After a long day driving through Sichuan province, we arrived at the entrance of Jiaju, where we had to buy an entrance ticket for this traditional Tibetan village. Since our last hours had been in darkness, we were surprised to find a lady dressed in traditional costume. Moreover, her appearance, face and body, was completely different from the people we had seen so far. We had met our first Khampa woman, sitting silently on a couch watching TV. Pretty soon, we would see more colourfully dressed Khampas, both men and women; the higher up we went, the deeper we would go into Kham territory.
We saw more Khampa Tibetans the next day in that village, and many more on our way more into Kham province. The Khampas are known to be taller than other Tibetans, they are fierce warriors, good horsemen and independent - apparently, Khampas escorted the Dalai Lama fleeing out of Tibet in the early 1950s. On a crossroads in the countryside, next to an extensive new temple, we came across several Khampas, among which some wild looking men with cowboy hats who quickly drove their horses past us. It gave an impression of the ability of the Khampas on horses, which surely they must have been using for centuries.
In their traditional dresses, the Khampas look beautiful. Especially the women wear unique jewellery, mostly silver with colourful stones. Both in men and women, red seems to be the dominant colour, perfectly contrasting with their thick, black hair. One of the places to go in Kham to see traditional Khampas is of course any Tibetan temple. Here, in the serenity of a religious house, you can see up close the faces of the people, worn out because of the harsh climate and the difficult conditions under which they live, in a windswept and generally cold climate.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Khampa Tibetans (China). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Khampa Tibetans. Read more about this site.