An agricultural region dotted with big, beautiful Tibetan houses, Dawu (རྟའུ།) lies in the Garzê Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in northwestern Sichuan Province, China. Dawu, known as Daofu (道孚) in the Chinese language, is accessible by road from Kangding (219 kilometers) and Chengdu (585 kilometers). Daofu region lies at an average altitude of 2,560 meters above sea level at the southeastern edge of Qingzang Plateau. It is nestled between the counties of Kangding and Yajiang to the south, Xinlong to the west, and Jinchuan, Zamtang, and Luhuo to the north. It is known for its high-quality Tibetan architecture displayed in its folk houses as well as furniture.
Traditional Daofu Folk Houses
In Daofu, Tibetans have built their houses on mountains surrounded by green woods. These rows upon rows of white and brown houses are built with wood, stone, and earth. Apart from the white exterior walls, the houses have a gold-painted roof that shines brightly under the sun. The roof is constructed in shape similar to the Chinese character “井”. The window frames and eaves of the houses are intricately carved with complex, amazing patterns of dragons, phoenixes, giraffes, cranes, flowers, birds, and clouds.
The interior of the houses consist of spacious and bright rooms providing a comfortable living environment. Representing a folk art museum, exquisite and classic Tibetan paintings are adorned on the doors, girders, pillars, and walls. Adding to this, hand-carved, colorful Tibetan furniture and décor add a unique charm to the rooms. Every Tibetan house has a meditation room, which is decorated with Thangka and colorful lights, and Buddhist sculptures surrounded by pretty flowers. The rooms carry a relaxing aroma in the air to reinforce the meditation process.
These Tibetan houses are built close to the rivers and mountains facing east towards the sun so that they are cool in summer and warm in winter. Because of the solid, simple structure of the houses, they are also earthquake resistant. In Daofu today, these Tibetan villas on the hills stand together with modern hotels, shops, and restaurants downtown.
Referred to as ‘Double Wonder’, the local Tibetan residential houses display the rich ethnic culture of Daofu and their local customs. Even the local Daofu food is very different from Chinese regions and has traditional rich flavor.
Nique Gompa Monastery
Located at the center of town, Nique Gompa belongs to the Geluk sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It offers a good vantage point of the three sacred mountains in the surrounding area. It was built in 1662 and houses famous sculptures made from Highland Barley Butter (tsampa).