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Published: September 23rd 2008
The rain had finally finished as we left Zhongdian and we started the hellish journey to Litang to see the Tibetean horse festival. And I think hellish bus journey is an understatement. I think the bus nearly went over the cliff side a million times on the sharp hill turns on the way to Litang. It was literally painful to watch and scary! As we worked our way up the mountains all I could think of was how will they take my body back to Australia? But we actually made it and after a pit stop in Xiangcheng we arrived in the very traditional town of Litang. The town was great if was extremly tibetean and there were no banks or western facilities. We stayed in a newly built hostel which was great. We shared an 8 dorm bed with a French woman, English man, Israli and a few Chinese people. It was a great feel in the hotel and everyone talked in the lounge area. When the festival started the town got extremly extremly busy. All of the tibeteans or the no mans came from the countryside and congrigated in this paddock area and set up tents and horse stations.
The horses were dressed in bright colours and looked amazing.
The festival highlights
- The start of the festival started with the wild and I mean wild uncontrolled running of the horse which basically meant horse would run through the crowds as the Tibetean cowboys would scream at the top of their voices. It was so uncontroled it was unbelievable.
- The tibetean traditional dancing was amazing. All the men and women dressed up and preformed their traditional dances all afternoon and the weather was perfect and it made a good atmosphere. Look at the pictures to see how awesome they looked.
- Celebrating a British dudes birthday and having traditional tibetean music sang to us.
We saw a sky burial which was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. What happens is the monk is presented with a dead person (yes you see the person). He then takes him to a section of the mountain where the vultures are swooping and flying around above. Next the monk does his ceremony on the body and then you see him skin and chop the human body up. THis releases a smell for
the vultures who then come in and begin to eat the body. Once enough of the flesh of the body is eaten the monk then gathers the remaining pieces of body and bone and uses the axe handle to grind it with some special powder and then the vultures eat the rest.The vultures were enormous they looked like sheep and they looked amazing. It wasn't gross like it sounds it was really stunning the way the whole ceremony is conducted and how much sense it all makes. It was yes just amazing.
After a few days of amazing Litang we left on our way through this horrible horrible horrible road to Kangding city.
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