Ganzi Travel Guide

Last updated by peggie at 2014/10/20

Ganzi Overview

Ganzi, a part of Qiang Tribe in ancient times and a part of Turfan in Tang Dynasty, is the major component of Kamba Tibetan Area. In 1950, it became the first national autonomous prefecture in new China and an important economic and cultural exchange center between China and Tibet.

The autonomous prefecture governs Kangding, Danba, Luding, Ganzi and other 14 counties. With a population density of 5.84persons per square kilometers, Ganzi is the biggest area with the lowest population density in Sichuan Province. Ganzi covering an area of over 153,000 square kilometers has a total population approximately of 900,000. Kangding, the location of prefecture government, is the political, economic and cultural center of the whole prefecture. Ganzi Tibetan autonomous prefecture has four major characteristics:

Numerous Ethnic Groups

25 ethnic groups including Tibet, Han, Hui, Yi, Qiang, Naxi and so on, among which the main ethnic group Tibet accounts for 78.4%, live together in Ganzi Prefecture. Various ethnic groups live together in a small scope and distribute in a large scope in the whole prefecture.

Yading Landscape in Ganzi

Strategic Location

Ganzi Prefecture, commonly referred to as Kam Area, is the main body of Kamba and situated at the juncture of Sichuan, Yunnan, Tibet, Qinghai four provinces and six areas. Ganzi is the important constituent of Chinese second largest Tibet Area. Since Song Dynasty, Ganzi had controlled Sichuan in the east, Yunnan in the north, Tibet in the west and Qinghai in the north in politics and military and it was a must of militants in all previous dynasties.

Abundant Tourism Resources

The tourism resources of Ganzi are extensive, comprehensive with strong complementarities. The magnificent natural landscape surrounded by Gongga Mountain, "the King of Shu Mountains" is located in the eastern area; the Daocheng-Yading natural reserve renowned as "the last pure land on earth" is located in the southern area; Degeyin Temple and the hometown of Gesaer with unique natural landscape and Kamba culture is located in the northern area and it is the core of "eco-travel in Chinese Shangri-La".

Rich Culture

As a core of frequent migration of the earlier nationalities, Ganzi Prefecture is a traffic hub connecting the inner land with Tibet and a mind distribution place of trade of Tibet-the Han nationality as well as a center for "tea-horse trade". During their long-lasting history, diversified culture and history imprints weaves with the vivid regional characteristics. Ganzi is rich in national culture resources which has a long history and a colorful national folk custom.

Legends about Ganzi

During the period of the Fifth Dalai Lama, the influence of Saga (Flower Sect), a branch of Tibetan Buddhism, rose in the Kamba area, so Dalai Lama decided to build a big temple of Gelu (Yellow Sect) in northern Kangding to resist the influence of Flower Sect. Therefore, Dalai send his disciple Quji Angwangpengcuo to direct the building of the temple. One day, after selecting an auspicious date to hold a foundation ceremony, he went to the foundation site on the opposite bank in a cow animal-hide boat. Suddenly an eagle dived to the boat and held the Buddha beads, which was put on a wooden shelf on the bows, away in its mouth and flied away and laid it on a pure stone plate. Lama ran after the eagle and came to the side of the stone plate and picked up the Buddha beads. After careful observation, he found the shape of the stone was like a sheep and the color was like a pure white non-flaw jade and it was glittering in the sunlight. He thought this was a propitious indication and decided to change the site of the temple, so the foundation ceremony was held beside the pure stone. Because Tibetans call white stone as "Ganduo" and foundation ceremony as "Ganzhen", so people calls here Ganzi, which means a place of pure and beautiful.

Ganzi means purity and beauty in Chinese. Long long ago, present-day Ganzi was not called Ganzi and everywhere was high mountains without current flat ground. The people including Tibetans and Mongolians made a living by hunting. Some year, a devil came here and when he met a hunter, he would snatch the prey with the hunter together and ate off. A Tibetan youth named Ruwang decided to challenge a duel with the devil. He told his idea to his mother. Although hesitated, she supported his son in the end. Several days, she saw his son in tears use his own tears to sharpen his waist swords. One day, at the time when the moon had not sank below the hills and the sun had not came out, Ruwang went up into the mountains to look for the devil with his waist sword. Ruwang fought with the devil for two days, but it was hard to try a conclusion.

A passing fairy saw the duel and was deeply moved by this handsome undaunted youth. Became an admirer of him and regardless of the prohibition in the heaven, she decided to help Ruwang without hesitation and they finally defeated the evil devil. But the villagers in the village were dying of starvation. What should they do? The fairy told Ruwang not to be anxious and ask him back to the village at once to mobilize the villagers to move to the summit of the mountains. That night, it was snowing with feathery snowflakes for a whole night. At dawn, when the villagers woke up, they found the whole village became a dam covered by white beautiful snow. When they held the snow with both hands, they were astonished. They are not snow, but they were tsambas and they were exhaustless. Every villager went out to fetch the tsambas. The place after moving away the tsambas grew beautiful flowers bushes. The young fellows and girls gathered and danced happily around Ruwang and the fairy. The sound of dancing would be heard from far away. From then on, people called here Ganzi and the dance was present famous Ganzi tap dance.

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