After a short night in Lanzhou we checked out in the early morning. Prepared with a small bag for one night, we got on our way to Xiahe. After a two hours long bus ride we stopped by at the Hezheng Ancient Animal Fossil Museum where we got an attractive tour with our professional tour guide Mr. Stephen Zhu. The fossils were all a couple million years old and some of them impressed us with their amount of daily food intake of one ton of grass.
Due to our growling stomachs we entered a muslim restaurant at Hezheng County downtown for a terrific lunch. Around one o’ clock we left the Hezheng County to visit the Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Xiahe County. The bus ride took around three hours during which we had the chance to enjoy the beautiful landscape of the China’s countryside.
When we arrived Xiahe we visited the Labrang Monastery, which consists of several temples of tibetian monks. We had the pleasure to be guided by Tharchin, a tibetian monk. He explained to us in detail about Buddhism including the meanings of the incredible paintings on the walls of the temples. On the walls besides the entrance are always the pictures of the four guards of Buddha. Inside are further paintings, hundreds of Buddha wearing the traditional monk robes and an uncountable number of books for studies. One of the highlights was a room full of paintings solely made of yak butter.
After a fascinating experience we checked in at Civil Aviation Hotel in Xiahe village. All of us were surprised about the tidiness and beauty of the hotel rooms. After a delicious meal in the hotel restaurant we got the evening off to explore the wonders of the Tibetan culture on our own. We headed out for the village to get a cup of coffee and Wi-Fi to contact our family at home. Due to the fact that the monks are praying very early in the morning most of us decided to go to bed early this evening in order to be able to participate the ceremony next morning. We are already eagerly awaiting what wonders lie ahead of us when we will see all the pilgrims and monks doing their ancient rituals.
Group 4 – Iris Hettich, Florian Maier, Benjamin Fischer, Lukas Bühler, Christian Röthlin