Amdo (Tibetan: ཨ༌མདོ [ʔam˥˥.to˥˥]; Chinese: 安多; pinyin: Ānduō [antwó]) is one of the three traditional regions of Tibet, the other two being Ü-Tsang and Kham; it is also the birthplace of the 14th Dalai Lama. Amdo encompasses a large area from the Machu (Yellow River) to the Drichu (Yangtze).[nb 1] In the Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE), Qinghai Lake was called the West Sea (Chinese: 西海; pinyin: Xī Hǎi), and substantial numbers of Han Chinese lived in the Xining valley.[2] While historically, culturally, and ethnically a Tibetan area, Amdo was administered by a series of local rulers since the mid-18th century and the Dalai Lamas have not governed the area directly since that time.[3] From 1917 to 1928, much of Amdo was occupied intermittently by the Hui Muslim warlords of the Ma clique. In 1928, the Ma Clique joined the Kuomintang (Chinese Nationalist Party), and during the period from 1928 to 1949, much of Amdo was gradually assimilated into the Qinghai province (and part of Gansu province) of the Kuomintang Republic of China. By 1952, Communist Party of China forces had defeated both the Kuomintang and the local Tibetans and had assumed control of the region, solidifying their hold on the area by 1958 and formally spelling the end of the political existence of Amdo as a distinct Tibetan province.

Amdo was and is the home of many important Tibetan Buddhist monks or lamas, scholars who had a major influence on both politics and religious development of Tibet like the 14th Dalai Lama, Choekyi Gyaltsen, 10th Panchen Lama, and the great Gelug reformer Je Tsongkhapa.


Amdo is in blue
Amdo is in blue
 • Total720,000 km2 (280,000 sq mi)
 • Total5,626,722
 • Density7.8/km2 (20/sq mi)
 population of Qinghai province[1]


Amdo consists of all of former northeastern Tibet, including the upper reaches of the Machu or Yellow River and Lake Qinghai. Its southern border is the Bayan Har Mountains.[4] The area is wind-swept and tree-less, with lots of grass. Animals of the region consist of the wild yak and the kiang. Domesticated animals of the region consist of the domestic yak and dzo, goats, sheep, and the Mongolian horse.[5]


Historical demographics

In historical times, the people of the region were typically non-Tibetan, such as Mongols or Tibetan speakers of non-Tibetan origin such as the Hor people.[6]

Present demographics

The Tibetan inhabitants of Amdo are referred to as Amdowa (Tibetan: ཨ་མདོ་པ།; amdo pa) as a regional distinction from the Tibetans of Kham (Khampa) and U-Tsang (Central Tibet), however, they are all considered ethnically Tibetan.

Today, ethnic Tibetans predominate in the western and southern parts of Amdo, which are now administered as various Tibetan, Tibetan-Qiang, or Mongol-Tibetan autonomous prefectures. The Han Chinese are a majority in the eastern part of Qinghai and the provincial capital Xining. While geographically small compared to the rest of Qinghai, this area has the largest population density, with the result that the Han Chinese outnumber other ethnicities in Qinghai generally. The northern part of Qinghai has a Mongol majority. For details on the demographics of various Tibetan entities in Amdo and Tibet generally, see Tibet - Major ethnic groups in Greater Tibet by region, 2000 census.

The majority of Amdo Tibetans live in the larger part of Qinghai Province, including the Mtsho byang (Tibetan: མཚོ་བྱང་།; Ch. Haibei) TAP, Mtsho lho (Tibetan: མཚོ་ལྷོ་།; Ch. Hainan) TAP, Rma lho (Tibetan: རྨ་ལྷོ་།; Ch. Huangnan) TAP, and Mgo log (Tibetan: མགོ་ལོག།; Ch. Guoluo) TAP[7], as well as in the Kan lho (Tibetan: ཀན་ལྷོ།; Ch. Gannan) TAP of the southwest Gansu province, and sections of the Rnga ba (Tibetan: རྔ་བ།; Ch. Aba) Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous prefecture of north-west Sichuan Province. Additionally, a great many Amdo Tibetans live within the Haidong (Tibetan: མཚོ་ཤར།; Wylie: mtsho shar) Prefecture of Qinghai which is located to the east of the Blue Lake (Tibetan: མཚོ་སྔོན།, Wylie: Mtsho sngon; Kokonor) and around Xining city, but they constitute only a minority (ca. 8.5%) of the total population there and so the region did not attain TAP status. The vast Haixi (Mstho nub) Mongolian and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, to the west of the Blue Lake, also has a minority Tibetan population (ca. 10%), and only those Tibetans in the eastern parts of this Prefecture are Amdo inhabitants.[8]

