Tagong 塔公 and the area around
Tagong (or Lhakang in Tibetan), altitude 3800m, is the site for a
large ancient Tibetan monastery, called
Tagong Si (or Pel Lhagong in Tibetan). In addition to this, there
are at least three newly built monasteries, and good possibilities
for mountain walks around the area.
The town is small, about one kilometer long and a few hundred meters
broad. There are several hotels and hostels.
Edited by Hans Schaefer, December 2011.
Tagong on wikipedia
of Tagong monastery
How to get here:
From Chengdu, Sichuan province, China, through Kangding on the
Sichuan-Tibet Highway, road no. 318, head west up the Zhe Duo La
pass (4200m altitude). From here, you either follow the highway to
Xindu qiao (most buses go here), then take another road towards
north for another 30 km (with buses), or you follow the road to
Kangding airport just west of the pass and from there a small road,
46 km long, over the hills to Tagong (minibus only).
In November 2011, there was a little snow, but walking was easy.
Temperatures were freezing at night and just above freezing during
Here is a description of possibilities for such trips, together with
This is the centrtal place in Tagong, with the entrance to the
ancient monastery behind the two pilgrims. The monastery shop
selling souvenirs to the right. Towards the left, outside the
picture, you find "Sally's hostel" and several hotels and
The hill behind is on the other side of the river. There are three
triangle-formed fields of prayer-flags and a tibetan prayer in the
middle, built og concrete charters. The hill is 300 meters high and
steep, but it is possible to scramble up through the flag-field or
towards the right outside the little farm visible on the picture.
Inhabitants of Tagong told that these flag-fields are built not only
for the sake of prayers, but also in order to look nice.
This is the front staircase of the temple inside the Tagong
monastery. The boys are helping carrying scaffolding to repaint the
This is part of the gangway surrounding the monastery, fitted with
prayer mills. Tibetans are walking around here, turning the mills.
When going around here, make sure you always walk clock-wise. It
takes about 15 minutes to walk round the monastery on the outside
and you will see many pilgrims going the same way.
This is the Tagong monastery as seen from the flag field on the hill
northwest of the town, about 100 meters above. Behind the monastery
is the central place with hotels and restaurant to the right. You
also see part of the gangway with its prayer mills.
This is part of the Tagong monastery with the prayer mills, as well
as the Stupa above town, seen from the west side of the river,
viewing east to northeast. Behind town is Yala Shan, a 5820m high
peak, about 20 km from town. The Tagong Grasslands (塔公草原) are behind
town. If you enter them from the town proper, you will not need to
pay an entrance fee. 500m up ortheast along the road is a new
monastery. Guards there will charge you an entrance fee of 10 RMB
fro climbing the hills. However, you may rent horses at this place,
and one trip is to a nunnery about 10 km north of town along the way
towards Bamei - Danba.
This is the new monastery west of the river in Tagong. A
triangle-shaped field of prayer flags has been erected on the hill
behind. Yaks and horses are often grazing on the grassy hills, even
now in winter. You reach this monastery by crossing the river. A
street bridge is located about 300m downstream from the ancient
Tagong monastery. Just follow a side road form the main road towards
west. From the river bridge, cross another small brook (you either
need boots or good balance to cross a very small pedestrian bridge),
then it is another 300m north to this monastery. You may continue
apath leading up the hill towards the right (outside of this
picture. The hills are 4050m high.
This temple and monastery is located about 500 m west of town, on
the other side of the river. Follow the road straight on from the
river bridge. It seems to be totally new. Prayer flags are hung from
cables from the top of the hill to the botton of the vally on the
other side. It is easy to clomb the hills from here. The dog in this
picture is one of the wild living dogs in town. He followed me all
day through the hills, but made no problems.
The new temple west of Tagong with fields of payer flags. The black
pig was roaming the area. You may follow aong the ridge of the
mountain. From the highest peak, about 4070m, you will see another
village, about 5 km northwest of Tagong and you may walk towards
there, passing grazing yaks and horses on your way.
Tagong seen from the top of the hill west of the city. The hill is
about at 3950m altitude, the town 3800m. Prayer flags are hung
across the valley from this hill to the hillside on the east side of
town. The large ancient monastery in the middle of the picture. Dead
people (monks?) are buried to the left of the monastery, and the
gangway along its outer edge is fitted with prayer mills.
Pedestrians may use a small bridge over the river to the right
outside the picture. A street bridge is about 300m further downriver
to the right. The monastery on the upper right is the place to rent
horses if you want a day ride on the grasslands.
This is a tibetan house in the village in a side valley about 5 km
northwest of Tagong. Yak-dung is fixed on the wall for drying, to be
used for fire. You reach this viallge by walking over the hills, or
along a dirt road west of the river passing Tagong.
The inner court of the temple just west of Tagong with lots of flags
during a festival.
A front door of a tibetan house near Tagong. Many doors and windows
in this area have wonderful paintings and carvings.