple.

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  7. TBR

    TBR One Life ~ Live It...

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    Labrang Monastery (Xiahe / Amdo-Tibet), we always get drawn to the area because of the relaxing vibes and people (friends) that live around the greater Labrang Monastery area. Tibetan monasteries, also known as lamaseries, have traditionally been centers of learning and quiet reflection as well as places where monks lived. Found as far north as Mongolia and Russia, they have also traditionally run temples, schools and other facilities and owned large chunks of land which they leased out to farmers. Monasteries usually sponsor ceremonies to bless villages. The ceremonies are day-long sessions of chanting and horn blowing.

    There are currently about 1700 monasteries accounted for around the Tibet highlands they say (real numbers might never be known), up from approx. 978 in 1987. Many of the monasteries are huge. The College of Esoteric Teaching in Labrang serves up meals for its monks in a kitchen with two woks, each nine feet across. Huge assembly halls, sometimes are decorated with stuffed yaks, goats and bears with stretched smiling faces, glass eyes and prayer flags pinned to them. Many Tibetan monasteries have similar characteristics. Many are built in high locations above villages and resemble fortresses. Most had or still have walls that were used to protect the monastery and its treasures from bandits, invaders and even rival monk armies. Many have meditation areas, holy sites, walls of mani stones, and a kora, or pilgrimage route around the monastery.

    Inside the walls is a central courtyard, where ceremonies are held and festivals are staged. It usually features a flag pole known as a "darchen" and is surrounded by a main assembly or prayer hall, known as a "dukhang," with side protector chapels, subsidiary chapels, monk quarters, a library, eating areas and a kitchen. Large monasteries have colleges, halls of residence, and an interior Kora. Well-off monasteries receive many donations giving the monks more time to study and pray. Some monasteries have become dependent on the generosity of tourists to survive ~ unfortunately.....

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    LABRANG MONASTARY 35°11'44.0"N 102°30'29.0"E

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  8. TBR

    TBR One Life ~ Live It...

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    Yak Butter Sculptures ~ Tibetan New Year is the biggest holiday in Tibet. The New Year holidays lasts 15 days from the first day to the 15th of the first month in the Tibetan Calendar. On the 15th, which is also a full moon day, is the Butter Sculpture Display Day or the Festival of Miracles Day. This is the day of celebration of Lord Buddha Shakyamuni’s victory over six Gurus in a contest of Miracles. In this special day, all the monasteries and villages across the Tibetan Plateau carry out religious rituals to honor Lord Buddha. Families will light yak butter lamps and offer them in their home altars, while big major monasteries are displaying Yak Butter Sculptures to the pilgrims.

    The Art of Yak Butter Sculptures is a unique art in Tibetan Buddhism and also a special ritual that began circa 1409. Traditionally, monasteries display butter sculptures on the 15th day of the Tibetan New Year in hope that the Buddha will bring them good fortune in the upcoming year. The colorful, delicate works are bas-reliefs mounted on hay, wooden board, sticks, etc. The topic of this form of art can be a story of the Buddha, deities, kings, legendary figures, animals and other folk or history heroes of Tibet. After displaying to the public on the 15th day, these sculptures will move into the sculpture hall and be on display usually till the 15th. day of the first month in the Tibetan Calendar of next year. No restrictions on photographing in the Yak Butter Sculpture Exhibition Hall and below pictures taken during our 2017 Summer visit to Labrang Monastery (Xiahe / Gansu / Amdo-Tibet)....

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  9. TBR

    TBR One Life ~ Live It...

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    Its a fantastic relaxing mystical feeling to watch the Tibetan pilgrims and walk the upper or lower Kora around the Labrang Monastery with them...

    Kora (pilgrimage) is a transliteration of a Tibetan word that means "circumambulation" or "revolution". Kora is both a type of pilgrimage and a type of meditative practice in the Tibetan Buddhist or Bon traditions. A Kora is performed by the practitioner making a circumambulation a in a clockwise fashion round a sacred site or object, typically as a constituent part of a pilgrimage, ceremony, celebration or ritual. However, in broader terms, it is a term that is often used to refer to the entire pilgrimage experience in the Tibetan regions. For "pilgrimage", Tibetans generally use the term nékor "circling around an abode", referring to the general practice of circumambulation as a way of relating to such places. In the context of kora, the né or néchen is rendered as "empowered", "sacred" or "holy" place/object, and the né is credited with the ability to transform those that circumambulate it. Aspects of both the natural and the man-made world are also considered to be the né of a wide variety of nonhuman beings such as iṣṭadevatās or ḍākinīs.

