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Chikdril Dzong

Chikdril (Tib. གཅིག་སྒྲིལ་, Wyl. gcig sgril), aka Chikdril Dzong (Tib. གཅིག་སྒྲིལ་རྫོང་, Wyl. gcig sgril rdzong; Chin. 久治县), Jigzhi, is a county division of Golok.

Located in Qinghai Province, China, it is bordering Sichuan to the southeast and Gansu to the northeast. It is under the administration of Golok Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture. The county seat is in the town of Kangsar (Tib. ཁང་གསར་, Wyl. khang gsar; Ch. Chugqênsumdo, 久治).[1]



Chikdril, at the southeast extremity of Golok, occupies the watershed between the Yellow River basin and the Nga-chu tributary of the Gyarong. It shares its borders, from the north clockwise, with Machu (Tib. རྨ་ཆུ་, Wyl. rma chu), Ngawa (Tib. རྔ་བ་, Wyl. rnga ba), Pema Dzong (Tib. པདྨ་, Wyl. pad+ma), Darlak (Tib. དར་ལག་, Wyl. dar lag) and Gadé (Tib. དགའ་བདེ་, Wyl. dga’ bde) counties. [2]


Map of Chikdril, courtesy of Stewart Smith, The Monasteries of Amdo, Volume 1: East and South Amdo, 2017.

In the county’s west the Marta Chu (Tib. སྨར་མཐའ་ཆུ་, Wyl. smar mtha’ chu) flows southwards to become the Mar Chu (Tib. སྨར་ཆུ་, Wyl. smar chu), in its center flows the Jig Chu (Tib. འཇིགས་ཆུ་, Wyl. ‘jigs chu) northwards into the Ma Chu (Tib. རྨ་ཆུ་, Wyl. rma chu) as does the Sa Chu (Tib. གསའ་ཆུ་, Wyl. gsa’ chu) in the east likewise. [3] [4][5]


  • Nyenpo Yutsé (Tib. གཉེན་པོ་གཡུ་རྩེ་, Wyl. gnyen po g.yu rtse) is the principal holy mountain of southern Golok, which is revered as the birthplace of the Golok tribes. The range has 14 peaks over 5,000 m and the 10-15-day outer pilgrimage circuit is much harder than that at Mount Amnye Machen. A shorter six-day inner circuit can also be undertaken, starting from the Base Camp, 80 km driving distance from Kangsar. The steep snow-capped ridges of the mountain are surrounded by marshland and glacial lakes, such as Tsochen and Tsochung which feed streams flowing north into the Yellow River, or Tso Nagma and Nojin Tso, which feed streams flowing south into the headwaters of the Gyarong. On the southside of the mountain there are three hot springs and a nature reserve for the macaque. Tare Lhamo and Namtrul Rinpoche revealed termas at sacred sites of Nyenpo Yutse.[6], [7]
  • Sertrab Dzari (Tib. གསེར་ཁྲབ་ཛ་རི་, Wyl. gser khrab dza ri)
  • Tramo Dzari (Tib. བཀྲ་མོ་ཛ་རི་, Wyl. bkra mo dza ri)


Chikdril does not have proper four seasons throughout a year. There are only cold and warm seasons. The annual average temperature is 0.1℃, and the cold period below 0℃ lasts for 184 days, of which severe cold period below -10℃ reaches 131 days. The annual sunshine hours are 2084-2510 hours, which makes this region having the least sunshine hours in Qinghai Province. The precipitation is abundant, with an average of 171 rainy days per year and a precipitation of 764.4 mm, which is the highest in Qinghai Province.[8]


The main cities of Chikdril are the following: [9][10]

  • Mintang (Tib. སྨིན་ཐང་, Wyl. smin thang, Ch. Mintang 门堂) has an elevation of 3,631 metres.[11]
  • Drasar (Tib., Wyl. sbra gsar, Ch. Drasar 哇赛) has about 3,240 residents and an elevation of 3,913 metres.[12]
  • Sokruma (Tib. སྦྲ་གསར་, Wyl. sog ru ma, Ch. Sokruma 索乎日麻乡) has about 4,550 residents.[13]
  • Khangsar (Tib. ཁང་གསར་, Wyl. khang gsar, Ch. Chugqênsumdo 久治) was renamed to Drukchen Sumdo in 2001 and is the county capital. It has an altitude of 3630 meters and a population of 4000 according to Wikipedia and 6800 according to Mapquest.[14]
  • Barshyi (Tib. བར་བཞི་, Wyl. bar bzhi, Ch. Barzhi 哇尔依) has about 3,460 residents and an elevation of 3,826 metres.[15]
  • Palyul (Tib. དཔལ་ཡུལ་, Wyl. dpal yul, Ch. Baiyusi 白玉乡) has about 5,320 residents.[16]


Dharma Lineages

The main tradition lineages practised are related to:

Chikdril is especially a stronghold of the Palyul tradition of the Nyingma.

