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  horse racing  
 
Author:sichuan Source:china-panda time:2006-3-29

Staying in Tibet, and continuing our journey around the region, we make a visit to Norbulingka, Lhasa's "treasure garden". We also take a look at the traditional Tibetan Horse-racing Festival.

Norbulingka used to be an exclusive "summer palace" for the Dalai Lama. Every year from mid-March in the Tibetan calendar, the Dalai Lama left the Potala Palace and moved here to work until late September.

But now, with an entry fee of only three yuan, local residents can also make Norbulingka their own playground on weekends and special occasions.

Director of Norbulingka Management Office Ma Yugang said, "Norbulingka has been open to the public since the 1950s. This is the most beautiful place in Lhasa. It has a good ecological environment and exquisite natural scenery. We're receiving on average 300,000 domestic and international tourists every year."

Now we're in Dangxiong, a town which in the Tibetan language means "a selected good place". Back in the 17th Century, Mongolian cavalry troops held their inspection ceremony here this time every year on the grasslands.

Horse-racing, a major part of the ceremony, has been preserved as a traditional annual carnival for the local people.

Steward of Horse Racing Pubu Zaxi said, "The Horse-racing Festivals nowadays are so different from before. A few decades ago the jockeys could only afford an outfit costing a couple of hundred yuan. But now we're well off, and look at these outfits, each one of them is worth more than 20,000 yuan."

As the jockeys exhaust themselves on horseback, visitors from afar danced, enjoying this wonderful moment, at this "selected good place".

 
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