    The pilgrim is known as a né korwa "one who circles a né", thus defining them by the ritual circumambulation(s) they perform as part of their journey. Pilgrims seek to attain religious merit by performing koras, which are a major merit generator. The more potent the power place destination the greater the merit accumulated. A kora is performed by walking or repeatedly prostrating oneself. Prostration (e.g., versus walking), circumambulating repeatedly or an auspicious number of times all producing greater merit. Kora may be also be performed while spinning prayer wheels, chanting mantra, or counting rosary beads. Buddhist pilgrims most typically emulate the path of the sun and circumambulate in a clockwise direction. Bön pilgrims traditionally circumambulate counterclockwise.....

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    Tibetan Buddhist Pilgrims ~ pilgrimages to religious sites are of great importance to Tibetan Buddhists. Approached with the same religious zeal as Muslims going to Mecca, they are seen as both a religious duty and a chance to earn merit, plus a time to enjoy oneself and maybe an opportunity to seek a cure to an illness for themselves or a loved one. Pilgrimage sites generally have pilgrimage paths (koras) lined with prayer wheels and mani stones. Thus pilgrimages involve getting to the pilgrimage site itself and performing a pilgrimages around the site once there.

    The status of a pilgrims can be identified by their headgear, clothes, robes, earrings or the way their hair is braided. Pilgrims used to walk or make their way on horseback to the pilgrimage sites but now they arrive in buses and trucks. Some pilgrims travel thousands of miles in the backs of old trucks to get to pilgrimage sites. Often times much of the traffic you see on Tibetan roads is made up of trucks filled with pilgrims on their way to religious sites. They often bring their children, what little money they have and meat and vegetables to sell at a market to help pay for their trip.

    Tibetans begin doing pilgrimages when they are children and do not stop doing them until they reach the end of their life. Ceasing to do pilgrimages is ceasing to engage the life on earth from the view of a Tibetan. Describing pilgrims at Potala Palace in Lhasa, Howard French wrote in the International Herald Tribune, “Tibetans arrive by the thousands just as they always have dressed in crimson robes, or more often, well-worn rags, leaning on walking sticks or clutching babies. Many of them have journeyed a week or more to make the pilgrimage, often traveling from villages so remote they are not served by roads, wearing looks of beatitude upon arrival at the palace.”

    Pilgrims move in a clockwise direction around temples and shrines. In addition to prostrating themselves, they also drape white and yellow gauze strips around statues, spoon yak butter into lamps, turn prayer wheels, and leave small banknotes and barley grains as offerings. Many pilgrims wear an amulet called a gau that holds a picture of the Dalai Lama or the owner’s protector god. Pilgrims visiting a lamasery customarily leave a prayer scarf to honor the monasteries founding lamas. Swathes of sheep wool are sometimes hung to ensure a good harvest. The mangy dogs found around many temples survive off of hand-outs given by pilgrims....
  10. TBR

    TBR One Life ~ Live It...

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    Tibetan Buddhist Prostration is an important expression of Tibetan devotion. To earn merit Tibetan pilgrims prostrate themselves by lying face-down on the ground and stretching out their arms and legs. In many cases they repeatedly stretch themselves completely on the ground and touch their hands to the foreheads (representing the mind), mouths (speech) and chest (body) each time.

    Prostration means to lie face down on the ground as an act adoration and devotion. They raise their hands together high above their heads, take one step forward, lower their hands to the height of their forehead, take another step forward, lower their hands before their chest and take a third step forward. Then they kneel down and stretch themselves out upon the ground. After arising, they repeat this process. While they are performing prostrations, they chant sacred words, usually: "Om Mani Padme Hum". Many pilgrims spend several years traveling from other provinces to Tibet performing prostrations each and every step of the way. Even though some people have died while on the road, it is never considered a pity as having traveled toward Tibet in this manner is a lifelong honor.

    Prostrating is practicing one of Buddhism's three Jewels for Tibetan Buddhists. Tibetan pilgrims always perform prostrations before monasteries in Tibet and before sacred images displayed on altars or when they enter and withdraw from a room. Tibetan Buddhists also prostrate before their teachers.

