Appreciating Nature in Rutog
Rutog County is the home of famous Pangong Lake. Long and narrow, just like the long neck of a swan winding among the mountains, its name in fact means "a long-necked swan" in the Tibetan language. Situated between the Karakorum Mountains and the Gangdise Mountains, the lake extends from Rutog County in the east to India's Kashmir in the west. What is amazing is that the part of the lake in China is a freshwater lake abundant in fish and shrimp and an important breeding ground for a variety of birds, but the part in India contains brackish water where only shrimp survive.
Pangong Lake is a paradise for birds. There are countless seagulls, wild ducks and other species of birds either hunting for food near, or playing on, the water. The interesting thing is that they are not afraid of humans at all; only when visitors get as close as one meter away do they slowly take wing. The lake teems with a kind of scale-less carp and it is also home for some other precious species of fish currently under national protection.
The cliff paintings are another major attraction in Rutog; they are mainly found in an area within 200 to 300 square kilometers east and south of Pangong Lake. An archeological expert in rock art told me that the images in Rutog are on a large scale and of high artistic value. The images, engraved with sharp tools and featuring strong but unsophisticated lines, bold figures and simple, bright colors, mainly reflect daily life on the plateau in ancient times, including hunting, sacrificial rites, herding, farming, dancing and fighting.
Wandering on the streets of Rutog Town, seat of Rutog County, I felt the same tranquility as I felt in other towns of Ngari. In the open air of the roadside were rows of billiard tables. Traditional yak-head trophies loom over the front doors of every household while ceramic tiled floors show the domestic adoption of modern conveniences. Telecom and bank buildings are the most imposing structures in the town, but at the gate of a large modern bank, I saw a local herder tie his horse to a tree before heading inside. The charm of these borderlands is both geographical and social.
Wang Ying is a travel lover, photographer and freelance writer.
Copyright © 1997-2009 by www.people.com.cn. all rights reserved