Mongols too have been long-term settlers in Amdo, arriving first during the time of Genghis Khan, but particularly in a series of settlement waves during the Ming period. Over the centuries, most of the Amdo Mongols have become highly Tibetanised and, superficially at least, it is now difficult to discern their original non-Tibetan ethnicity.[8] Amdo has been famous in epic story and in history as a land where splendid horses are raised and run wild.[9]


There are many dialects of the Tibetan language spoken in Amdo due to the geographical isolation of many groups. Written Tibetan is the same throughout Tibetan-speaking regions and is based on Classical Tibetan.


3rd century

The Ch'iang people were early users of iron and stories abound of them in their iron breast-plates with iron swords.[10]

7th century

From the seventh through the ninth century, the Tibetan Empire extended as far north as the Tarim Basin, south until India and Nepal, east to Tang China, and west to Kashmir.[11] During this period, control of Amdo moved from Songtsen Gampo and his successors to the royal family's ministers, the Gar (Wylie: 'gar). These ministers had their positions inherited from their parents, similar to the emperor. King Tüsong tried to wrest control of this area from the ministers, unsuccessfully.[12]

9th century

In the 9th century, the central Tibetan kingdom broke into smaller polities; however Amdo and Kham maintained close culturally and religiously to the central Tibet. These small polities were small kingdoms or even governed as tribes and were officially under Chinese and Tibetan rule; however they held no allegiance to either.[13] During this same time period the Buddhist monks were forced out of their temples by rampaging Chinese. These monks wandered for a period to settle in the Amdo region.[14]

There is a historical account of an official from the 9th century sent to collect taxes to Amdo. Instead, he acquires a fief. He then tells of the 10 virtues of the land. Two of the virtues are in the grass, one for meadows near home, one for distant pastures. Two virtues in soil, one to build houses and one for good fields. Two virtues are in the water, one for drinking and one for irrigation. There are two in the stone, one for building and one for milling. The timber has two virtues, one for building and one for firewood.[5] Other stories talk about the original inhabitants of the Amdo region. These consist of the forest-dwellers (nags-pa), the mountain-dwellers (ri-pa), the plains-dwellers (thang-pa), the grass-men (rtsa-mi), and the woodsmen (shing-mi). The grass men were famous for their horses.[15]

10th century

Gewasel is a monk that helped resurrect Tibetan Buddhism. He was taught as a child and showed amazing enthusiasm for the religion. When he was ordained he went in search of teachings. After obtaining the Vinaya, he was set to travel to Central Tibet, but for a drought. Instead he chose to travel in solitude to Amdo. Locals had heard of him and his solitude was not to be as he was sought after. In time he established a line of refugee monks in Amdo and with the wealth that he acquired he built temples and stupas also.[16]

11th century

The historical Qiang came into contact with the Sumpa, then with the Tuyuhun. Then around 1032, they formed the Western Xia, which lasted into the 13th century.[17]

13th century

The Mongols conquered eastern Amdo by 1240,[18] and made the whole Tibetan region under Yuan rule, separated from the territory of former Song dynasty of China.[19][20] A patron and priest relationship began in 1253 when a Tibetan priest, Phagspa, visited Kublai Khan he became so popular that he was made Kublai's spiritual guide and later appointed by him to the rank of priest king of Tibet and constituted ruler of (1) Tibet Proper, comprising the thirteen states of U-Tsang Province; (2) Kham, and (3) Amdo.[21] He spent his later years at Sakya Monastery in Central Tibet, which required that he travel through Amdo regularly. On one of these trips, he encountered armed resistance in Amdo and required escorts from Mongol Princes to travel through Amdo.[22] Tibet regained its independence from the Mongols before native Chinese overthrew the Yuan dynasty in 1368, although it avoided directly resisting the Yuan court until the latter's fall.[23] Under the Mongol Yuan dynasty of Kublai Khan, Amdo and Kham were split into two commandaries, which, along with Ü-Tsang, were collectively referred to as the three commandaries of Tibet.

