Yading Natural Reserve
Yading Natural Reserve is located
in Daocheng, a county subordinated to the Ganzi Tibetan
Autonomous Prefecture on the southwest border of Sichuan
Province. This national natural reserve is noted for
its mysterious lamasteries, forests, pastures, snowclad
peaks, clear lakes and primitive Tibetan villages. It
is so beautiful that the tourists nickname it "The
Last Shangri-La", "The Wonderland of Shangri-La"
and "The Last Pure Land on the Blue Planet".
Yading is a holy land for the local Tibetan, it means
"the land towards the sun" in the Tebetan
language. The reserve is at an elevation of 2,900 -
6032 merers and covers an area of 1,344 square kilometers.
Yading was seldom known by the outside world until it
was discovered by Joseph Rock in 1928. Today, Yading
is still a less-visited destination in China. This is
because of the less tourism promotion. Some famous tourist
spots in Yading:
Three Holy Peaks
The three holy peaks were once
blessed in the 8th century by Buddha Padmasambhava of
projecting his divine light onto the range and naming
the 3 elevations after three bodhisattvas.
The south peak Jambeyang (or Jampelyang,
Yangmaiyong) of 5,958m is the avatar of Manjushri, the
Bodhisattva of Wisdom. The east peak Chanadorje (or
Xianuoduoji) of the same height represents Vajrapani, the Bodhisattva of Wrath. The,north peak Chenresig
(or Chenrezig, Xiannairi ) of 6,032m, the highest of
the trio, symbolizes Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva
The three peaks are the patron saint
of the Tibetan. It's said that if a Tibetan pilgrimage
to the shrine 3 times in life, he can be blessed with
all he desires. Therefore, pilgrimage to this holy range
is a long-cherished wish of each Tibetan.
Three Holy Lakes
Five-color Lake (4800M)
It lies beneath the sheer precipice walls of Chenresig's
stunning south face. The lake changes its color amazingly
from green, bright blue to deep ocean blue upon light
Milk Lake (4600M)
A glacier-fed lake. Glacier running off from Jampelyang
gives the water its striking bright green color. The
best view can be gained if you follow the main trail
along the north shore of the lake and climb up to the
col in the west.
Location: Both Milk Lake and Five-color
Lake are situated at the saddle between Jampelyang and
the south face of Chenresig, with Chanadorje standing
at the east range. It is the second place to admire
all of three sacred peaks. Although the view of Jampelyang
is less impressive than that of in Luorong Pasture,
both lakes offer breathtaking views of Chanadorje and
It takes three hours to hike from
Luorong Pasture to Milk Lake. Five-color Lake is hidden
behind a steep slope, 150m higher than Milk Lake beneath
Chenresig's south face. Count 30 minutes to reach it
from Milk Lake. No clear trails. Follow the direction
of Tibetan praying flags hanging above the slope.
Pearl Lake (4000M)
It is a very small lake hidden in the beautiful upper
valley of Chenresig's north face, accessed by an easy
45-minute walk from Chonggu Lodge. The water of the
lake is limpid and you can enjoy the inverted reflection
of trees, flowers, and the snowclad peaks in water.
A small lamasery built in more than 800 years ago. Locating
at an elavation of 3,900, it offers a spectacular view
of Chenresig's north face. A legend has it that an eminent
monk Quejiegongjuejiacuo built Chonggu Si in order to
oblate the holy mountain and advocate Buddha dharma.
But, he peeved the Jinni because of the digging soil,
then the leprosy prevailed at the whole town, local
people were influenced badly. So as to relieve the disaster
of local people, Quejiegongjuejiacuo begged the Jinni
to drop the disaster to him. Jinni was moved by his
mercy and keep all the people healthy, however, he died
of the leprosy at last. Nowadays, monks of the temple
pray to Buddha to memory his merits and virtues everyday.
Chonggu Lamasery is the only pass
way to see the three holy peaks: Xiannairi, Yangmaiyong,
Xianuoduoji. And it is also the starting place of Tibetan
Luorong Pasture (4180M)
A paved trail leads to Luorong Pasture, 12 km from the
entrance, an easy three-hour trek. The difference in
height is less than 300 meters. Luorong Pasture is situated
in an enchanting valley between the east face of Chenresig
and the west face of Chanadorje. Jampelyang, 'a truncated
pyramid'claimed by Joseph Rock, rises almost 2000 meters
at the upper end of the valley. It is the first place
in the reserve where three sacred peaks can be seen.
Red Grassland, located in Sangdui town, 28km north of
Daocheng. It's a piece of inconspicuous wetland most
of the time, but overgrew with red bushes in autumn,
with the yellow-foliaged poplars behind and clearly
blue sky above, local people believe it's the "Color
of Heaven'. But the red will only last for about 15days
per year, not easy to catch the right time. A (pedicab)
walk is recommended to Rupuchaka Hot Springs, 4km outside
Yading Village (3,900m)
The Yading Natural Reserve is named after it for closing
this picturesque Tibetan village. The village is about
34 km from the country seat of Shangri-La. It has around
180 people who keep very traditional Tibetan culture
and customs. In Yading Village, there are some simple
guesthouses operated by the locals. In some guesthouses
like Longmen Inn, it has some twin rooms with a private
bathroom. Now, it has electric in the guesthouse but
no hot showers. The village also offers horse-renting
service. Vistiors can start their hiking to visit the
three holy peaks Changna Dorjee, Jambeyang and Chenresig.
For those travellers whose physical condittion is not
strong enough, they can also rend a horse here. For
camping is not allowed at other places of Yading village,
guesthouse is the only choice for the travellers who
would like to stay overnight in Yading Nature Reserve.
Yading Valley (2,800 - 4,200m)
The valley measures about 25 km from Kangku (in the
north) to Luorong Pasture (in the south). Hiking along
the valley, you can enjoy many beautiful scenic spots
including the Yading Village.
Best Travel Time and Climate
The Yading Natural Reserve is influenced by Qinghai
- Tibetan Plateau, it has the feature of Qinghai - Tibetan
Plateau and Continental climate, belonging to continental
monsoonal plateau climate, with long winters and short
summers, and an average annual temperature of 12.3'C.
It has distinct wet seasons and dry seasons. The best
travel seasons are spring and autumn.