A change in our palates with the hotpot dinner, stunning landscapes on our road trip, a well spent evening in Garzê.
Breakfast in Garzê
Garzê is at an altitude of 3475 meters and at breakfast we saw that it had snowed in the mountains through the night.
Today the plan was to drive to Tagong via Luhuo, stop for lunch at Daofu, total driving distance of 268km. The Tibetan village of Tagong with its grasslands are gorgeous; at an altitude of 3718 meters and reminded us of Moreh plains in Ladakh just that Tagong was greener.
We first stopped for magnificent views of the Kasa Lake. Kevin spotted the lake from the mountain top and then we drove down the mountains to a little closer. As we descended and drove some Tibetan villages, we stopped at a nearby car wash and spoke to the owners (translated by Kevin of course). He had spent some time in India.
The drive was now beside the Daqu river. Soon we were approaching lunchtime and turned left taking a detour to the town of Daofu. As we crossed the bridge to enter the town from the highway, we could see the entire mountainside filled with crypts. Kevin told us that they were Tibetan graves.
We parked our vehicle in an empty parking lot and entered a Sichuan eatery. But then suddenly, we spotted the Nikya Café on the other side of the road and made our way there. The owner, Gedun thrilled to meet us started reminiscing about his time in India. He was a Tibetan who had completed his education in India. On learning that we were from Kolkata, he started speaking of his time in St Paul’s in Darjeeling. The sandwiches and coffee were scrumptious; Kevin had ordered a mango lassi and barley rolls, which were too filling for him and he packed them to go.
Reaching Tagong Grasslands
We were about 110 km from the Tagong Grasslands, so we drove on through mountain roads amidst stunning landscapes and Tibetan villages.
You can tell that Tagong is approaching with the mountainside covered by prayer flags.
We stopped at the grasslands and climbed up the stairs to see the holy Mount Yala or Yalacuo, imposing and jagged at 5,820 meters. It was teeming with Chinese tourists but then we did get some splendid views.
On the road, we literally saw mountains of mani stones carved with the sacred mantra – Om Mani Padme Hum. As we stood there marveling and absorbing this all-pervasive spirituality, a couple of young guys drove up in a car and tried to sell the supposed herbal aphrodisiac yarsagumba.
We then drove to the Akezhuoba boutique hotel, run by the Tibetan couple. Sanjay is an resourceful young man and and runs several business ventures .
He gave his best suite; delighted to meet Indians;even the toilet was painted in a golden color!
He told us of his time in Dharamshala, India. For dinner, Kevin and Sanjay surprised us with their version of the hotpot and it was great going .We followed this up with the AKDB brand of liquor another one of Sanjay’s enterprises.
We planned to visit the Tagong monastery and the Muya village next morning before we drove to Jiaju. For now , we sunk into the warm cozy soft beds in the Akezhuoba suite warmly lit by the faux fire place.