14th century through the 16th century

The following Ming Dynasty nominally largely maintained the Mongol divisions of Tibet with some sub-division. However, from the middle of the Ming era, the Chinese government lost control in Amdo, and the Mongols again seized political control.[24]

17th century

Power struggles among various Mongol factions in Tibet and Amdo led to a period alternating between the supremacy of the Dalai Lama (nominally) and Mongol overlords. In 1642 the fifth Dalai Lama received both spiritual and temporal authority from the Mongol king, Güshi Khan. This allowed the Gelugpa Buddhist sect and the Dalai Lama to gain enough power to last til the present day.[25] The Mongol king also gave portions of Eastern Tiber (Kham) back to the Tibetans; however Amdo remained under Mongol control.[25]

18th century

In 1705, with the approval of the Kangxi Emperor of the Qing dynasty, Lha-bzang Khan of the Khoshud deposed the regent and sent the 6th Dalai Lama to Beijing; the 6th Dalai Lama died soon after, probably near Qinghai Lake (Koko nur) in Amdo. The Dzungar Mongols invaded Tibet during the chaos, and held the entire region until their final defeat by an expedition of the Qing imperial army in 1720.[26][27]

When the Manchu Qing dynasty rose to power in the early 18th century it established Xining, a town to the north of Amdo, as the administrative base for the area. Amdo was placed within the Qinghai Province.[28] During this period they were ruled by the Amban, who allowed near total autonomy by the monasteries and the other local leaders.[29]

The 18th century saw the Qing Empire continue to expand further and further into Tibet as it engulfed Eastern Tibet including Amdo and even assumed control over Central Tibet.[30]

Xiazong kl
Shadzong Ritro near Taktser in Amdo

The Yongzheng Emperor seized full control of Qinghai (Amdo) in the 1720s. The boundaries of Xining Prefecture, which contains most of Amdo, with Sichuan and Tibet-proper was established following this. The boundary of Xining Prefecture and Xizang, or central Tibet, was the Dangla Mountains. This roughly corresponds with the modern boundary of Qinghai with the Tibet Autonomous Region. The boundary of Xining Prefecture with Sichuan was also set at this time, dividing the Ngaba area of the former Amdo into Sichuan. This boundary also roughly corresponds with the modern boundary of Qinghai with Sichuan. A new boundary, following the Ning-ching mountain range, was established between Sichuan and Tibet. East of these mountains, local chieftains ruled under the nominal authority of the Sichuan provincial government; Lhasa administered the area to the west. The 1720s thus saw Tibet's first major reduction in area in centuries.[nb 2] Other parts of old Amdo was administered by the Administrator of Qinghai. Kokonor Mongols from northern Xinjiang moved into Qinghai in this period.

In all these predominantly culturally Tibetan areas, the Qing Empire used a system of administration relying on local, Tibetan, rulers. A 1977 University of Chicago PhD. thesis, described the political history of the Tibetan region in Gansu (which was historically one part of Amdo) during the Qing dynasty as follows:

In the time of the Manchu dynasty, the entire region was administered by a viceroy of the Imperial Government. That portion of the country occupied by Chinese Moslems and some other, smaller, racial units was under traditional Chinese law. The Tibetans enjoyed almost complete independence and varying degrees of prestige. The Chone Prince ruled over the forty-eight "banners" of one group of Tibetans; other Tibetan rulers or chiefs held grants or commissions- some of them hundreds of years old- from the Imperial Government. At that time the ethnic frontier corresponded almost exactly with the administrative frontier.[32]

20th century

In 1906, the 13th Dalai Lama while touring the country, was enticed by a procession of a thousand lamas, to stay at the temple at Kumbum. He spent a year resting and learning among other things Sanskrit and poetry.[33]