    Tibetans ideally are expected to prostrate themselves 100,000 times a year, which works out to almost 300 times a day, every day of the year. Not only do they prostrate themselves around temples they also do it on roads, streets and sidewalks. Some pilgrims cover the entire approx. 60km route around Mount Kailash or travel from their hometowns to Lhasa, repeatedly prostrating themselves.

    Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims can spend several years making pilgrimages to Lhasa and other religious centers, covering the entire distance in a series of prostrations. “On the roads to Lhasa, from time to time, travelers can see Buddhists prostrating . They begin their journey from their home and keep on prostrating all the way to Lhasa. They wear hand pads, kneepads, and a protective leather upper outer garment. With dust on their faces and innumerable hardships in their lives, slowly they move forward by prostrating forward every 3 steps for months or for years, toward the holy city of Lhasa. Three or 4 acquaintances may go together under the same belief and for the same direction. Many years ago, Buddhists would go empty-handed, even without food or extra clothes. When they felt hungry or cold, they would beg and beg. Things are different now. A Buddhist may be designated for taking charge of food and clothes supplies, providing convenience for his companions, but never will he be allowed to replace a prostrator. The prostrating Buddhists are very scrupulous. They won't give up no matter their exhaustion. In case of heavy traffic or other situations, they will draw a line with some pebbles instead of prostrating. With determination and strong faith, they then continue to walk and prostrate forward.”

    Pilgrims who repeatedly prostrate themselves while making the circuit of Mt. Kailash for example, take one step, make a Tibetan prayer gesture, raise their hands in prayer, and lay down on the ground, their arms extended in front of them. Then they stand up and place their feet where their fingertips had just touched and repeat the process again. Those that do this often wear knee pads, aprons and canvas shoes on their hands and take two or three weeks to complete the journey....

    Tibetan Buddhist Prostration Steps for prostrating in stationary position: First, stand straight with your feet slightly spread and keep your toes pointing forward. Meanwhile, put the palms together, but leave a small open space in the center of the palms. Situate your hands at heart-level. And then raise your hands just above your head, touching the crown of your head. Then touch your hands to your brow, your throat and back to your heart.

    Secondly, bend at the waist to the floor and make your arms parallel to the ground with the centers of your palms facing the earth. Place your hands at a place in front of you that will allow you to bend forward gracefully and allow you to raise up with ease. Thirdly, allow your knees to touch the floor just after your hands and lie down on the ground. Form a straight line from your waist to your fingertips and keep face down.

    Thirdly and finally, touch the ground. The finishing moves, hands, knees and head must touch the ground in that order. Some pilgrims put the palms together and lift them above the head. As soon as your head touches the ground, raise up. Use your hands to push up from the floor quickly. Come to standing rest with hands returned to position before your breast.

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  11. TBR

    TBR One Life ~ Live It...

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    Oddometer:
    2,339
    Location:
    Cruisin' China since '89..
    Another beautiful day out in "Enduro Paradise" starting from Labrang (Amdo-Tibet) riding over the grassy mountain ranges towards and around the ancient village of Bajiao (Bajiao Cheng) ~ a walled village out at the Ganjia Grasslands, the ancient village was originally built in the Han Dynasty (around 2000 years ago). Bajiao Cheng is still inhabited by a few as of today....

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  12. TBR

    TBR One Life ~ Live It...

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    2,339
    Location:
    Cruisin' China since '89..
    Tseway Gompa (Temple) is one of the few Bön monasteries in Amdo-Tibet (Gansu / Ganjia Grassland) . Unlike most Buddhist temples, you should circumnavigate this holy site counterclockwise in the Bön fashion. There are great views of Bajiao (Bajiao Cheng) from the ridge behind the monastery.....

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    The day my trusty SONY RX100 MK4 got destroyed, while river crossing ~ water got into the Klim Carlsbad Jacket (Goretex) pocket and totally drowned the camera....

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  13. TBR

    TBR One Life ~ Live It...

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    Oddometer:
    2,339
    Location:
    Cruisin' China since '89..
    Well, what can we say ~ Ganjia Grasslands ~ whole region makes an enjoyable place to see some wide open spaces and just riding around, getting some great pictures and video & drone footage in the process... A flick of the wrist gets you moving in the right angle and the faster you go, the truer the line ~ feels like the Hattah Desert Race in Australia...

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  14. TBR

    TBR One Life ~ Live It...

