According to Tibetan historical documents, as early as the Tubo period, sailing activities were recorded on the Yarlung Zangpo River and Lhasa River. According to Biography of Padmasambhava, he once crossed the Yarlung Zangpo by wooden boat with a horse's head to reach Samye Monastery; murals in the Samye Monastery, Potala Palace and Borbu Lingka record this.
Boat with Horse's Head
Early Wooden Boat with Horse's Head. According to the illustrations in Tibet's Civilization written by Prof. R. A. Stein, this might be the earliest Tibetan wooden boat containg about 20 people.
Mid-period Wooden Boat with Horse's Head. According to murals in Samye Monastey, wooden boats with a horse's head emerged during the Tubo period able to carry about 30 people. This was much more advanced than early square wooden boats in sailing that had such disadvantages as low speed and inflexibility due to the large resistance from the square structure.
Late Wooden Boat with Horse's Head. There is no clue about the profile of later wooden boats in the murals, but it is presumed they emerged after the decline of the Tubo Kingdom.
Early Wooden Boat with Horse's Head
Foursquare wooden boats with horse's head as a symbol; there were iron-sheet decorative designs inlaid on the outer sides; there was a door on the left side towards the rear; paddles were fitted on both sides, and there was a wind-horse flag pole inserted on the back of the horse head.
Mid-Period Wooden Boat with Horse's Head
There were iron-sheet decorative designs inlaid on the outer sides and an exit door on the left side of the front-half of the boat; the bow had a wooden-sculptured horse's head with wind-horse flags inserted on the back part; two paddles were fitted on both sides of the front-half of the boat, but no boatman steering the boat was seen at the stern according to the murals.
Late Wooden Boat with Horse's Head
The boat body was square, the bow was changed into the shape of triangle, the bottom of bow of bow was rounded, which greatly reduced the resistance from the water and improved speed and flexibility. The horse's head and wind-horse flags as decorations on how were still there. One paddle was fitted on each side of front-half of the bow, and it required 4 to 5 people to paddle powerfully; there was a big paddle on the stern for steering, and one door on each side of the middle part. There were iron-sheet decorative designs with reinforced wooden boats on the outer sides and four corners of the boat body.
At the end of the 1960s, this sort of boat was still available at the Nyanggu Ferry at Zetang Township of Shannan district in the middle reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River. With the opening of the Sichuan-Tibet and the Qinghai-Tibet highways, and the old wooden boats were replaced by wooden power boats. But boats with horse's heads retain their charm.
An old boatman aged over 70, living in the village by Nyanggu Ferry, Zetang, Shannan, told me that this sort of boat was about 10 meters long and five meters wide, containing about 200 people or 70 to 80 yaks. With the help of the old man, we copied a model of the boat one-tenth size, which is presented in the Hall of Folklore of the Tibet Museum.
Today, the boats are square power wooden boats with a round bottom, but small boats with men padding away can still ocassionally be seen at every ferry of the Yarlung Zangbo River and the Lhasa River.
However, since 1959, with many rivers being spanned by bridges, the ferries gradually disappeared.
Yak Hide Rafts
The materials for making yak hide rafts are very simple, mainly timber and yak hide. Timber with good tenacity should be selected to make the frame. Four pieces of yak hide softened in water and with almost all the hair removed, and sewn together. The wet yak hide is then stretched tight over the wooden frame and tied with yak hide rope; it is left to dry in the sun, after which great deal of yak and goat grease is applied to the hide to make it waterproof. The raft can then be launched with a pair of paddles operated by one boatman.
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I heard that a new road had been opened in June this year to Mt Kailash. I am interested in a 20 day package to Mt Kailash , Mansa rover in October 2020. I am convinced of the new road, pictures showed that we can reach Mt Kailash by jeep. I ask coz my husband is a triple by pass heart patient, he wont b able to trek. please reply with cost and Inf. Regards
Dear Ms. Pa***,
Greetings from Nancy at Budget Tibet Tour, thanks for visiting our website and sending your inquiry. At present we do not set any date in Oct 2020, and we can set any date based on yours, and if possible I hope you can come in next half of Oct as all the cost would be cheaper and less people there.
There is environment bus in Kailash, and people can take about 10 km with bus taking, but after that, no vehicle will be available during the trekking, so if your husband cannot take trekking, he has to rest in hotel with our driver and wait all of you come back. And also there is horse hire, people can hire a horse to ride, but as the road off mountain, because it is quite cliffy, so people are not allowed to ride a horse and need to take foot on own. And also the highest mountain pass will be around 5300meters high. So better for him to rest in hotel. But we will visit the holy lake without problem. I will send you more details by email, please check it there, best regards.
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