The Golog region is one of the wildest areas on the Tibetan Plateau and may be the least touched by modern time. It is an awesome land that is one of the six districts of Qinghai and is south of Qinghai’s vast, bright Lake Kokonor. Golog is 77,000 square kilometers in area with a population of about 160,000, over 150,000 of whom are Tibetans. Golog is comprised of six counties and its political, economic, and cultural center is the town of Dawu.
The beautiful Amnye Machen Mountain reaches a height of 6,282 meters (20,605 feet). Golog has many mountains: snow mountains, rocky mountains, forest, and pasture covered mountains, and grassy plains. It is the source of the famous Yellow River that first winds through Golog. There are numerous rivers and great and small lakes. In this natural environment roam high altitude animals: snow lions, snow leopards, wild yaks, kiang, the Tibetan antelope, and graceful herds of deer. The principal livelihood of the nomadic population depends on their herds of yak and sheep.
Located in the remote far eastern corner of Golog and rarely visited by Westerners, stands Nyenbo Yurtse, 5369m / 17,611 feet high. With its exquisite vistas and deep water fresh lakes, this may be the most beautiful place in the Northern Tibetan Plateau. Fed by several rivers from high peaks, a deep fresh water lake sits at the base of the mountain. Nyenbo Yurtse offers many opportunities to explore and hike.
Thubten Chokor ling Monastery, located in Gade Village, will open its doors for the first time to welcome this group of Western visitors. The monastery, with up to 1000 clergy members, was the first to specifically build modern housing and a new nunnery to help meet the needs of the many bright and devoted women yogini’s and practitioners. This is the first nunnery in Golog State. Tulku Hungkar Dorje, the Supreme Abbot of the monastery, has dedicated much of his life to preserving ancient Tibetan culture and traditions while offering an opportunity for educational and economic advancement. This will truly be a rare opportunity and a life changing adventure.
Thubten Chokor Ling Monastery – Located in the recess of a deep valley, resting in a crook of the Yellow River and surrounded by the Amnye Machen Mountain ranges – Lungngon Monastery (Blue Valley) as it is known, is the largest Nyingma monastery in Golog. Housing a second “Jharung Khashor”, equal in size to the Great Boudhanath Stupa, devoted nomadic pilgrims do prostrations while circumnavigating this holy monument. Amongst the many temples and stupas is a replica of the Sekhar Guthok, the legendary 9–storey tower Marpa ordered Milarepa to build in Lhodrak. Lungngon is truly an inspiration for all who see it.
Regarding its history, Hungkar Dorje Rinpoche has written – “My monastery was founded in the 1820s by Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje (1800-1866), a great master of the nineteenth century who was a rebirth of Rigdzin Jigme Lingpa (1729-1798). At first the monastery consisted of a nomadic yak hair tent of no fixed location moving from one area to another. It barely survived through the invasions by Muslim armies and the Chinese cultural revolution. A succession of lamas with great courage and hard work ensured that the monastery and its traditions continued to exist. In particular the ninth abbot of the monastery, Pema Tumdrak Dorje (1934-2009), or Lama Sang as he was generally known, preserved and protected its Dharma lineage. In 1980 he built the present monastery, which is an officially registered monastery recognized by the Chinese government. Chörig Lobling: monastery’s college. I founded a nunnery that was the first in Golog
The Mayul Multi-disciplinary Technical School – Less than 25% of Tibetan children graduate to secondary school. The “Mayul Secondary School”, Gades first, was built to help rectify this problem. With 400 students and classes taught in the Tibetan language, students can focus on traditional professions such as thangka painting, Carpet weaving and Tibetan medicine or they can prepare to transfer to Lanzhou Nationalities University. In addition to the technical school, a new primary school was built in 2015 and now has over 100 young students. The primary school will offer local children a first opportunity to obtain an academic education and a path to progress to schools of higher learning. Good education is a key in providing economic and cultural self determination for the people of Tibet.
Sky burial– (Note: We can get the charnel ground name and more specific information from Hungkar Rinpoche.) It is said that Tibetan sky-burial evolved from ancient practices dating back to the 12th Century Bardo Thodol (Book of The Dead). For Tibetan Buddhists, sky burials are templates of instructional teaching on the impermanence of life. It is considered an act of generosity on the part of the deceased, since the deceased and his/her surviving relatives are providing food to sustain living beings. Such generosity and compassion for all beings are important virtues in Buddhism. One can often find a yogin Chodpa at the charnel grounds meditating on cutting through ego for the benefit of others during burials.
Do Khyentse Mani Wall – Named after the great 19th Century master and tertön (“Treasure Revealer”) Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje, these impressively long, massive, and high walls of stone plates are inscribed prayers for newly departed family or with the six syllable mantra of Avalokiteshvara (Om mani padme hum), hence the name “Mani stone. Carving the Mani Stone is a form of devotional or intention art.
Nyenpo Yertse Geological Park – Hidden in an isolated location, with few foreign visitors, this hidden gem holds dozens of beautiful turquoise colored lakes and uniquely formed snow covered mountains. Located at the border between Sichuan and Qinghai Province, Nyenpo Yertse is believed by Gologpa’s to be their birth place and the origin of Tibet’s Heroic Warrior King, Gesar of Ling. Dotted with typical Golog Yak ranches and reaching a high point of 5369 meters, the local Bayhan Har Mountain range is the source of the Yangtse and Yellow River’s and the beginning of their separation. All of these wonders make Nyenpo Yertse one of the most beautiful discoveries in Tibet.
Amnye Machen – Each year, thousands of pilgrims make their way to Amnye Machen to make a pilgrimage around the mountain. The trek around the mountain takes around 7 days. Amnye Machen rises to 6282m / 20,605 feet and is the highest mountain in Amdo.
Ngoring Lake (“Long Blue Lake”) – One highlight of this tour is visiting the source of the Yellow River at 4,300 meters above sea level. The freshwater Ngoring Lake is seldom seen by Western visitors. Rich in fish and frozen in the winter, this vast highland blue alpine lake is surrounded by crystalline rocks that are sometimes visible as eroded outcroppings on the surface. The lake road passes through a wildlife preserve for the Tibetan Antelope, the rarely seen flat faced Tibetan Fox, and the Wild Ass. Ngoring and its close neighbor, Kyaring Lake, are considered to be the source of the Yellow River – China’s second largest, with a total length of 3400 miles. Tibetan traditions in this area have changed little over the years and remain some of the best preserved on the Tibetan Plateau. Ngoring and Kyaring have a unique place in Tibetan history as being the home to King Gesar’s wife. The distant temple of Tsowar Kartse Dokha is situated near the western shore of Ngoring at 4,300 meters. With huge piles of hand carved Mani Stones carrying Buddhist scripture, pilgrims still make the long and difficult journey to worship and circumambulate around the many local stupas.