The Tibetan Highway to

Ni Shu Shangqiaotou and Dong Zhu Lin

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  The highest point of our trip, 3800m.  The Tibetan Highway, a succession of switchbacks & hairpin bends had deteriorated to a narrow road barely wide enough for vehicles to pass.  Our driver blasted his horn at every bend to warn of our approach.   A steady stream of trucks passed on their way from Tibet.  We did not stop for photo ops!
We were relieved to find ourselves on the inside track,   covering our eyes when overtaking slow moving truck or buses with more fainthearted drivers.  Having been to the very brink of the precipice we broke into spontaneous applause when we realize we were safely past

The burned out vehicles of others less fortunate littered the valley below

 

 

Ni Shu Shangqiaotou Village

A small prosperous looking village on the banks of the Snow River. Traditional Tibetan homes accommodate animals on the ground level, the family on the second and sleeping quarters on the third floor.   Less traditionally, satellite dishes sat beside prayer flags on the roof

We visited the family of Mrs Long Hongying who runs a cottage industry from her rooftop studio.  She makes the beautifully decorated bowls we have seen all over Yunnan 

All her finished bowls were sold and her agent came to collect them while we were there

As well as the beautiful pots our hostess also makes great wheat pancakes
The bridge crosses the river to a memorial for Red Army soldiers who died in a skirmish with Kampars  during the Long March
The village, (my idea of Shangri-La) is near the colourful confluence of 'Snow' and 'Golden Sand Rivers

Combined they will flow through Tiger Leaping Gorge to become the mighty Yangtze

The Yellow Hat Monastery of Dong zhu lin

Yellow hat is the predominant Buddhist order in Tibet.  The Dalai and Panchen lamas are members of this sect

The monastery seemed deserted, a lone monk sweeping in the pouring rain and a handful of others taking shelter around the temple courtyard

 In the temple preparations  for a ceremony were in hand

Within minutes the entrance to the temple was full of monks, once again our timing was serendipitous
 

The Lama graciously allowed us to observe from the doorway.  The chanting, drumming and cymbals were hypnotising but we proved to be a distraction for the younger monks

 

 
To the left of the Buddah is a photo of the 11th Panchen Lama   Gedhun Choekyi Nyima.  Identified by the Dalai Lama at the age of 6 he has been missing since shortly after being named in May 1995
 

As quickly as they arrived they took off, leaving us somewhat disappointed that we had not see them wearing their distinctive yellow hats
 The Lama who lead the worship came to our rescue,  at his bidding this photogenic young monk donned his hat for just a few seconds before whisking it off and running away laughing
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