carte jour 9
Abstract=We follow the Brahmaputra and a side valley up to Oka Dz and Dzinchi G. Backward, we visit Sangri G then enter the Yon chu valley and visit Kharu G before turning back to Tsetang.

The Tibetan city is in the E of the Chinese one and a few kilometers further, at the top of a hill on the left of the road, is the monastery of Sangri which we pass without stopping, as it is not opened to the public yet. We follow the northern bank of the Brahmaputra up to the village of Tro. Then we leave the Brahmaputra and go up a broad valley towards the N. The valley is cultivated in places and we cross several hydro-electric units along the Oka chu river. At the Tibetan village of Oka built around the ruins of old Dzong, the valley is divided into 2 branches and we take the one of the left, heading due north. The valley is rather broad with occasional cultivations along the side of the river.

We cross several small Tibetan villages before arriving at a more significant small village. After the first houses on the Eastern of the village we discover the monastery of Dzinchi gompa. This old 10th century Kadampa monastery became Gelugpa.

There are 2 halls of which the first contains old half erased paintings before the principal entry of Dukhang and behind this one there is a large square room containing the statues of the 8 Buddhas and a significant statue of Maitreya.

We go back to the valley until Oka and we follow the valley towards the N-E. We discover the monasteries of Chölung and of Chusang which are very small and located half way up the slope, one kilometer from the road, in the southern direction, on the other side of the river. We approach a group of Tibetans who inform us that they are closed and that the monks are away. I take pictures with the telephoto lens. And as there is no more monasteries to visit in this valley we turn back.

We go down the valley again.

We recross the village of Oka surmounted by the ruins of its old dzong. At a few kilometers, past this village, we stop in front of a small building without a roof which encloses a small basin where a gush of hot water spouts out.

The hot water springs are very welcome by Tibetans because they are the only places where they can have baths. Contrary to preconceived ideas, Tibetans wash daily and Olivier noticed that our guide and our driver washed their hair every day regardless of the water temperature.

On the back road we stop at Sangri monastery which is at the top of a small hill dominating the valley. We have to climb a small sinuous path (a hundred meters high) before reaching the entrance gate.

We cross a couryard then a second and a third.
A staircase gives way to a terrace and a small temple.

This temple appears very old. It looks a little like the interior of Yumbulhakang lhakang which we plan to visit later.

We are present at the meeting of two lamas. In spite of the difference of cultures and our knowledge, one can perceives intelligence behind these glances. These people have acquired great knowledge in esoteric and religious fields which are of little interest to us Westerners. But real knowledge has value only if it is built on solid bases. The quality of their knowledge is perhaps not as ridiculous as certain people, so ready to criticize, declare. The tibetologists who have the occasion to debate with great value lamas were always impressed by the extent of their knowledge and their humility. We have a similar experience when we are in the company of some eminent professors in our Universities.

Before leaving the temple we linger to contemplate a splendid panorama and a series of old chortens which dominate the valley of the Brahmaputra. We take again to the road, pass Sangri, the Brahmaputra and go back to the road of Tsetang. Ten kms further we recross the Brahmaputra toward a northern valley.

After the bridge, on our right, on the top of a hill, we can distinguish the ruins of the old monastery of Ngari Tratsang gompa which dominates the plain. From its top there is a fabulous view of Tsetang and the entry of the valley of Yarlung chu.

The wide valley of Yon chu opens towards the North. We see Tashi Doka gompa half way up the slope, on the other side of the valley, We travel up this valley on the western bank. We pass several villages before reaching the village of Samkhar. A further and 5 km and we reach the 8th century Kharu gompa monastery, just before Gyelsang.

We go through two courtyards then enter in the temple. The Jowo lhakhang, preceding the Dukhang contains a large statue of Buddha surrounded by 8 Boddhisatvas nearly as big. It is told that the king and its ministers were used as models. Most of the paintings are original. It's magic!
On the right-hand side, there is another courtyard. Past the kitchen on the right, another small temple called Katang Chugong containing a white chorten.
The monks offer us some Tibetan tea and tsampa. They tell us that Chödung G and Samtenling G are in ruins up on the heights, and not accessible by car. We return and stop a few km lower down to the Totzik chorten we had passed without seeing it.

We go down the Yon chu valley. We recross the bridge on the Brahmaputra river and take the direction of Tsetang on the right. We pass one or two more villages before the first houses of Tsetang.
The hotel booked is, as in Bayi, a Chinese establishment but with unpleasant people. The guide would like to change. We don't move. In fact, the guide and the driver try to negotiate for the price of our room a free room for them or a room for four. The Agency gave them enough money to settle in cash our expenditure and they are obliged to keep receipts of all expenses. So, they try to get receipts with lower figures. The Chinese at the reception desks realize this and refuse to enter this kind of bargain, especially for the benefit of Tibetans, because Chinese and Tibetans hate each other. The price of our room remains at the full price and they have to seek another hotel. Here, if all seems luxurious, all is dirty, the reason is that cleaning with the floorcloth is always partial. The preceding spots remain and new ones are added to them. Hot water is available only once a day as the day falls, which is common in all China and Tibet.

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