Little Lhasa: Chengdu's Tibetan Quarter
|Little Lhasa: Chengdu's Tibetan Quarter|
To many, Chengdu is the gateway to Tibet. The Tibetan influence is especially strong in the southwest of the city, in close proximity to the tourist-swarmed Jin Li Street and Wuhou Temple.
Chengdu's Tibetan QuarterThe Tibetan Quarter, better known as Little Lhasa, is an attraction of its own for those visiting Chengdu. Once there, you will find yourself surrounded by rows after rows of Tibetan restaurants, craft shops, temples and shacks selling colorful prayer flags and glittering accessories. The main attraction here, however, are the Tibetans themselves - tall, dark, and rugged - dutifully dressed in their distinctive traditional garments. Most of them have a string of beads on one hand, and a Mani-Chos-'Khor, a prayer wheel, on the other.
|An elderly man swinging the Mani-Chos-'Khor clockwise to accumulate wisdom and to improve karma|
Tibetans: The Most Beautiful People on EarthI am in love with everything Tibetan. Despite rapid modernization, they still practice and respect customs that have been taught and passed down to them through generations - a trait that perhaps made the race so acclaimed by the world. Single girls still have their hair nearly braided into a single plait, while those whom are married have theirs braided into two. Men have amulets tied to their belt loops. Children are taught to meditate in monasteries at a very young age. Respect and devotion to the religion is still emphasized. People are selflessly caring, loving, and they never fail to greet those who cross their paths with the warmest smile.
|A young Tibetan monk - partly cheeky, partly camera-shy|
|A woman with her hair braided into two - symbolizing that she is married|
|Both children and adults alike enjoy idling on the streets|
Mysterious Tibetan CultureThe Tibetans are proud of their age-long traditions, and are very well aware that foreigners are attracted to their perplexing and unusual origin. From their costumes to their skilfully crafted artifacts, everything related to the Tibetans are one of a kind and awe-inspiring. Thanks to the uniqueness, prices of the things sold in the Tibetan Quarter are normally over-inflated. While you are clearly conscious about this, you do not mind being overcharged for things you know you would not be able to find elsewhere in the world.
Shopping tips: Bargain. Offer to pay half the price the vendor quoted. Can't speak mandarin? Use the calculator on your phone. The same piece of charm or bracelet can be sold at ¥50 at a shop and ¥5 at the one just next to it.
|A shop selling impressive handwoven tapestries depicting gods and ancient warriors|
|Talismans sold on the streets to provide protection and good luck to those donning them|
|Mother and children at a game of badminton in the middle of a crowded street|
|A Tibetan nun on her phone|
Tibet may not be located very far from Chengdu, but it is an amazing experience getting a taste of the region in this very part of China. For related travel stories, click here.
西藏街区 (Xīzàng Jiēqū)
Wuhouci Cross Street, Wuhou District
Take Bus No. 1 from Tianfu Square on the west side of Renmin Nan Lu. Get off at Wuhouci Stop (after six stops)