As May is coming, Wumatang Township on the Damxung grasslands begins its cordyceps excavation season. In order to fully demonstrate the nomadic culture of Damxung County, on May 20, the Third Damxung County Cordyceps Cultural Tourism Festival kicked off in Baga Village, which lies under Mt. Molan in Wumatang Township. The theme of the festival is “Pleasant Mt. Molan: Journey of Looking for Cordyceps”.
At the opening ceremony of the festival, groups of nomads ride horses in front of Mt. Molan.
At the opening ceremony, local people performed folk songs and dances. A fashion show of nomadic culture also let visitors experience the stunning charm of combining traditional culture with modern design.
The nomadic fashion show at the opening ceremony.
At the event, Sonam from Guoni Village and his horse were waiting to perform. As a member of the Damxung equestrian team, Sonam would wear nomad clothes and perform together with his horse.
“Damxung is a county that engages purely in animal husbandry,” Sonam said. “We have grown up on horseback since we were young. Today, we can take this opportunity to share the nomadic culture of Damxung County so that more people can understand it and have fun.”
Sonam and his horse perform together at the opening ceremony.
After tourists enjoyed traditional song and dance performances and lunched on local specialties, the highlight of the event began: digging for cordyceps on the mountain under the guidance of senior local nomads, so that they could personally enjoy the experience of digging for cordyceps. Tourists frequently shouted, “I got one!”, attracting the envy of people around them who would run over to take photos.
A tourist named Xiao Lu displays freshly picked cordyceps.
A few moments later, tourist Xiao Lu from Lhasa dug up two strands of cordyceps. Xiao Lu said frankly, “today credit goes to our guide Kelsang Dradul. Without him, I wouldn’t be able to see the cordyceps right in front of me.”
Faced with praise from tourists, Kelsang Dradul became a bit shy. There are three people in Kelsang Dradul’s family. When the cordyceps season comes, all three of them can earn more than 30,000 yuan (4,696 US dollars) digging cordyceps.
Guide Kelsang Dradul looks for cordyceps.
The organizer for the event, Garma Zunzui Sambo, said that tourists pay for the cordyceps digging experience and are allowed to take three strands away for free. As a guide, in addition to a daily guide fee of 200 yuan (31.3 US dollars), the extra cordyceps left behind by the tourists adds an important income for the day.
Organizers have also arranged a series of diverse tourism activities such as song and dance performances on grassland, camping on Mt. Molan, climbing the mountain to search for cordyceps, and getting a taste of the colorful nomadic life on the grassland. All of these activities offer rich experiences for a large number of tourists to enjoy.
Chime Tsering, deputy secretary of the Damxung County Party Committee and head of the county, said, “protecting ecology is a precondition for the development of Tibet, and tourism cannot be an exception. Therefore, the annual Cordyceps Cultural Tourism Festival strictly limits the number of visitors, and after the excavation experience activity, the turf is quickly backfilled to ensure that the ecological environment is not damaged. Using the festival as an opportunity, we will work hard to build ‘all-for-one’ tourism development strategy, popularizing our tourism brand as the nearest nomadic life experience area to the capital, Lhasa, and striving to transform this ‘nature resources of snow and ice’ into ‘invaluable assests’.”
Majestic Mt. Molan.