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Yalong, Tibet

Date of Submission: 29/11/2001
Category: Mixed
Submitted by:
National Commission of the People's Republic of China. ( natcomcn@public3.bta.net.cn )
Coordinates: 28°40'-29°30' N / 90°50'-92°20' E
Ref.: 1622

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Covering the valley of the middle reach of Yaluzangbu River,its branches and some lakes on the Tibetan Plateau,Yalong region is the cradle of Tibetan culture.The extant relics,artifacts and ancient sites demonstrate the early civilization of the Tibetans,including their early religion,culture,arts and society.Yalong region covers an area of 1350 square kilometers.It is an area of high cultural and natural value on the QinghaiTibetan Plateau. This region belongs to plateau temperate semi-arid monsoon climate,with strong sunshine,strong radiation and thin air.Average annual temperature is 8.3? and annual rainfall is between 330 and 390 mm.Average annual total radiation in Zedang is 172kcal/square cm.The average atmospheric pressure is between 60,000Pa and 70,000Pa.The geological structure of this region is very complicated.The area to the north of Yaluzangbu River belongs to Mesozoic depression belt and late Yanshan Era-Himalayas Era granite of northern Gangdisi Mountain Range;the area to the south of the River is metamorphic flysch rock belt of northern Himalayas.In this region,the Quaternary strata are thick and well developed and are dotted with a lot of gyittja,river facies sediment and glacial drifts of different glacial periods.The relative height between high peaks and low valleys is 1500m.With the interaction of glaciers and rivers,magnificent scenes of high mountains,grand rivers and big valleys were created.Many hot springs,waterfalls and karst caves can also be found here. Yaluzangbu River is the highest large river in the world.A section of about 302 km of the Yaluzangbu River is in this region,with an average elevation of more than 3,000m.The East-West straight valley is a typical tectonic valley developed on the margin zone of Indian Plate in the south and Eurasian Plate in the north.The maximum flow of the river is 3,250 cubic meters per second.The widest place in the valley of the middle reach of the river is 7km.The river develops into a network shape and the wide valley forms the Zedang plain area.Yalong River,a branch of Yaluzangbu River,originates in the northern part of Cuomeisangwula Mountain,takes in the melted snow water from Yadongtianxiangbu snow mountain(elevation 6,635.8m;with large area of modern glacier),and flows into Yaluzangbu River at Zedang Plain.Yangzhuoyongcuo,a plateau lake and one of the three ?sacred lakes ?of Tibet,is formed by river sediment clogging the original tree-like river course.The lake,with an elevation of 4,445 m and maximum depth of 60 m,covers an area of 638 square km.The clear lake and the swamps and meadows by the lake together create extremely beautiful scenery. In this region there is rich bio-diversity and one finds typical natural vertical belts:temperate grassland belt-alpine grassland belt-alpine tall grass meadow belt-alpine frigid sparse vegetation on alpine scree belt(snow peeks).The vegetation in the valley is shrubs dotted by trees.There are 683 species of common plants,7 species of ferns,7 species of gymnosperm and 669 species of angiosperm.Animals under state grade one protection are Equuskiang,Grusnigricollis,Teteraogallus tibetanus,Cervusalbirostris and argali.Yangzhuoyongcuo Lake,the ?fish storage of Tibet?,is abundant in fish,mainly schizothorax and plateau carp.There are a dozen bird islands on the lake. Yalong region is where the ancestors of the Tibetans lived and is the cradle of the Tibetan culture.A lot of early Tibetan cultural artifacts and sites demonstrate the religious,social,cultural and scientific and technological development at that time.Before 633 AD,when Songzanganbu unified Tibet and moved his cultural center to Lhasa,Yalong had always been the political and cultural center of Tibet and had been playing an important role. Changguo Ruins,a complete relics site of a primitive village in Neolithic Age,demonstrate that this was the place where the Tibetans settled 10,000 years ago.According to ancient Tibetan books,the legend that the Tibetans were the offspring of monkeys and fairy has its origin in this region.The agriculture and animal husbandry here have always been quite developed. The valleys in the middle reach of Yaluzangbujiang River and the valleys of Yalog.River are the major agricultural region and are claimed as the ?granary of Tibet?.Yangzuoyongcuo Lake is one of the important ranges in Tibet due to rich grass around the lake. The first palace in the history of Tibet-Yongbulakang Palace was built in the 2nd century BC on the top of the Zhaxiciri Mountain.The magnificent palace demonstrated typical Tibetan style.Later Dalai V expanded and rebuilt the palace into a temple,which is kept intact now. The first Buddhist palace in the history of Tibet-Changzhu Temple,built in the 7th century,was one of the