In 1912, Qing Dynasty collapsed and relative independence followed with the Dalai Lama ruling Central Tibet. Eastern Tibet, including Amdo and Kham, were ruled by local and regional warlords and chiefs.[34] The Hui Muslims administered the agricultural areas in the north and east of the region.[29] Amdo saw numerous powerful leaders including both secular and non. The monasteries, such as Labrang, Repkong, and Taktsang Lhamo supervised the choosing of the local leaders or headmen in the areas under their control. These tribes consisted of several thousand nomads.[29] Meanwhile, Sokwo, Ngawa, and Choni, had secular leaders appointed, with some becoming kings and even creating familial dynasties. This secular form of government went as far as Machu.[35]

The Muslim warlord Ma Qi waged war in the name of the Republic of China against the Labrang monastery and Ngoloks. After ethnic rioting between Muslims and Tibetans emerged in 1918, Ma Qi defeated the Tibetans, then commenced to tax the town heavily for 8 years. In 1925, a Tibetan rebellion broke out, with thousands of Tibetans driving out the Muslims. Ma Qi responded with 3,000 Chinese Muslim troops, who retook Labrang and machine gunned thousands of Tibetan monks as they tried to flee.[36][37] Ma Qi besieged Labrang numerous times, the Tibetans and Mongols fought against his Muslim forces for control of Labrang, until Ma Qi gave it up in 1927.[38] His forces were praised by foreigners who traveled through Qinghai for their fighting abilities.[39] However, that was not the last Labrang saw of General Ma. The Muslim forces looted and ravaged the monastery again.[38]

In 1928, the Ma Clique formed an alliance with the Kuomintang. In the 1930s, the Muslim warlord Ma Bufang, the son of Ma Qi, seized the northeast corner of Amdo in the name of Chiang Kai-shek's weak central government, effectively incorporating it into the Chinese province of Qinghai.[40] From that point until 1949, much of the rest of Amdo was gradually assimilated into the Kuomintang Chinese provincial system, with the major portion of it becoming nominally part of Qinghai province and a smaller portion becoming part of Gansu province.[41] Due to the lack of a Chinese administrative presence in the region, however, most of the communities of the rural areas of Amdo and Kham remained under their own local, Tibetan lay and monastic leaders into the 1950s. Tibetan region of Lho-Jang and Gyarong in Kham, and Ngapa (Chinese Aba) and Golok in Amdo, were still independent of Chinese hegemony, despite the creation on paper of Qinghai Province in 1927.[42]

The 14th Dalai Lama was born in the Amdo region, in 1935, and when he was announced as a possible candidate, Ma Bufang tried to prevent the boy from travelling to Tibet. He demanded a ransom of 300,000 dollars, which was paid and then he escorted the young boy to Tibet.[43]

In May 1949, Ma Bufang was appointed Military Governor of Northwest China, making him the highest-ranked administrator of the Amdo region. However, by August 1949, the advancing People's Liberation Army had annihilated Ma's army, though residual forces took several years to defeat. By 1949, advance units of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (the PLA) had taken much of Amdo from the Nationalists.[44] By 1952, the major towns in the region were fully under the control of People's Republic of China, though many of the rural areas continued to enjoy de facto autonomy for several more years.[45]

In 1958, Chinese communists assumed official control of Tibetan regions in Kham and Amdo. Many of the nomads of Amdo revolted. Some areas were reported virtually empty of men: They either had been killed or imprisoned or had fled. The largest monastery in Amdo was forced to close. Of its three thousand monks, two thousand were arrested.[46]

In July 1958 as the revolutionary fervor of the Great Leap Forward swept across the People’s Republic of China, Zeku County in the Amdo region of cultural Tibet erupted in violence against efforts by the Chinese Communist Party to impose rapid collectivization on the pastoral communities of the grasslands. Rebellion also stirred the region at the beginning of the 1950s as “Liberation” first settled on the northeastern Tibetan plateau. The immediate ramifications of each disturbance both for the Amdo Tibetan elites and commoners, and for the Han cadres in their midst, elucidates early PRC nation-building and state-building struggles in minority nationality areas and the influence of this crucial transitional period on relations between Han and Tibetan in Amdo decades later.[47]

As a prelude to the Beijing Olympics, protests broke out in 2008 in Amdo, among other places. Some were violent; however the majority were peaceful.[48]


Kumbum Monastery in Amdo
Panoramic view of Kumbum Monastery in Amdo

Amdo was traditionally a place of great learning and scholarship and contains many great monasteries including Kumbum Monastery near Xining, Labrang Monastery south of Lanzhou, and the Kirti Gompas of Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture and Taktsang Lhamo in Dzoge County.

