, a land of diversity and contrasts, boasts sublime natural splendor. In this land, futuristic metropolises like Shanghai
coexisting with secluded villages.
Tucked away in the valley of Kanas River, Xinjiang, the westernmost frontier province of China, Tuwa Village(图瓦村)
is a lost Shangri-La
with untouched nomadic lifestyle, postcard-perfect scenery and sensational customs. Together with The Old Town of Lijiang
, Wuyuan, Zhaoxing Dong Village
, Hani Village in Red River(Yunnan
province) and Danba Tibet
an Village in Sichuan
, they are renowned as China Top Six Picturesque Villages
Populated at around 2,000, Tuwa tribe, the indigenous inhabitants of Tuwa Village, are carefree wine-obsessed nomads. Content with hunting and animal husbandry, they spend a 5-month long balmy summer in the forests or grasslands and a 7-month long winter within their wooden huts by drinking, a most popular pastime, among both gender and all ages.
|Tuva Village nestles in a valley area 3km from the southern shore of Kanas Lake|
The origin of this mysterious tribe remains vague. Some hold that they are the heirs of Genghis Khan. Sick and disabled, they settled down in this remote valley over five centuries ago. Others state that they were Russian immigrants. No matter which is true, these happy Tuwa people do not bother about their history at all.
From attires, cuisine, language, lifestyles, folklore tradition and festivals to residential houses, everything in this village are true to their past and retain their original nature. A stroll along this village will award you with eye-pleasing and awe-inspiring vistas. Fringed with rows of pine trees or birches nearby and framed by soaring snow-capped peaks in the distance, Tuwa Village never fail to trigger a sense of serenity, romance and fantastic enchantment. It is a one of the few places you can seek peaceful contemplation and experience unique tribal lifestyle.
Their wooden houses with sharply pointed roofs, are encircled by rows of fences. They bear great similarity to that of Switzerland. Take a panoramic view, you can see this village is crisscrossed with 127 fences, which defines natural boundaries and foster a sense of belonging. Both man and horses and cattle, follow settled trails to their enclosures within the fences.
Horse riding is the most popular transportation means, and a must-learn skill.
What to Eat
Palatable specialties offered by this languid village are one of the most enduring memories of your stopover here. Local cuisine mirrors a fusion of Mongolian and Tibetan influences. Diet is meat-based, with milk tea and a variety of dairy products including milk tea and yogurt served as side dishes. Notice that visitors are expected to drink at least two cups of milk tea here, or Tuwa people will feel offended or belittled.
If you see two Tuwa people fighting, just stand by. Tuwa people, just like the medieval knights in the old continent, will fight for honor, though not necessary at all cost. Outsiders’ kind help will be viewed as a sign of disrespect.
Winter in northwest China is lengthy and chilly cold. It will seal villages with heavy layers of snow and cut off them from the outside world for 7 months per year. Aware of this fact, it is not difficult to see why Tuwa people have evolved into helpless cheery drunkards. It is estimated that villagers in Tuwa can consume 45 ton of wine per year. On average, two and half a bottle of wine is imbibed by one person everyday.
Aobao Worship Ceremony
Tuwa people share the same ceremony with the Mongols. Aobao Worship Ceremony
, the grandest ancestor worship ritual of the Mongols, is staged by Tuwa people annually also. This ritual is precluded with a solemn ritual performed by Lamas and monks, be carried on with offerings and endless circle around Aobao, their open-air monastery made of a heap of stones and colorful banners and culminated with feasting. It is a common sight to see drunkards during this festival, that is how this village wins the nickname: "Homeland of Wine."
Posted by Sophia on Sep 2, 2013