Litang… the Chinese “wild, wild West”

(English version from the text posted in Jun/2014)

Wild, Wild West… are the words that best fit the image that one has on arrival in Litang: dusty, paved streets, pigs eating scraps of food in the middle of the main road, forcing old and noisy trucks to get away, releasing clouds of black escape and raising the dust of the road that seems to cover the whole city, robbing it of the colours and leaving an uniform grey tone.
Groups of men gather along the sidewalks, leaning against the walls, the poles, and the trees, wearing heavy, thick jackets, chatting and watching the street movement, with a strong, dark-skinned face, half-covered by the flaps of felt hats, rolling the beads of the rosaries in their fingers.

The city is famous in the region for the annual horse races that in August bring together several ethnic groups of this region, some still nomad, living from the cattle raising, to exhibit their talents and equestrian skills. However, these races were banned last year by the government due to protests against the Chinese presence in the region.

Around Litang, a small and compact city lies a vast plain of agricultural fields where cattle pasture, which extends to the mountains with rounded ridges, almost deserted, which dominate the landscape. This produces an interesting contrast with the intense blue of the sky, which characterizes these regions of dry air and high altitude of the Tibetan plateau.

In spite of the evident Chinese presence, which stands out in the dozens of restaurants that line the main street, Tibetan culture clearly dominates, with a large part of the population resisting the adoption of Mandarin, with the exception of children who learn it at school.

At night, the people gather daily in the central square, built in a modern, organised Chinese style, to perform traditional Tibetan dances, with the ladies seeming to compete in the display of the traditional long dresses adorned with colorful aprons, characteristic of Tibet. Around the square, several groups of policemen watch over the participants, as these gatherings provided before a pretext for demonstrations against the Chinese presence in Tibet.

Viagem de autocarro entre Dao Cheng e Litang
Bus trip from Dao Cheng to Litang

Viagem de autocarro entre Dao Cheng e Litang
Bus trip from Dao Cheng to Litang

Viagem de autocarro entre Dao Cheng e Litang
Bus trip from Dao Cheng to Litang

Viagem de autocarro entre Dao Cheng e Litang
Bus trip from Dao Cheng to Litang

Viagem de autocarro entre Dao Cheng e Litang
Bus trio from Dao Cheng to Litang

Litang
Litang

Litang
Litang

Litang
Litang

Litang
Litang

Litang
Litang

Pequeno e discreto tempo que exibe orgulhosamente um retrato do Dalai Lama, imagem proibida na China
Small Buddhist temple where a photos of Dalai Lama is proudly shown, an image forbiden in China

Litang
Litang

Litang
Litang

Litang
Litang

Litang
Litang

Litang
Litang

Mosteiro de Litang
Litang Monastery

Mosteiro de Litang
Litang Monastery

Mosteiro de Litang
Litang Monastery

Population: 51.300

Elevation: 4014 m

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