Headline News


Qinghai-Tibet Railway reveals wonder


07-01-2006 11:46

China's west is renowned for its mysterious beauty. In the past, many of its natural wonders have been almost impossible to reach. But with the opening of the Qinghai-Tibet railway, this is all about to change.

Distinctive Tibetan singing and dancing reflects local characteristics of Qinghai. In China there are 55 minority groups, Qinghai alone boasts 42 of them. Different minority groups have formed their own traditions as well as unique festivals and cultural activities.

Situated on the northeastern side of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau, Qinghai is the fourth largest province in China. Over half its area is between four and five thousand meters above sea level.

This is the biggest ceremony in the year for Tibetan Buddhism. It's held in You Ning Monastery, located 30 kilometers east of the downtown area. It's a very holy place for local Buddhists to worship. During the ceremony, people take part in prayer.

One hundred and fifty kilometers away from the provincial capital Xining lies one of the world largest salt-lakes - Qinghai Lake. It stretches endlessly into the horizon, resembling a huge emerald encased in plateau and grasslands. Northwest, lies Bird Island. Nowadays it's a National Nature Protection resort. From March to September over one hundred thousand rare birds migrate from Southeast Asia to lay their eggs here.

Starting from Xining, the Qinghai-Tibet railway covers two thousand kilometers on the plateau. It ends in Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region.

With its majestic splendor, Potala Palace in Lhasa is impressive. This 13-storey structure contains 999 rooms, and is located at one of Lhasa's steep mountains. Unlike the majority of China's famous architectural wonders, Potala Palace is built on a vertical flat. Its walls are slanted like a condensed Great Wall, reproducing the outline of mountain slopes.

Pilgrims to the Buddhist holy place perform their duties in various ways. A well-known ritual is to spin prayer wheels, ranging from common handheld units, to ones standing several meters high.

About 100 kilometers north of Lhasa is Namco Lake. Namco means "Heavenly Lake" in Tibetan. It's a famous Holy place of Tibetan Buddhism. Visitors can spend a night at the site living in one of the tourist tents. However, due to the lack of oxygen overnight, visitors should consider bringing an extra oxygen tank.


Editor:Wang Ping