Traditional pastoral economy

Amdo Tibetans' traditional lifestyle and economy is centred on agriculture. Depending on the region and environment they live in they are either nomads (Drog pa) or farmers (Sheng pa). This economy has been prevalent throughout history and has changed little in the modern time. It typically consists of a dual homes or bases for the families as, in the summer they move up the mountains with their animals for better grazing, then in the harsh winters come down to the valleys, where they have small agricultural fields that grow fodder for their livestock. Some villages have less of a trek involved as their pasture may be near by and they can come home every night.[49]

Local government

After 1949, the Chinese communists inherited and adopted the earlier Republican county system, and the basic arrangements of local government in Amdo have changed little up to the present day. With the advent of communist administrators in Amdo during the 1950s, a series of larger Tibetan autonomous prefectures were newly established on top of the existing county system in those places where Tibetans formed the majority of the population. This development was in line with the policy towards minority nationalities set down in the new constitution of the PRC.[50]


  1. ^ Note: The identically-named, sparsely-populated Amdo County in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) is not part of the historical Amdo province. It was directly administered by the Dalai Lama from Lhasa and is today a part of the Changtang region administered by Nagqu Prefecture in the northern part of the TAR.
  2. ^ Kolmas 1967, pp. 41-2 quoted by Goldstein[31]



  1. ^ "Communiqué of the National Bureau of Statistics of People's Republic of China on Major Figures of the 2010 Population Census [1] (No. 2)". National Bureau of Statistics of China. 29 April 2011. Archived from the original on July 27, 2013. Retrieved 4 August 2013.
  2. ^ Harris, Richard B. (2008). Wildlife Conservation in China: Preserving the Habitat of China's Wild West. M.E. Sharpe. pp. 130–132.
  3. ^ Grunfield 1996, p. 245
  4. ^ Stein 1972, p. 20
  5. ^ a b Stein 1972, p. 23
  6. ^ Stein 1972, p. 22.
  7. ^ Shakya, Tsering (1999). The Dragon in the Land of Snows : a History of Modern Tibet Since 1947. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 137. ISBN 9780231118149. OCLC 40783846.
  8. ^ a b Huber 2002, pp. xiii-xv
  9. ^ Stein 1972, p. 24
  10. ^ Stein 1972, p. 62
  11. ^ Hoiberg 2010, p. 1
  12. ^ Stein 1972, p. 63.
  13. ^ Yeh 2003, p. 508
  14. ^ Van Schaik 2011, pp. 49–50
  15. ^ Stein 1972, pp. 23–24
  16. ^ Van Schaik 2011, pp. 50–51
  17. ^ Stein 1972, p. 29.
  18. ^ Van Schaik 2011, p. 76
  19. ^ Petech 1990, pp. 7–8
  20. ^ Schirokauer 2006, p. 174
  21. ^ Patterson 1960, pp. 87–88
  22. ^ Van Schaik 2011, p. 80
  23. ^ Craig 2000, pp. 33–34
  24. ^ Petech 1990, pp. 136–137
  25. ^ a b Davis 2008, p. 242
  26. ^ Richardson 1986, pp. 48–49
  27. ^ Schirokauer 2006, p. 242
  28. ^ Van Schaik 2011, pp. 140–141
  29. ^ a b c Pirie 2005, p. 85
  30. ^ Davis 2008, p. 243
  31. ^ Goldstein 1994, pp. 80–81
  32. ^ Ekvall 1977, p. 6
  33. ^ Van Schaik 2011, pp. 182–183
  34. ^ Barney 2008, p. 71
  35. ^ Pirie 2005, p. 86
  36. ^ Tyson Jr. & Tyson 1995, p. 123
  37. ^ Nietupski 1999, p. 87
  38. ^ a b Nietupski 1999, p. 90
  39. ^ Fletcher 1980, p. 43
  40. ^ Laird 2006, p. 262
  41. ^ Anon 2013
  42. ^ Tibet Environmental Watch 2013
  43. ^ Richardson 1962, pp. 151–153
  44. ^ Craig 2000, p. 44
  45. ^ Jiao 2013
  46. ^ Laird 2006, p. 382
  47. ^ Weiner 2012, pp. 398–405,427
  48. ^ Van Schaik 2011, pp. 265–266
  49. ^ Stein 1972, pp. 123–124
  50. ^ Huber 2002, p. xviii


