Gansu and Gannan (South Gansu)
Gansu is a province located in the northwest of the People's Republic of China. It lies between Qinghai, Inner Mongolia, and the Huangtu plateaus, and borders Mongolia to the north and Xinjiang to the west. The Yellow River passes the southern part of the province. Gannan (South Gansu) is the Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, where Lanzhou & Xiahe are located. The famous attractions are Labrang Monastery and Langmu Monastery.
Xiahe & Labrang Monastery
is a tiny, bustling town nestles in a mountain valley at an elevation of 2,900m in Ganan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, southwest Gansu. The town was divided into two sections, primarily Hui (Muslim) and Han Chinese at its eastern end, changing abruptly to a Tibetan town as you climb westward to the gorgeous gilded roofs of the vast Labrang Monastery. Bent and walnut-visaged Tibetan pilgrims make you welcome on the 3km circuit around the monastery's perimeter.
It is not just the amazing sights of the Labrang Monastery and the Sangke Grassland that will enamour you with Xiahe, but also the vibrant atmosphere. The locals and nomads in the village live a laid-back lifestyle. The population here is made up of 45% Tibetan, 45% Han and 10% Hui, making this a good place to behold monks in bright purple, yellow and red, nomads clad in sheepskins, and the Hui Muslims with skull caps and wispy beards. The town is also a thoroughfare for inbound pilgrims from Qinghai and Tibet.
Located in the southern part of Gansu, part of the traditional Tibetan province of Amdo. It is one of the six major monasteries of the Gelukpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet, and the most important one in Amdo. Built in 1710, it is headed by the Jamyang-zhaypa. It has 6 dratsang (colleges), and houses over sixty thousand religious texts and other works of literature as well as other cultural artifacts.
In Langmu, in the south of Gansu, there is a monastery which is divided into two parts by the Bailongjiang River, one half belonging to Sichuan and the other to Gansu. It has two Tibetan monasteries and two schools. The Tibetans who live in Langmu Monastery share the living habits in daily life and often also the religious activities. Langmu means “fairy” in Tibetan language. The Monastery got its name because inside the cave there is a rock bearing the resemblance of a beautiful young lady which was believed to be a transformation of a fairy. Langmusi is an ideal destination for the backpackers, quiet and picturesque.