Main Dharma Places

The main Dharma places are:

  • Azö (Tib. ཨ་བཟོད་དགོན་དཔལ་རི་ཐེག་ཆེན་བཤད་སྒྲུབ་འཕེལ་རྒྱས་གླིང་, Wyl. a bzod dgon dpal ri theg chen bshad sgrub ‘phel rgyas gling) has 164 Nyingma monks, and is located in Drasar city.
  • Chakda (Tib. ལྕགས་མདའ་དགོན་ཐུབ་བསྟན་ངེས་དོན་ཆོས་འཁོར་གླིང་, Wyl. lcags mda’ dgon thub bstan nges don chos ‘khor gling) has 200 Jonang monks, and is located Sok Ruma city.
  • Dorjé Dzong (Tib. རྡོ་རྗེ་རྫོང་ཐུབ་བསྟན་མདོ་སྔགས་བཤད་སྒྲུབ་ཆོས་འཁོར་གླིང་, Wyl. rdo rje rdzong thub bstan mdo sngags bshad sgrub chos ‘khor gling) has 150 Nyingma monks, and is located in Barshi city.
  • Khangsar Sar (Tib. ཁང་སར་གསར་དགོན་དགའ་ལྡན་ཆོས་འཁོར་གླིང་, Wyl. khang sar gsar dgon dga‘ ldan chos ‘khor gling) has 100 Gelukpa monks, and is located in Kangsar city.
  • Lungkar (Tib. ལུང་དཀར་དགོན་དགའ་ལྡན་ཆོས་འཕེལ་གླིང་, Wyl. lung dkar dgon dga’ ldan chos ‘phel gling) has 300 Gelukpa monks, and is located in Palyul city
  • Mintang Pönlung (Tib. སྨིན་ཐང་དཔོན་ལུང་དགོན་འོད་གསལ་ཐེག་མཆོག་གླིང་, Wyl. smin thang dpon lung dgon ‘od gsal theg mchog gling) has 200 Nyingma monks, and is located in Minthang city.
  • Palyul Dartang Monastery (Tib. དཔལ་ཡུལ་དར་ཐང་མདོ་སྔགས་བཤད་སྒྲུབ་ཆོས་གླིང་, Wyl. dpal yul dar thang mdo sngags bshad sgrub chos gling) has 1200 Nyingma monks and 30 incarnate lamas in Pelyul. This monastery was founded in 1857 or 1882 by Gyatrul Rinpoche, Pema Dongag Tendzin (1830-1891), the seventh throne-holder of the great Nyingmapa monastery of Pelyul in Kham. It quickly became the largest and most influential branch of Pelyul in the entire Golok-Sertal area, headed by the Pelyul Choktrul incarnation, who presently lives in Nepal. Among the other important figures connected to this monastery in recent times, special mention should be made of Lama Kunga or Tarthang Tulku.
  • Nyinyö Jonang (Tib. ཉིན་ཡོས་ཇོ་ནང་དགོན་ངེས་དོན་ཐེག་མཆོག་ཆོས་འཁོར་གླིང་, Wyl. nyin yos jo nang dgon nges don theg mchog chos ‘khor gling) has 100 Jonang monks and is is located in Kangsar city.[17], [18]
  • Taklung (Tib. སྟག་ལུང་དགོན་ཀ་དག་སྤྲོ་བྲལ་གླིང་, Wyl. stag lung dgon ka dag spro bral gling) is a branch of Pelyul and has 130 Nyingma monks. It is located inn Kangsar. It was built in 1865 and originally combined the three schools of Gelug, Nyingma and Jonang. In 1939, the branch of Gelugpa was moved to Mintang, and the Nyingma and Jonang schools still operated together as one temple. In 1950s, Kangsar was divided into two townships, Kangsar and Mintang, so that this monastery was separated into two monasteries. Currently, Taklung is under the supervision of Dampuk Rinpoche who has dedicated his recent years to its reconstruction. There is an Assembly Hall, a Zangdok Palri-style temple, a Potala-style temple, named after the residence of Avalokiteshvara on Mount Potala, a protector chapel (Gönkhang) and a large Tara stupa.

Main Teachers


  1. Emeric Yeshe Dorje, The History of the Düdjom Tersar Lineage, Volume 1: “Golok”, forthcoming.
  2. Stewart Smith, The Monasteries of Amdo, Volume 1: East and South Amdo, 2017, Stewart Smith, p.246-247.
  3. Stewart Smith, The Monasteries of Amdo, Volume 1: East and South Amdo, 2017, Stewart Smith, p.284-285.
  4. Emeric Yeshe Dorje, The History of the Düdjom Tersar Lineage, Volume 1: “Golok”, forthcoming.
  6. Gyurmé Dorjé, Tibet, Footprint, 3rd edition, p.645.
  7. Love Letters from Golok, Holly Gayley, p. 10.
  9. Stewart Smith, The Monasteries of Amdo, Volume 1: East and South Amdo, 2017, Stewart Smith, p. 274-275
  17. Stewart Smith, The Monasteries of Amdo, Volume 1: East and South Amdo, 2017, Stewart Smith, p. ….
  18. Gyurmé Dorjé, Tibet, Footprint, 3rd edition, p.645.

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