Further reading

  • Dhondup, Yangdon; Diemberger, Hildegard (2002). "Introduction: Mongols and Tibetans". Inner Asia. 4 (2): 171–180. doi:10.1163/146481702793647452.
  • Goldstein, Melvyn C. (2007). A History of Modern Tibet. 2: The Calm Before the Storm, 1951-1955. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-24941-7.
  • Gruschke, Andreas (2001). The Cultural Monuments of Tibet's Outer Provinces: Amdo. Bangkok: White Lotus Press. ISBN 978-9747534597.
  • Kolmas, Josef (1967). "Tibet and Imperial China: A Survey of Sino-Tibetan Relations up to the End of the Manchu Dynasty in 1912". Occasional Paper. Canberra, Australia: The Australian National University, Centre of Oriental Studies (7).
  • Max Oidtmann, Qing Colonial Legal Culture in Amdo Tibet (original title: A Document from the Xunhua Archives, International Society for Chinese Law & History — 中國法律与歷史國際學會, vol. 1, No 1, November 2014)

External links

Amdo County

Amdo County (Tibetan: ཨ་མདོ་རྫོང་; Chinese: 安多县) is a county within Nagqu of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. The county covers an area of 43,410.85 square kilometres and is dominated by mainly Tibetan grassland. In 2000 it had a population of 32,843 .Its capital is Amdo Town, north of Lhasa. It contains the Amdo railway station on the new railway from Golmud to Lhasa. There is a major rail depot 3 km (1.9 mi) west of the town. Cona Lake lies to the southwest of the town of Amdo.

Amdo Tibetan

The Amdolese language (Tibetan: ཨ་མདོ་སྐད་, Wylie: A-mdo skad, Lhasa dialect IPA: [ámtokɛ́ʔ]; also called Am kä) is the Tibetic language spoken by the majority of Amdolese, mainly in Qinghai and some parts of Sichuan (Ngawa Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefecture) and Gansu (Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture).

Amdolese is one of the four main spoken Tibetic languages, the other three being Central Tibetan, Khams Tibetan, and Ladakhi. These four related languages share a common written script but their spoken pronunciations, vocabularies and grammars are different. These differences may have emerged due to geographical isolation of the regions of Tibet. Unlike Khams and Standard Tibetan, Amdolese language is not a tonal language. It retains many word-initial consonant clusters that have been lost in Central Tibetan.

Amdo Town

Amdo, also Anduo, and Draknak, is a town and seat of Amdo County in the Nagqu Prefecture of the northern Tibet Autonomous Region of China. It lies 464 kilometres north of Lhasa and 138 km north of Nagqu."Constructed on the southern side of the Dangla Mountains, Amdo is a Chinese-style town on the Qinghai-Tibet Highway. The road here leads off to the west, heading towards the Mt. Kailash area via the Changthang Plateau. Many of the buses from Golmud to Lhasa used to stay overnight here."

At an elevation of 4,710 metres (15,450 ft), Amdo is one of the highest year-round settlements in the world. It is now closed to tourists on the 1,130 km journey between Golmud and Lhasa. It is south of the Tanggula Shankou Pass (5,206 metres (17,080 ft)) on the border of Qinghai and Tibet, the highest pass between Lhasa and Golmud.

Cona Lake

Cona, also Dongaii Cona or Tsonag Lake (Chinese: 錯那湖, Cuonahu), is a major lake of northern Tibet Autonomous Region, China and is It is located in Amdo County, west of the road between Nagqu Town and Amdo Town. The lake is considered holy to the Tibetans especially in the Bon religion, as it is seen as the "soul lake" of the Razheng Living Buddha. The smaller Ganong Lake lies almost adjacent to the southeast.

Its area is approximately 300 square kilometers, and it is at 4594 meters above sea level making it one of the world's higher freshwater lakes.

