|Heaven on earth
Xiahe is a little town named after the river Xia that runs alongside the town. The town is actually split into two. One part is Muslim the other Tibetan Buddhist. The great thing is that both sides live alongside each other in harmony. We¡¯d wish this town was a role model for the rest of the planet. The main attraction in town is the Tibetan Labrang Monestary and the Pilgrim path around it.
Tibetan Buddhists flok here from all over china. Like Muslims do in Mecca, the Buddhist here have to fulfil a set of rituals. One is waling the pilgrim path around the monastery. The path, 3 kilometres in length contains over a thousand prayers wheels and all have to be swung. The other ritual is more intense. It means bending down to the floor and touch earth with five points of the body; the hands, the knees, the feet, the elbows and the head. If you think this easy you should know that these people do it more then 2000!! Times a day over a period of 2 months!! Even more surprising is the age of the people we see this doing. One lady look older then 80! We are amazed to see her crawling through the dust as if her live depends on it. A younger women, around 30, has more problems fulfilling the ritual then most older ones. The big mac generation we joke but still think its incredible.
We spent the whole day on the pilgrim path. The colourful dresses, the monks, the smiling people, the monasteries, the beautiful mountains and the rituals make this a place heaven on earth!
The evening we spent with two dutchies, Paul and Anne from The Hague. We haven¡¯t met many dutchies along the road and exchange stories. They also came overland from Pakistan and have met the same people as we did. As there aren¡¯t many travellers here it not a coincidence but great to hear their stories. Till late in the evening we chat in the snowland restaurant and then head back to the hotel¡.