Chabcha (Gonghe)

Panchen Lama Memorial Stupa Gonghe

Among the grasslands of Qinghai province, sitting in its own valley, lies the ever growing town of Chabcha (ཆབ་ཆ།). Known in Mandarin as Gonghe (共和县), this prefectural capital of Hainan has everything from crowded markets to beautiful landscapes and over the years has become a center point for transportation and goods due to its geographical proximity to many other attractive locations.

To the north of Chabcha, you can see the edge of Lake Qinghai, the largest fresh water lake on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau and a popular grazing location for local nomadic herders. Nomadic practices were historically predominant and spread throughout most of Asia. These grasslands were perfect for raising livestock as opposed to growing crops in an unsuitable terrain. It is thought that because of these grasslands, the nomadic populations of the region were able to occupy and colonize the area much earlier than other parts of Asia. Among the grasslands above, you can still find many nomads camping and raising livestock.

Surrounding the town are several monasteries and temples, including the Panchen Lama Memorial Stupa. Here the monks have started selling butter candles to both pilgrims and tourists alike, as a source of income. These efforts were put in place to fund efforts to increase international tourism and have since been very helpful. Not far from here you can also find the Jiayi Temple as well.

One of the most notable locations in the area is the branch campus of Qinghai Normal University. Founded in 1956, QHNU has become one of the key universities at the provincial level in China with major focuses on Science and Liberal Arts. Since then the university has established 2 more colleges, 14 departments, a research institute, and 3 branch locations, including the site in Chabcha (Gonghe). It is very common for students to begin their education at this site before moving on to finish their degrees at the university’s main campus.

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