Tsonag Lake can be observed on the right (west) as the train passes Tsonag Lake Railway Station on Qingzang Railway, going south toward Lhasa.

Cuoma Township

Cuoma, or Cuomaxiang (Chinese: 措玛乡) is a village and township-level division of Amdo County in the Nagqu Prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region, in China. It is located roughly 30 kilometres (19 mi) southwest of Amdo Town near the northern bank of Cona Lake. It covers an area of 5,098 square kilometres (1,968 sq mi) and as of 2004 had a population of about 3,100.

Cuoma township of Amdo County has existed since 1960 and was further expanded in 1987, but Cuoma has also been listed under the jurisdiction of Seqing Township of Nyainrong County. The principal economic activity is animal husbandry, pastoral yak, goat, sheep, and so on.

Dechang County

Dechang (Chinese: 德昌; pinyin: Déchāng is a county of southern Sichuan Province, China. It is under the administration of the Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture.

Gserpa language

Gserpa (Wylie: gser pa) is an eastern Tibetic language of Sichuan. It is spoken by a few hundred or thousand people in Sêrba (Tibetan:གསེར་པ་; Wylie: gser pa; Tibetan pinyin: Sêrba; Chinese: 色尔坝; pinyin: Sè'ěrbà) District, Sêrtar County, Sichuan, China and is different from the Amdo Tibetan language, the dominant Tibetan language in the surrounding region.


Haidong (simplified Chinese: 海东; traditional Chinese: 海東; pinyin: Hǎidōng; Wylie: Haitung) is a prefecture-level city of Qinghai province in Western China. Its name literally means "east of the (Qinghai) Lake." On 8 February 2013 Haidong was upgraded from a prefecture (海东地区) into a prefecture-level city. Haidong is the second largest city in Qinghai after Xining.

Khams Tibetan

Khams Tibetan (Wylie: Khams skad, THL: Khamké) is the Tibetic language used by the majority of the people in Kham, which is now divided between the eastern part of Tibet Autonomous Region, the southern part of Qinghai, the western part of Sichuan, and the northwestern part of Yunnan, China. It is one of the six main spoken Tibetic languages, the other five being Central Tibetan language, Amdo, Ladakhi , Dzongkha and Balti. These Tibetic languages share the same written script, but their pronunciations, vocabularies and grammars are different. These differences may have emerged due to geographical isolation of the regions of Tibet. Khams Tibetan is used alongside Standard Tibetan and Amdo Tibetan in broadcasting. Khams Tibetan is not mutually intelligible with other Tibetic languages.

Like Central Tibetan, Khams Tibetan is a tonal language.Khampa Tibetan is also spoken by about 1,000 people in two enclaves in eastern Bhutan, the descendants of pastoral yak-herding communities.

Kumbum Monastery

Kumbum Monastery (Wylie: སྐུ་འབུམ་བྱམས་པ་གླིང་, THL Kumbum Jampa Ling), also called Ta'er Temple, is a Tibetan gompa in Huangzhong County, Xining, Qinghai, China. It was founded in 1583 in a narrow valley close to the village of Lusar in the historical Tibetan region of Amdo. Its superior monastery is Drepung Monastery, immediately to the west of Lhasa. It is ranked in importance as second only to Lhasa.

Labrang Monastery

Labrang Monastery (Tibetan: བླ་བྲང་བཀྲ་ཤིས་འཁྱིལ་, Wylie: bla-brang bkra-shis-'khyil) is one of the six great monasteries of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism. Its formal name is Genden Shédrup Dargyé Trashi Gyésu khyilwé Ling (Tibetan: དགེ་ལྡན་བཤད་སྒྲུབ་དར་རྒྱས་བཀྲ་ཤིས་གྱས་སུ་འཁྱིལ་བའི་གླིང༌།, Wylie: dge ldan bshad sgrub dar rgyas bkra shis gyas su 'khyil ba'i gling).Labrang is located in Xiahe County, Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Gansu, in the traditional Tibetan area of Amdo. Labrang Monastery is home to the largest number of monks outside the Tibet Autonomous Region. Xiahe is about four hours by car from the provincial capital Lanzhou.

