- by Caroline
- Last Updated: 2017-09-14
As a prefecture of Tibet Autonomous Region, Ngari is located in the core area of Qiangtang Plateau, a paradise of wild animals but sparsely populated. To the north, Ngari is next to Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, China; to the south, it’s contiguous to India, Nepal, and Kashmir. Ngari covers 345 thousand of square kilometers (133,205 square miles), but lives only 86 thousand of people, so, it’s one of the regions with the smallest population density in the world. As everybody knows that Tibet is known as “the Roof of the World”. With an average elevation of 4,500 meters (14,764 feet), Ngari is called as “the Roof of Tibet” or “the Most Tibetan Part of Tibet”. Besides, the Himalayas, the Gangdise, the Kunlun Mountains and Karakorum Mountains gathered here, that’s why Ngari is named “the Origin of All Mountains” as well. There are 7 counties in Ngari, the prefectural administrative office is set up in Shiquanhe Town, Gar County.
Before the 9th. Century, Ngari was named “Yangtong”. After that, it changed to “Katao”, because the royals of Ancient Katao Dynasty had controlled here. The name kept changing for a long time. “Ngari Sugluson” during Yuan Dynasty; “Esili” in Ming Dynasty; finally, it became “Ngari” in Qing Dynasty and had been used until now. “Ngari” means territory in the Tibetan language.
There are two famous kingdoms in the history of Ngari, one is Ancient Katao, another is Guge. Both of them are mysterious existence for later generations.
For a very long time, Ngari was ruled by the Ancient Katao Kingdom, which is considered as the most mysterious period in Tibetan history. “Katao” means the living area of roc (the largest bird in Chinese legend story). According to the commonest academic theory, Katao Kingdom existed in Ngari area. At that time, Katao people already had the very advantaged technology. They had powerful military force, controlled vast land, invented Katao characters, and founded the original Tibetan religion – Bon. The posterity called the high level of civilization created by Katao people as Katao Civilization. But it suddenly disappeared and got away from the stage of history. There was a little record left for us to read the truth of it. The Ancient Katao Kingdom became an unfathomable enigma in the history of Tibet, even of China.
In the 9th. Century, the last king of Tubo Kingdom (Tibet’s name during that time) Lang Darma started to suppress Buddhism. After he was assassinated by crazy Buddhist devotee, his son Nima escaped to Ngari and married the daughter of the local tribe’s leader. Ngari was divided into three parts, of each belonged to one of Nima’s son. Among the three manors, the strongest one was ruled by Dezu Gun, who founded the Guge Kingdom. After a long-time development, Guge Kingdom became powerful and prosperous. But in the 17th. Century, as same as Katao, Guge Kingdom was destroyed at one night and the 100 thousand of Guge people vanished. Up to now, there are only the empty ruins left to prove that the Guge Kingdom really existed.
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