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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Dege: The Cultural Heart of Kham

October 14, 2008

Life on the Tibetan Plateau
October 12, 2008

Yushu 1 113 Dege (Derge) is located in Garze (Ganzi) Tibet Autonomous
Prefecture  in the Kham region  of the Tibetan Plateau. Dege is
famous across Tibet for being home of the Barkhang (Parkhang)
Scripture Printing House. The Barkhang was founded in 1729 and took
21 years to build. It holds over 250,000 hand engraved wood blocks
which are used in publishing Tibetan Buddhist scriptures and books on
Tibetan culture. It is estimated that the Barkhang, pictured above,
contains up to 70% of Tibet's literary heritage. The Barkhang is
considered to be a holy place to Tibetans. Each day there are
hundreds on pilgrims walking the kora around the printing house
(bottom picture). Artisans continue to carve the wood blocks into
scripture templates each day. It is incredible to see these highly
skilled people carving portions of Buddhist scripture into the wood.

Yushu 1 198 Gonchen is a Sakya sect monastery in Dege. Gonchen was
founded in 1448 by the first king of Dege. Gonchen is home to several
hundred monks.

You can't travel for long in Kham without hearing about the legendary
King Gesar of Ling. Though Tibetans from both Yushu and Golog lay
claim as being the birthplace of Gesar, the king was most likely born
on the Axu grasslands in Dege, though it is impossible to know for
sure. The Axu grasslands can easily be reached by car from the town center.

Yushu 1 220 Dege sits in a wooded valley at an elevation of
3200m/10,500 feet. It has some of the best hiking in the Kham region.
East of Dege about 100kms is the small town of Manigango which is
another stunning area with Mt Chola and Yilhun Lha Lake to explore.
Dege is remote and not easy to get to, but it is one of the most
amazing regions in Tibet. Dege is considered the cultural heart of
Kham. It is one of the best places to see traditional Tibetan
culture. The few people who do make their way to Dege are rewarded
with a beautiful setting and a glimpse of the old way of Tibetan
life. For more information about Dege, please send an email to
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665
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