In present day Muli little has changed - aside from the practice of robbery and pillage, that is. Officially opened to tourism a few years ago, modern Muli's only road, planned to connect the Tibetan Autonomous County with neighboring Daocheng, remained uncompleted at the end of 2001, and living conditions are hard. Local government plans include much-needed environmental reforms forbidding logging activities on hillsides, and a determination to attract tourism money that is shared by local residents. For the time being, however, the multi-ethnic region continues to follow traditions that is has done for generations, unchanged by tourism. If your China travel deals for Sichuan has no ideas, then a visit to Muli to discover the ethnic minority culture there never disappoint you.
Muli lies on the border of Yunnan and Sichuan provinces, just north of the famous lake of Lugu. Until 1953, it was a Gelugpa Buddhist kingdom, dubbed "The Yellow Lama's Kingdom" by explorer Rock. Historically, Muli was influenced by the southern Nanzhao Kingdom of the Yi (653-902) and the later Dali Kingdom of the Bai (1137-1253), as well as Mongol intruders under Kublai Khan. Those days are long gone, however, and today Muli is part of the Liangshan Yi Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan. The scenery viewed in Muli is just similar to the ones discovered along your Tibet tours since both of them are of highland landscape.
Visitors to Muli are treated to a wonderful land of 17 ethnic groups, breathtaking scenery, virgin forests, and more than 900 peaks that soar to above 4000 meters. There are three Buddhist monasteries, with the biggest one, Muli Dasi, serving as home for the Living Buddha of Muli, who holds the highest status in Tibetan religious culture.
The spiritual center of the region is the Gongga mountain range in western Muli, a holy trinity of peaks comprised of Jambeyang, Chanadorje and Chenresig. Each year in late May when the harvest is completed it's time to embark on a pilgrimage to the mountain range, where the Pumi ethnic group believe the beginning and end of all life is. Since all the souls of the dead will travel to Gongga, it is deemed important to make the journey at least once in a person's lifetime to ensure the soul knows the way.
May you have had the travel to Shangri-la and enjoyed the paradise on earth. If you want to extend your Yunnan travel, a visit to Sichuan would be a great idea, which has much to offer.
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