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Travel to Seda

 2017-11-13    Ying C    Tours    Garze    1859  

We started off from Xinduqiao Village early  in the morning. Xinduqiao, located at the intersection of Sichuan – Tibet  Highway, is reputed as the Paradise of Photographers. Situated on a sea level  of about 3,300 meters, it’s an endless grassland with winding streams and  mountains. As we drove along, we saw forests changing colors from yellow leaves  scattered here and there into a great golden world of deep golden color. 

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Although this tranquil and pristine land  seems just like God’s secret garden, we didn’t linger for too long and  continued driving to our destination: Seda, the place of my dream.


After traveling through a long and bumpy  road, we arrived in Seda County at 2 in the afternoon. Seda (Sertar) which  means “golden horse” in Tibetan, lies in the southeast of the Tibetan Plateau.

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Before we began the challenging mountain  hike, we decided to see Tianzang Funeral (Sky Burial) first.


Funeral is the usual means for disposing of  the dead among the majority of Tibetan people as well as many Mongols. The  corpse is offered to the vultures to eat. For Tibetan Buddhists, this custom is  considered an act of generosity on the part of the dead, since they are  providing food to sustain living beings. Such generosity and compassion for all  beings are important virtues in Buddhism.

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The procedure took place on a site where a  large flat rock lies higher than its surroundings. Simple as it was. Groups of  vultures were already hovering above the site. What the vultures brought was  not only a lot of noise but a terror. For some reason, I got chickened out at the  last minute and turned away.

Tianzang Funeral.jpg

And so we began hiking for the panoramic  view of Seda from the highest point of the mountain. Seda is home to the Larung  Gar Buddhist Academy, the world’s biggest Buddhist school founded in 1980s. Now  it houses tens of thousands of monks and pilgrims, which constitute the vast  majority of the Seda population.

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Not long after we started, we were  breathing heavily and felt dizzy and a pain in the head. The effects of the  altitude were not expected so soon. However we insisted to finish the journey. At  last we reached the top with an altitude of 3,014 meters. We stopped and stared  at the beautiful view in awe: a vast sea of red houses. The houses are all  built in a wood style that is traditionally found in this region. The houses  are built so close together that they are almost on top of each other, layers  and layers of them.

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Not until my partner told me that my  complexion didn’t look good did I realize I was cold and breathing heavily. So  we returned to our hotel.


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