Dukezong is an ancient Tibetan town located in Shangri-la County, which is part of Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, in Yunnan Province, People Republic of China. This is one of the oldest cities in China dated back to 1,300 years rich cultural heritage. Recently, in January 2014 a huge fire engulfed the entire old city and destroyed everything.Though there were no causalities of injuries, the fire destroyed the complete ancient city.It is a pity to note that most of the building which was destroyed in the fire was constructed during 17th century. Those who want get away from the bustling modern day activities, Dukezong is an ideal location.
The city of white stones!
The simple Tibetan signature dwellings, their pagodas, colorful lanterns in various shapes lighted in the promenades, their prayer halls all are to accelerate the mystique grace of Dukezong the moment you enter the old city. The city is 700 kilometer far from Kunming and located 3,200 meter above sea level. Tibetans are fond of white color.They consider white related to their forefathers, and give due respect to the white shades.Their fore fathers, the ancient Qiangs worshipped white stones.As token of respect the white stone crushed and pasted and used for painting their dwellings.
That is the reason Dukezong is known as "city of white stone"! During full moonlight, the city reflects like a silver sheen.As a result another epithet created the city of moonlight. The counterpart city in the banks of Naizi River, Niwangzong Town called as City of Sunshine.Based on the theme, Tibetans sang "Sun and Moon the Heart", which has been sung by the Tibetans for more than 1000 years!
Ancient stop over on Tea Horse Trail:
Dukezong is one of the well maintained Tibet counties among the 147 Tibet counties across China. Here you can see the largest Tibetan community living in their traditional style.This area is an important meeting point for Han-Tibetan exchanges.Dukezong is an important stop over point on the historical Tea-Horse Trail.
Evidence to confirm the existence of human civilization at Shangri-La during the Paleolithic Age is excavated out from here. It is also proved beyond doubt that there was a tribal society inhabited in the location during Western Zhou Dynasty said to be in 1100-771BC. As per the available historical evidences, it is believed that Tubo Regime over powered Deqen and built the Dukezong city.
The lost city in Snow Mountain:
The history of Dukezong run along with oldest civilization and considered as the oldest town. Also, it is considered as the "Footstep of Shangri-La". In some of the old Buddhist literatures, there were some references about a lost city in the Snow Mountain known as Shambhala.It was narrated as an eight petal lotus flower.The existing city of Dukezong is also spread over 1.6 square kilometer in the shape of Lotus Flower.The dwellings that are seen in the Turtle Hillalso constructed in the tune with the geometrical pattern of Tibetan Buddhist style.
How to reach there:
There direct tourist bus services from Shangri-La to Dukezong Ancient Town. Taxi and mini bus services are also available.The entry is open and visiting time is 8:30 to 23:00 hrs.
The city is vibrant with its traditional activities. The people are happy, cool and very friendly.Everybody would like to take the tourists to their dwelling and show their artistictalents. Tibetan play their country chess, which is more than 1000 years in practice. They still use the old type of horse bells which bring back the nostalgic memoires of old civilization. Rich religious ornaments, cottage industry products such as earth wares, incense, and oldjewelry, painted scrolls are lavishly used by the people. Mind blowing fantastic experience!