It is herdsman Tudan Danba’s home, built on the grassland. In order to get here, Tudan Danba, also the head of the Ecological Protection Station of the Yangtze River Source, drove us through streams, fields and a depopulated zone. Through the window, we can see cattle grazing leisurely, the wild Tibetan gazelles and kiangs watching us without fear. And the marmots run into their holes with fright when they heard the sound of the car. There is a vibrant natural scene everywhere on the grassland. Dudan Danba’s father entertain us with Tibetan Tsamba, dried beef, blood sausage and buttered tea.
Tanggula Mountains Town, located at over 4,500 meters above sea level, is an enclave of Golmud City, Qinghai Province, and known as the first town along the Yangtze River. A railway station of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway is also built here. Prof. Xu and I came here to conduct fieldwork in anthropology, it was also my first experience as a student anthropologist in the hinterland of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, after the investigation of Jiuzhaigou valley two months ago. Besides, we also served as volunteers at the Ecological Protection Station of the Yangtze River Source for a few days.
I finally felt how magnificent the Yangtze River is, for the Qinghai-Tibet Railway and Highway are both built above the Tuotuo River and the sun doesn’t set until 9 p.m. The train passes by the railway very slowly, forming a wonderful picture under the sunset.
It is very easy for a person to calculate the distance wrong by using eyes on the plateau due to its broader horizon. Fox example, I can see the herdsmen’s tent across the river clearly when I stood by the Tuotuo River, and I was under the illusion that the river was only two or three hundred meters wide. Then I prepared to fly the drone to the tent across the river. However, the drone, with a farthest distance of 500 meters, was hovering above the river and can’t fly further, and also alerted me with message “Maximum Distance Reached” on the iPad. Then I focused on the piers of the bridge that erected the Qinghai-Tibet Railway in the distance and it counted more than 30, so I estimated that the river was at least one kilometer wide. Tudan Danba told me that its width was almost one kilometer and five hundred meters later on. A river with such a wide may mean something unfortunate would happen. In the afternoon, a drone flew by a pilot from another team was out of control and crashed into the water straightly, disappearing immediately. We made a joke of the pilot that he would go to the Huangpu River in Shanghai to salvage his aircraft.
Then I took the aerial panorama of the town in a sunshine morning.
The Cliff of the Tongtian River is about 25 meters high and about 5 kilometers long, and located about 60 kilometers east of the Tanggula Mountains Town, Golmud City, Qinghai Province. The endangered wild animal bar-headed geese are used to nesting on it. Another threatened species of deer – white lipped deer, or Thorold’s deer, also lives here.
I took the aerial panorama at a height of 120 meters(calculated from the surface where the SUV is located) on 16th July, 2016. Because of the strong sunlight, I must squat in the shadow of the car, facing the iPad and manipulating the drone (the white spot in the shadow was actually a hat, it was Professor Xu and me).
Our destination was another white spot in the distance, a herdsman’s tent.
The word “Yanzhanggua” is transliterated from Tibetan, meaning “a smoky place “. It is the first grand gorge on the Yangtze River and named by Yao Maoshu, the first Chinese explorer who drifted along the Yangtze River and died in Jinsha River because of hitting a rock.
The first Snow Leopard Cultural Festival and the opening Ceremony of the “First Gorge of the Yangtze River” were held in Cuochi Village, which located next to the gorge on 3rd, July 2016. According to Tibetan customs, a lha bsang（burn aromatic plant）ceremony would be held in the morning before the ceremony. The following is the panorama of the event.
An earthquake occurred in Jiuzhaigou valley on 8th August 2017 with all the lakes dried up in the valley. The following 360-degree aerial panorama virtual tours of Jiuzhaigou were taken in May 2016, one year before the earthquake. These were the last panoramas before the earthquake which provided important information for post-disaster reconstruction.
These aerial panoramas contain: Rexi Valley, Old Rexi Valley, Shuzheng Valley, Heye Valley, Woruo Valley, Panya Valley, Zechawa Valley, Heijiao Valley and Zharu Temple.The Heye（lotus leaf） Valley really looks like a lotus leaf.