Maerkang: The Secret Area of Jiarong

Maerkang means “The Place Lightened by Butter Lamps” in Tibetan and it is the location for the TV show Dust Settled. It is located in Aba Prefecture, 365 km way from Chengdu. ... >>

Day1    Chengdu- Zhuokeji- Maerkang County

Recommended Attractions: Zhuokeji Headman's Official Mansion, Xisuo Folk Houses

 Zhuokeji Headman's Official Mansion

Zhuokeji Headman’s Official Mansion is the location of the TV show adapted from Alai’s novel of Dust Settled. In 1984, Salisbury, well-known American writer and Chief Editor of New York Time came to Maerkang and praised the mansion as the “Pearl in Oriental Architectural History”.
Zhuokeji Headman’s Official Mansion with its direction from north to south is a closed quadrangle courtyard with 4 blockhouses. With enormous scale, the architecture is tall and grand in design, ingenious in structure, and its design is blended with the ancient architectural arts of stone blockhouses of Jiarong Tibetan. The architecture is unique by its charming castle-style integrated with the architectural style of Han and Tibetan and with ideas of worldly and religious architectures. The Mansion is composed of East Building, West Building, South Building and North Building. The North Building is designed for family, West Building for headman, South Building for guests and North Building for religion. Each layer is constructed with a Han-style ambulatory decorated with Han-style lattice window and Jiarong-style paper-cut. The whole building, in column-and-tie construction, presents excellent architectural art without use of any nail and rivet.

 Xisuo Folk Houses

Xisuo Folk House is just separated from Zhuokeji by a river. It remains the traditional architectural style of the Jiarong ancestors “Building Houses with Stones”. Seeing from far, the stockaded village is well-proportioned on large scale, just like a closely guarded ancient castle. The flagstone roads crossing the village just like the “Auspicious Knot” in the eight treasures patterns of Tibetan. The red tiles, waving prayer flags, strange symbols and the sound of chant sutras just make the village more mysterious.
Wall of all folk houses are built by rubbles in a manner of internal straight and external constriction. The vertical face of stonewall is orderly with sharp corner angle and is narrow at the top and wide at the bottom. The whole wall is in a crush resistance state and is the main bearing part of the architecture. In addition, there is timberwork cross beam to support and pull each other in the side, and as the whole architecture is big at the top and small at the bottom with an inward center of gravity, the architecture is stable. In case of construction at the highest point, four corners of housing will be formed with an angle peak and the highest point of edge of stone wall will be thickened to avoid planarity on the wall and to enhance third dimension. Windows are small in the external but big in the internal and are decorated with sculptures and paintings with profound Rongjia characteristics on window frames. The top of housing is divided into two parts. The first half part is flat and surrounded by low walls in three sides; the second half part is of sloping-hill style and is covered with stone slabs or red tiles. From above in remote distance, the village is placed closely side by side in a well-proportioned order and with grand scale and seems like a closely guarded old castle. In the village, there are staggered blue flagstones paths which seem like "Lucky Know" (it looks like "Chinese Knot") in Tibetan Eight Precious Mascots pattern. Stone building with clear line and prominent corner angle is completely like a coherent entity with such natural environment as blue sky, white clouds, high mountains, flowing rivers, fields and forests.

Day2    Maerkang- Songgang Town- Dazang Temple

Overlook Ancient Blockhouses and Baisha Ancient Blockhouse and enjoy the scenery landscape of Longtou Beach and Kesha Folk House on the way, have lunch in Shaerzong Township, and arrive at Dazang Temple in the afternoon to visit one of the 108 temples of Tibetan Buddhism: Dazang Temple. Enjoy the alpine azaleas, snow and celestial burial platform on the mountain top.

Recommended Attraction: Dazang Temple

 Dazang Temple

Dazang Temple is located at Chunkou Village 108km away from Ma'erkang County in the north, and its full name is Dazang Longzhoulin meaning a temple for achievement of completeness of fatality. In 1381 AD, Awang Zhaba headed for Tibet to learn scriptures and formally acknowledge Lama Tsongkhapa as his teacher. After that, the master dispatched him to return his hometown to widely publicize Dge-lug-pa. When parting, the master sent him a string of beads with 108 beads. Awang Zhaba knew intuitively and swore to build 108 temples of Dge-lug-pa for Buddhism promotion. At the beginning of 1410 AD, Awang Zhaba returned Aba area from Lhasa and successively built Dge-lug-pa temples in today's Aba area, Ma'erkang and Heishui, etc. By 1414 AD, Dazang Temple, the 108th Dge-lug-pa temple, was built at Chunkou Village under full support and assistance of Lankaben, headman of Zhuokeji Headman’s Official Mansion. The temple became the second Buddhist temple in succession of Tibetan Gandan Monastery in the whole Tibetan area and was said to be the Holy Land of Six Arm Deity to make its presence or power felt.

Day3    Dazang Temple- Maerkang

Visit the First Blockhouse of China: Baisha Ancient Blockhouse; and then visit Songgang Headman’s Official Mansion Site and Songgang Ancient Blockhouses; have lunch in Baisha and have a get-together with Jiarong Tibetan.

Recommended Attractions: Songgang Town

 Songgang Town

Songgang is a secluded and mystical place and means "the official mansion at a col" in Jiarong Tibetan, and the town government is located at 2,540m altitude. From investiture administration to native chieftain system, Panre Family as a tribe of key political power has had jurisdiction of Songgang area, which is followed by descendants. In the 18th year in the reign of Emperor Qianlong in the Qing Dynasty, there was set with a Senior Office Authority and it is the always prosperous place of area of Zhuokeji, Songgang, Dangba and Suomo. Songgang has experienced a long history and has accumulated unique historic culture, cultural customs and natural scenery. Its headsman’s official mansion is a small Potala Palace and reserves excellent cultures, including Zhibo Blockhouses and relics of ancient city, stone inscription of ancient paths.

 Ma'erkang Temple

Ma'erkang Temple is located on Zangkou Mountain, Ma'erkang Town and belongs to Tibetan Buddhism Dge-lug-pa. Buddhism theory system found by Lama Tsongkhapa, founder of Dge-lug-pa of Ma'erkang Temple, is focused on practice order, knowable knowledge first and difficult knowledge second. Buddhists shall conform to principle of "deeply respecting religious disciplines", "promoting ascetic practices" to cut off worldly distracting thoughts and they won't marry a wife or drink alcohol or destruct lives. A prayer meeting will be held on the third day of lunar January of each year and will last for 15 days. At this time, all Buddhists of all villages within the domain will participate in the large-scale and extraordinary sutras chanting.

Day4    Maerkang-Chengdu

Go through the Suomo River Gorge; enjoy the hot spring at Gu’er Valley at noon and arrive in Chengdu in the afternoon.

Recommended Attraction: Suomo River Canyon

 Suomo River Canyon

"Suomo" means "Comb of the Emperor" in Tibetan and is famous for Suomo Headman's Official Mansion. With the length of 91km and vertical altitude difference of 890m, the beautiful and long Suomo River Canyon extends from the foot of Zhegu Mountain and the intersection of Shuama Intersection to Rezu of Baiwan Township. Cliffs at both sides are steep with beautiful scenery Mosuo River flowing through the bottom of the canyon to connect all scenery together. Mosuo River Canyon is accessible and tourists can enjoy scenery in four seasons, like flowers in spring, green scenery in summer, red maple leaves in autumn and snow in winter.


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