(PRWEB) June 09, 2012
Explore Tibet, a Lhasa-based Tibet travel agency that focuses on responsible tourism, now offers a trekking adventure to Mt. Gangkar on its official site http://www.tibetexploretour.com. Travel restrictions in recent weeks have made it difficult for foreigners to obtain permits to central Tibet, so Explore Tibet is promoting the Kham Tibetan region of western Sichuan as an alternative travel destination. Travelers here face fewer restrictions, and the culture and scenery of this unique region are unparalleled.
Mt. Gangkar is located in Sichuan Province, on the eastern edge of the Tibetan plateau in the Minyak Rabgang range. The Tibetan name, Minyak Gangkar, literally means white snow of the Minyak. The mountain is named for both its beautiful snow-bound peak and its location within the ethnic Minyak region, who are a unique cultural and linguistic sub-group of Tibetans. Within the Minyak Rabgang range there are 20 mountains with elevations over 6,000 meters, but with an elevation of 7556 meters, Mt. Gangkar is the tallest in the range and Asia’s highest summit east of the Himalayas.
In summer the mountain is shrouded in clouds, and most of the annual precipitation (800-900 millimeters) occurs between July and September, which makes spring and fall the best time for trekking. The granite ridges of the mountain’s north-east, south-west, and south-east faces have attracted mountaineering expeditions since 1878.
The trip begins in the Chinese city of Chengdu, gateway to western China. Chengdu is the home of the Giant Panda Breeding and Research Center, and travelers will have the opportunity to learn more about this critically endangered, iconic species. Chengdu also features a large Tibetan quarter with a market for traditional handicrafts, both Chinese and Tibetan.
From Chengdu travelers will drive overland to Kangding, capital of the ancient region of Kham. Today Khampa (the people of Kham) are generally called Tibetans, but they retain unique linguistic and cultural practices. Khampa architecture is renowned, utilizing resources and local knowledge to make large wood and stone houses. Kangding, called Dartsedo by Tibetans, was once an important trade center that served as a buffer zone between China and Tibet, and it still marks the edge of the Tibetan frontier.
From Kangding travelers head to the village of Tagong, home of the Pha Lhakang monastery, considered to be one of the most spiritual destinations for Tibetan pilgrims. Travelers will notice many pilgrims on the road to Tagong, some doing full prostrations for the entire length of their journey.
From Tagong travelers will make their way to Dora Village in the Ponposhi Township of Minyak, where they will have the opportunity for a Tibetan homestay. From Dora travelers will cross into the valley and to Yoloshi, a camp at the foot of Mt. Gangkar. Travelers will meet with a support team at Yoloshi, and the circuit trek itself can last 4-7 days.
Visitors and pilgrims to the mountain usually stop at the Gangkar monastery, which is at an elevation of about 3750 meters. It was built in the 13th century and is one of the 3 holy places of the Karma Kargyu Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The mountain itself is revered by Tibetans as the home of Chenrezig, who is the Buddha of compassion and the patron bodhisattva of Tibet. Mt. Gangkar is also considered the home of Demchok, a tantric deity of the Gelugpa order of Tibetan Buddhism.
Explore Tibet is a Tibetan-run travel agency focused on responsible tourism, Tibet permit and sustainable practice.