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<-Back to WTN Archives A "LITTLE TIBET" NEARBEIJING
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World Tibet Network News

Published by the Canada Tibet Committee

Thursday, August 4, 2005



8. A "LITTLE TIBET" NEARBEIJING


Li Jin
China Daily 08/04/2005

If you were told that Beijing has its own "Mount Qomolangma" that boasts a
high altitude climate, alpine plants and Tibetan customs, you might take it
as a joke.

But it's true. Lingshan Mountain, located west of Mentougou District, is the
highest mountain around Beijing, at 2303 metres in height.

The mountain has become a great travel destination for tourists from the
surrounding regions of Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Province.

A Tibetan folklore festival is held every August to attract visitors and
also to develop local Tibetan-style tourism.

About 125 kilometres west from downtown Beijing, Lingshan has many
characteristics of an alpine climate.

It has the typical landform of a plateau with gentle slopes.

In fact, July and early August are the spring time for Lingshan, when dozens
of wild flowers come out in blossom.

It is also surprising to see mountain yaks--known as the "boat of the
plateau"--there.

These yaks have been brought in from China's northwest Qinghai Province. And
they seem to enjoy the mountain conditions very much. They have been raised
in the wild there since the 1970s.

According to an officer from Mentougou district government, it was hoped the
yaks and the Tibetan folklore and lifestyle of Lingshan mountain would
become a symbol of its alpine character. The presence of yaks there would
help people feel as if they were really on the Qingzang (Qinghai-Tibet)
plateau.

A Tibetan performing troupe has been invited to put on Tibetan dances, songs
and some local programmes for visitors.

To this end, a "Tibetan culture village" has been established half way up
the mountain.

Many yurts are decorated in Tibetan style and have been made available as
accommodation places for visitors.

A simple Lama temple has been built in the village. Visitors can find eight
Lamas sitting there, chanting Buddhist scripture in the yurt temple.

A large stage is located at the centre of the village, and performances are
put on for visitors every two hours.

Tibetan traditional festivals and celebrations are also held during the
folklore festival.

Of these, the Shoton festival would be the most important one.

Shoton, meaning "yoghurt drinking feast" in Tibetan, is famous in Tibet
largely because it is the time to watch organized Tibetan opera
performances, while giant tangka paintings of Buddha are also displayed.
Therefore, the Shoton festival is also known as the "Tibetan Opera Festival"
and the "Giant Painting of Buddha Displaying Festival."

The traditional Shoton festival begins with a display of the giant paintings
of Buddha, and its highlights include Tibetan opera performances, public
visit to parks, yak races and demonstrations of horsemanship.

The traditional Shoton festival starts at the end of June or the beginning
of July in the Tibetan calendar. In 2005 the probable date of the Shoton
festival will be from August 5 to 11. And Lingshan will be the site to hold
the Shoton festival.

Aside from folklore, the natural environmental conditions at Lingshan also
resemble those of the Tibetan plateau.

In the 1990s, plants were transplanted to Lingshan Mountain from the
Qinghai-Tibet plateau by Xu Fengxiang, a botanist who has spent 18 years in
ecological research on the plateau.

She had plans to build a cabin on the 2,303-meter-high Lingshan Mountain and
establish a botanical garden there to display Tibetan plants.

Xu Fengxiang wants to allow people who have visited Tibet to repeat their
experience, and give people who have never been to Tibet the chance to
experience the feel of the plateau. She also wants to raise awareness of
environmental protection among more people, especially the younger
generation.

The cabin is now completed and serves as a place to introduce Tibet to
people in general, to conduct ecological research, and to disseminate
environmental knowledge.

According to local Chinese media, a five-square-kilometre hunting reserve
will be established in Lingshan.

In the past, visitors to Lingshan would take five hours to drive along the
zigzag mountain road. Now the 109 National Road passes through the foot of
Lingshan Mountain. It thus takes as little as two and a half hours from the
city.

From the foot of the mountain, hiking to the top will take five hours.

But visitors who want to get to the summit quickly can take a cable car
there in 20 minutes.

The cable car is also a good way to view all the mountain scenery, including
the Tibetan village hidden in the forest.

Lingshan's Tibetan Folklore Festival lasts throughout the whole summer. It
takes three hours to drive westward along Shijingshan Road and Mentougou
Highway to the destination.

The temperature on the mountain is almost 15 degrees lower than downtown
Beijing. In the evening, the average temperature is 16 degrees Celsius. Warm
clothes are necessary if staying the night there.


Articles in this Issue:
  1. China denies detaining Panchen Lama, hits out at Dalai Lama
  2. China spells out conditions for Dalai Lama's return
  3. Railway to roof of the world threatens to squeeze Tibet
  4. Tibet's Potala palace spruced up but nobody home
  5. Heavy-handed approach criticized as China renovates Lhasa's Potala Palace
  6. Chinese presence stirs passions in Geneva
  7. Group Marching To Free Tibet
  8. A "LITTLE TIBET" NEARBEIJING



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