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Cruisin' China since '89..
    Fuel and roadside service stations ~ many aware of our Tibet rides constantly ask about fuel availability around the remote Tibet highlands. There are service stations located on the bigger national roads and around towns. Well ~ in the Tibetan “Outback”, as many Tibetan Nomads have replaced horses with 100-250cc motorbikes, we just try to ask or follow them around remote areas as many villages and communities (small roadside shops) sell fuel out of large soft drink bottles. Must herewith state, we only had good solid fuel and not diluted with water as very common down South on Hainan Island, no worries ~ no fuel dramas during the entire 2017 YAKATTACK ride.

    Anyways, both our bikes have the larger Acerbis 3.2 gal. tanks installed with the fuel tank filter socks to eliminate any possible clogged fuel injectors due to contaminated fuel. Just as a precaution as getting seriously off the beaten track sometimes, had a GiantLoop Fuel Bladder (2gal.) strapped to the rear rack of my bike but only used twice during the very extensive remote off the grid riding.....

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  15. TBR

    TBR One Life ~ Live It...

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    White Rocks Cliff, sitting at the far end of the Ganjia Grasslands as a beautiful stunning backdrop, we had a few exciting high speed runs out there during our Labrang Monastery (Xiahe / Gansu - Amdo Tibet) region stay...

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  16. TBR

    TBR One Life ~ Live It...

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    2,339
    Location:
    Cruisin' China since '89..
  17. TBR

    TBR One Life ~ Live It...

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2013
    Oddometer:
    2,339
    Location:
    Cruisin' China since '89..
    White Rocks Cliff ~ as always, Tibet the mythical place full of surprises, we got dragged along by monks and pilgrims into a holy cave, heavily iron gated entrance hidden behind a wall of prayer flags (unable to spot to the unknown visitor). Pretty intense experience as totally ill equipped with just iPhone flashlights, wrong camera (drone) and no GoPro unfortunately. Totally off the charts on experience in "Indiana Jones" adventure style slipping and sliding around in the cave labyrinth for approx. 5 hours. The older generation Tibetan pilgrims and the three monks mumbling prayers while we basically crossed wobbly iron walkways faced with Yak butter candles / incense sticks, repelling ~ climbing ~ sliding through claustrophobic small slippery walkways hunched over or crawling on arms & legs... Hard to explain to someone not been there at the time and apologies for bad picture quality and yes ~ did ask for permission taking a few pictures....

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  18. TBR

    TBR One Life ~ Live It...

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    2,339
    Location:
    Cruisin' China since '89..
    White Rocks Cliff Top Ride ~ after a couple hours pushing our bikes through the hilly grassland regions, and getting really creative with some line choices, DN#199 and Myself summited one of the most picturesque mountain tops around White Rocks Cliff. Stop, relax and taking in the stunning view, realising we are truly in the front seat of life ~ another epic fantastic great Amdo-Tibet ride day completed by the TB-Racing team and in our books!

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  19. TBR

    TBR One Life ~ Live It...

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
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    Well ~ all good times come to an end and every single day out riding during the extensive Summer 2017 road trip has really been an all out fantastic exhausting and yet relaxing experience, friggin' awesome, there are so many lasting memories to take away from this trip.... Huge thanks to DN#199 for some inspiration leading some of the fast exhilarating grassland rides and all the awesome video footage and pictures we still have to sort through and archive in the near future. Epic life changing memories that will stay with us forever.

    Before finally closing another TB-Racing adventure chapter, let's mention about two typical sights around the Tibet regions, one comes across the Prayer Flags and Mani Stones, let me try to explain....

    PRAYER FLAGS
    There are two kinds of prayer flags: horizontal ones, called Lung ta (Wylie: rlung-rta, meaning "Wind Horse") in Tibetan, and vertical ones, called Darchog (Wylie: dar-lcog, meaning "flagstaff").
    Lung ta (horizontal) prayer flags are of square or rectangular shape, and are connected along their top edges to a long string or thread. They are commonly hung on a diagonal line from high to low between two objects (e.g., a rock and the top of a pole) in high places such as the tops of temples, monasteries, stupas, and mountain passes.
    Darchog (vertical) prayer flags are usually large single rectangles attached to poles along their vertical edge. Darchog are commonly planted in the ground, mountains, cairns, and on rooftops, and are iconographically and symbolically related to the Dhvaja.
    Traditionally, prayer flags come in sets of five: one in each of five colors. The five colors are arranged from left to right in a specific order: blue, white, red, green, and yellow. The five colors represent the five elements and the Five Pure Lights. Different elements are associated with different colors for specific traditions, purposes and sadhana. Blue symbolizes the sky and space, white symbolizes the air and wind, red symbolizes fire, green symbolizes water, and yellow symbolizes earth. According to Traditional Tibetan medicine, health and harmony are produced through the balance of the five elements. The best time to put up new prayer flags is in the morning on sunny, windy days and thats what we did in several Amdo Tibet locations and doing the traditional flag hanging with my best riding mate - absolute priceless in my personal opinion....

