Situated at an altitude of more than 4,000 m, Litang is one of the highest settlements of the world. In contrast to our previous stop Ganzi, the town lies within a broad valley with wide grasslands full of yaks and marmots. At the time of our visit, major construction works were underway with nearly all streets turned into rivers of mud!
Litang is dominated by the impressive Chöde Gompa, a large monastery established in the 16th century. It is possible to follow the pilgrim’s circuit around the complex enabling great views of the city and the valley. The hills behind the monastery are used for traditional sky burials in which the bodies of the deceased are offered to vultures! Nowadays, these ceremonies can be attended even by tourists and we were asked to see it by the owner of our hotel! However, I think that funerals – conducted in whatever mode – should not become a tourist attraction and therefore we decided not to participate… Instead, we visited the town’s markets, Baita Gongyuan with its massive prayer wheels, and the birthplace of the 7th Dalai Lama in the Old Town of Litang – much more enjoyable attractions, I believe!
On our last day in Litang, we wanted to hike to a couple of hot springs some distance outside town. However, before we could reach them, a car with a friendly Chinese guy stopped and offered to take us for a ride through the countryside. Together we explored the beautiful grasslands surrounding Litang which were covered in millions of flowers – a really beautiful sight!
Eventually, we left muddy Litang and started our slow descent from the Tibetan Plateau. The bus took us along winding roads through the mountains of western Sichuan (for a map of our trip click here). Our destination was Tagong, a sleepy village close to the border with Mainland China.
You can read about our adventures in tiny Tagong in the following post!