In the early part of the 20th century, Labrang was by far the largest and most influential monastery in Amdo. It is located on the Daxia River, a tributary of the Yellow River.

List of Tibetan monasteries

This list of Tibetan monasteries is a listing of historical and contemporary monasteries of Tibetan Buddhism within the ethno-cultural Tibet itself and elsewhere. Tibetan monasteries are works of architectural, pictorial, decorative and landscape art.

Pana, Tibet

Pana, also Pagnag (Chinese: 帕那镇) is a small town and township-level division of Amdo County in the Nagqu Prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region, in China. It is located just outside Amdo Town. As of 2004 it had a population of about 2700, 683 of which were living in the town of Pana. The principal economic activity is animal husbandry, pastoral yak, goat, sheep, and so on. Blueschist outcrops are found in the area. The villagers in recent times organized a railway protecting committee to select locals to monitor the Qinghai-Tibet Railway.

Puge County

Puge County (Chinese: 普格县; pinyin: Pŭgé Xiàn) is a county in the south of Sichuan Province, China. It is under the administration of the Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture.


Qiangma, also Qangma or Qiangmazhen (Chinese: 强玛镇) is a small town and township-level division of Amdo County in the Nagqu Prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region, in China. It is located just south of Zi Getangcuo Lake, 90.7 kilometres (56.4 mi) southwest of Amdo Town. It covers an area of 5,467 square kilometres (2,111 sq mi) and as of 2004 it had a population of about 1700. The principal economic activity is animal husbandry, pastoral yak, goat, sheep, and so on.

Tibetic languages

The Tibetic languages (Tibetan: བོད་སྐད།) are a cluster of Tibeto-Burman languages descended from Old Tibetan, spoken across a wide area of eastern Central Asia bordering the Indian subcontinent, including the Tibetan Plateau and the Himalayas in Baltistan, Ladakh, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh. Classical Tibetan is a major regional literary language, particularly for its use in Buddhist literature.

The Central Tibetan language (the dialects of Ü-Tsang, including Lhasa), Khams Tibetan, and Amdo Tibetan are generally considered to be dialects of a single language, especially since they all share the same literary language, while Dzongkha, Sikkimese, Sherpa, Ladakhi, and Balti are generally considered to be separate languages.Tibetic languages are spoken by some 6 million people.

With the worldwide spread of Tibetan Buddhism, the Tibetan language has spread into the western world and can be found in many Buddhist publications and prayer materials; with some western students learning the language for translation of Tibetan texts. Outside Lhasa itself, Lhasa Tibetan is spoken by approximately 200,000 exile speakers who have moved from modern-day Tibet to India and other countries. Tibetan is also spoken by groups of ethnic minorities in Tibet who have lived in close proximity to Tibetans for centuries, but nevertheless retain their own languages and cultures.

Although some of the Qiang peoples of Kham are classified by China as ethnic Tibetans (see rGyalrongic languages; rGyalrong people are identified as 'Tibetan' in China), Qiangic languages are not Tibetic, but rather form their own branch of the Sino-Tibetan language family.

Classical Tibetan was not a tonal language, but some varieties such as Central and Khams Tibetan have developed tone registers. Amdo and Ladakhi-Balti are without tone. Tibetic morphology can generally be described as agglutinative.

Tshobdun language

Tshobdun (Chinese Caodeng 草登) is a Rgyalrong language spoken in Sichuan, China. It is surrounded by the Zbu, Japhug , and Amdo Tibetan languages.

Yanshiping, Tibet

Yanshiping, also Yan Shi (Chinese: 雁石坪镇; pinyin: Yànshípíng zhèn) is a small town physically situated in the southwest of Qinghai province, China. However, it is under the jurisdiction of Amdo County in the Nagqu Prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region. At an elevation of 4,720 metres (15,490 ft), it is one of the highest year-round settlements in the world. The principal economic activity is animal husbandry.


Zharen, also Zaring or Zharencun (Chinese: 扎仁镇) is a small town and township-level division of Amdo County in the Nagqu Prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region, in China. It is located at the side of the G109 road, 45 kilometres (28 mi) south of Amdo Town on the road from Nagchu Town, and approximately 20 kilometres (12 mi) east of the southern tip of Cona Lake.

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