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    MANI STONES
    "Om Mani Padme Hum" ~ the most popular traditional prayer inscribed is Om Mani Padme Hum. If you inspect a few mani stones, you are more than likely to come across this. So what does it mean? It has long been believed that repeating this mantra is the key to being blessed by Chenrezig. Receiving blessings from this deity is so crucial for Tibetan Buddhists because he is looked on as the most important godly figure of all. His significance lies in his responsibility, as the Bodhisattva of Compassion, for relieving the pain and suffering of all of us on earth. As a side note— this heavy task is said to have broken him down at one point in history, which is why he is often depicted in art works as having many limbs and many heads; they are meant to represent the shattered fragments of his body.

    Mani stones are stone plates, rocks and / or pebbles, inscribed with the six syllabled mantra of Avalokiteshvara (Om mani padme hum, hence the name "Mani stone"), as a form of prayer in Tibetan Buddhism. The term Mani stone may also be used in a loose sense to refer to stones on which any mantra or devotional designs (such as ashtamangala) are inscribed. Mani stones are intentionally placed along the roadsides and rivers or placed together to form mounds or cairns or sometimes long walls, as an offering to spirits of place or genius loci. Creating and carving mani stones as devotional or intentional process art is a traditional sadhana of piety to yidam. Mani stones are a form of devotional cintamani.....

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  20. TBR

    TBR One Life ~ Live It...

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
    2,339
    Location:
    Cruisin' China since '89..
    The "aftermath" of the YAKATTACK 2017 road trip back at our Shanghai home base, cleaning & servicing the two bikes (TBR#88 / DN#199), must clearly state, not a single problem during the multi week riding around the Amdo-Tibet region....

    The KTM450EXC bikes are seriously awesome and the right bikes for our upcoming riding plans around the fascinating country called China. Building up the two bikes from scratch (bone stock KTM450EXC 2016), just how we want them to be is just magical and to have identical bikes at our disposal simplifies a few issues in terms of spares, maintenance and service requirements. Absolutely and totally lost interest in any lengthy road riding around the China mainland region. Might be repeating myself, we are privileged to undertake riding in China as quite restrictive in various ways compared to the rest of world...

    Sidenote: personally highly recommend the PC Racing airfilter skins and Profill Fueltank Socks as they have shown great results in keeping all sorts of dirt and contaminations out of the engine.

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    Lets have the final YAKATTACK (Amdo Tibet) words ~ why should I go to any Tibet region one should not even ask. Tibet is more than religion and myth. Geographically it is part of the top of the world. And your body will make you feel this in some cases as most travellers coming from the lower altitude are just not used the the "thin air". Your high altitude destinations will most likely give you a headache, make you dizzy or short breathed during the first day arriving by plane and getting over active just after arrival, riding (driving) up to the plateu is easier on the body. Tibet ~ your eyes will be rewarded by the sight of an incredible clear, blue sky, and views over green valleys or high passes and barren land, guarded by the eternal beauty of the various mountain ranges. A land, where Yaks, pulling the plough through the fields of a mountain valley; where the endless sky is touching the horizon and colourful prayer flags protect the passes and mountains. Intense blue skies are challenging snow-capped mountains and stars have never been as close to you as here! Tibet touches everyone: physically and mentally! Highly recommend seeing the so called Top of the World! It's probably a once in a lifetime experience for most and it will leave you astounded, exhausted and aware of the preciousness of human being. But don't expect to understand the secrets behind the Tibetan myth. Tibet has to be felt! It does not allow more than a glimpse and after extensive travels in the regions over the decades ~ mind-blowing experiences all over every trip and pictures do not do justice to the region...

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    Future YAKATTACK road trips currently in the planning stages by the TB-Racing team ~ stay tuned....

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