Daocheng Yading: Holy mountains where snow never melts
Updated 19:50, 02-Oct-2019

"In a cloudless sky before me rose the peerless pyramid of Jambeyang, the finest mountain my eyes ever beheld." This is what Joseph F. Rock, a famous American explorer, wrote in his article "Konka Risumgongba, Holy Mountain of the Outlaws," which was published in National Geographic in July of 1931. It was the first time that Daocheng Yading was introduced to the world.

Daocheng Yading is a scenic area that spreads across two places in southwest China's Sichuan Province. Daocheng is a county of Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture with beautiful scenery, including a white tower. It is also considered a buffer area before visitors go into Yading, a national level reserve, about a 1.5-hour drive from the county.

Yading means "a place towards the sun." It is famous for Nianqing Konka Risumgongba, translated as "three protective sacred mountains where the snow will never melt" in Tibetan. All of them are holy mountains in Tibetan Buddhism. 

The highest mountain, Xiannairi, has an altitude of 6,032 meters above sea level. The name (Shenrezig in Tibetan) represents a bodhisattva of compassion. The peak of Xiannairi is covered with snow and ice all year round. When Joseph F. Rock saw these snow peaks and stunning views, he wrote "the Shenrezig peak resembles a huge white throne, such as Living Buddhas use when meditating, a worthy seat for a Tibetan deity!"

The second and third mountains both stand at an altitude of 5,959 meters above sea level. Mount Yangmaiyong (Jambeyang in Tibetan) represents the bodhisattva of wisdom. It has the shape of a pyramid, while mount Yanaiduoji (Chanadorje in Tibetan) represents the bodhisattva of wrath.

Many explorers have gone to Daocheng Yading seeking to climb the mountain peak after Joseph introduced Daocheng Yading to the world through his words and photos. However, it was a big challenge for most explorers to see the breathtaking views of Daocheng Yading because of its high altitude and steep slopes. Until this day, no one has been able to reach the highest peak.

(Cover image a still from the video)

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