first Buddhist temples built during the reign of Songzanganbu.After three expansions and improvement,the complex now covers an area of 4,660 square meters.In the temple there is a priceless treasure ? a ?picture of Avalokitesvara? made of pearls.In 767,the first Tibetan temple with Buddha?s sculpture,Buddhist sutra and monks ?Shangye Temple ?was built.It was the grandest building during the Tubo Dynasty and was the political center of that time.The complex covers an area of 120,000 square meters and has a floor area of 25,000 square meters.The layout of the temple was an imitation of the ?Datura? pattern of the Indian school of Buddhism.The main hall is a combination of the building styles of Tibet,Chinese Han and India,which reflects the integration of the three cultures.The ?picture of Tibetan history ?,claimed as the Tibetan?Records of the Historian?,is a 92 m long mural.The 8th century classic Tibetan medical book Complete Works of Medicine was discovered nearby the temple in 1012.Qingpu,15 km away from Sangye Temple,is another place of Buddhist activities,where one can find many carya caves (carya caves are natural caves used by famous Indian monks Lianhuasheng and Jihu when they were invited to Tibet to spread Buddhism.Now about 40 such caves are well preserved),sky burial platform,springs and a lot of basreliefs on precipices and pagodas.Buried underground are ?fuzang?-buried sutras ?to be discovered. The Minzhulin Temple was acclaimed as the ?No.1 Seat of Learning ?of Tibet.It was built at the end of the 10th century and later was expanded into an institution of higher learning in the 17th century.In the temple,not only sutras,but also Sanskrit language,medicine,calendar and astronomy were studied.It also provided biannual Tibetan calendar,which is still used today.The existing buildings in the temple cover a floor ,space of 100,000 square meters. The earliest and biggest royal mausoleums,the Tibetan Mausoleums,were built in the 8th century when Tibet was unified.There were originally 21 mausoleums and now only 16 remain.The graveyard covers an area of 3,050,000 square meters.The owners of 9 mausoleums have been identified.Further textual research and excavation will be needed. Many of the well-kept remains in the region are evidence of the important?zong xi ?administration system in the social development of Tibet.Dansati Temple was built in 1158 and is the first temple of Gaju School.In 1354 Qiangqujianzan established Pazhu Dynasty and practiced ?zong xi ?system to turn Tibetan society from a slavery system into a feudal serf system.Now there are many complete?zong ?and ?xi ka ?remains.The ?zong?(county)includes Qiongjie Zong(on the top of Qiangwadazi mountain;elevation 3,800m;area 1,600square meters;the current remains were built during the time of Dalai I),Qiaga Zong,Woka Zong,Baima Zong.The ?xi ka ?(manor)includes Langsailin Manor(built in the late Tubo Dynasty and expanded to current scale in Pazhu Dynasty;the main building has 7 floors and is 22 meters high;the main building and main walls are kept intact;the buildings were built by using special construction methods using stone and earth),the 12th century Dalai Manor and Ludingpozhong. The influence of Yalong valley on the Tibetans remains today.Two out of the four sacred Buddhist mountains in Tibet ?Habu Mountain and Gongburi Mountain ?and sacred lake ?lamunamucuo?(meaning ?the lake of Mother Buddha ?)are in this region.Every reincarnated boy of the previous Dalai is found with the revelation of the sacred lake.This region is also the place where the earliest Tibetan characters and operas were created. Justification of ?oustanding universal value? The middle reach of Yaluzangbu River is the biggest valley region on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.The discontinuous ultra basic rocks and exotic rocks demonstrate the action of crust and Earth mantle. The snow mountains,gorges and lakes create unique ecological types and demonstrate rich plateau landscapes.Because Yaluzangbu River cuts through the Himalayas and opens a passageway for the warm and wet atmosphere from the Bangladesh Bay to flow into the valley of Yalong region, favorable water and heat conditions have been provided for the early development of the Tibetans. More than ten thousand years ago,the ancestors of the Tibetans chose here as their place for settlement and formed their unique way of living.In the 3rd century BC,Yalong tribes were formed and in 217 BC the first Tibetan king created a slavery system kingdom. As the origin of the Tibetan culture,Yalong region have seen early agriculture and animal husbandry development and the development of unique Tibetan culture.Here one can find well-kept early gathering places,palaces,temples,burial grounds and manors.The early Tibetan characters, poems, operas, medicine, astronomy and calendars were also created here. As the origin of Tibetan Buddhism, the role of the ancient temples in the region is irreplaceable.It was from here that the Tibetan Buddhism gradually influenced Tibet and the vast area of west and northern China.