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Qinghai-Tibet Railway has been the holy road for pilgrims heading to Tibet

Time:2013-04-18By: CherrySource: peoplerail.com

Tunnel on Qinghai-Tibet Railway

The number of pilgrims heading to Tibet by the Tibet trains keeps increasing recent years after the Qinghai-Tibet Railway was put into operation in 2006. Devout pilgrims in Qinghai Province, Gansu Province and Sichuan Province take a large part of the passengers on the train running on Qinghai-Tibet Railway in different seasons. It is reported that the pilgrims take a pretty large proportion in the passengers on Tibet train in winter.

The Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Tashilhunpo Monastery are higly respected as holy places in Tibet by pilgrims from different corners of the world. Lhasa is even noted as the Holy City by Tibetans. It is an ancient tradition to head to Lhasa by walking or even kowtowing for the religious pilgrims in different regions in Tibet or over domestic provinces. Some of the devout pilgrims have to spend months or even years to finish the pilgrimage to Lhasa. It only takes dozens of hours to get to Lhasa from Xining, Lanzhou or other domestic cities.

According to statistics provided by the government of Tibet Autonomous Region, Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Norbu Lingka in Lhasa received 0.328 million pilgrims in 2006, in which year the Qinghai-Tibet Railway was opened to traffic. That number of pilgrims increased 62,000 compared to that of 2005. In the May 1st golden week, Norbu Lingka received 73,000 visitors in total, among which about 40,000 are pilgrims from different corners. A large number of these pilgrims came to Lhasa by the Tibet trains and the lamas with red kasaya became outstanding scenery on the train. At the same time, there is also a number of Tibetans would like to take the train to Taer Monastery in Qinghai Province or Labrang Monastery in Gansu Province for pilgrimage.

It is reported that around 1.5 million tourists made a Tibet tour chose to enter into Tibet by train in the first 12 months of Qinghai-Tibet Railway's operation. The number of train passengers took about 50 percent number of visitors in Tibet between July 1st, 2006 and July 1st, 2007. Statistics also show that Tibet received more than 3 million visitors in 2007.

The world famous Qinghai-Tibet Railway makes the Tibetan culture spread to the other regions in China and enhanced the cultural communication between Tibetan and other nationalities in China. The experts said that the Tibetan culture could only get heritage and development in the cultural interaction. The operation of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway greatly cut the cost of cultural exchange.

Heading to Tibet along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, tourists and pilgrims could enjoy the amazing natural picture composed of blue sky, green grassland, high mountains and running wild animals. In earlier years, some people are worried that the Qinghai-Tibet Railway will destroy the ecological environment on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, but recent researches show that ecological environment on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is well preserved and the number of Tibetan antelopes even increased recent years. In fact, a series of measures had been adopted for the ecological protection and plant recovery along Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

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