The three sacred mountains of Daocheng in Sichuan


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For many Tibetan Buddhists, making a pilgrimage around Daocheng's Three Sacred Mountains at least once in their lifetime is a long-cherished dream. Tucked in the southwest corner of China's Sichuan province, it is said that if a person can worship the mountains three times, he or she will be able to achieve their dreams because the whole area is believed to carry the blessing of tantric master Padma Sambhave.


The three peaks: Mt. Xian Nairi, Mt. Yang Maiyong, and Mt.  Xia Nuo Duo Ji, are believed to be incarnations of three bodhisattvas. Due to the belief that all the mountains are incarnations of enlightened beings, they are elevated as holy and gracious - not to mention that the whole region itself is a breath-taking paradise! 

All three peaks are snow-capped all year round with translucent lakes at the foot of the mountains, said to be used as a mirror by the local nymphs of the forest. And whenever you visit, you will find thousands of pious Tibetan pilgrims circling the mountains, hoping for a better life and a healthy body.

Daocheng is also home to many endangered species: golden monkeys, white-lipped deer, water deer, and argali. They are allowed to enjoy themselves freely in this pristine land, away from the the encroachment of modern development.


Another draw is that Daocheng is a shangri-la for hikers. Though much less publicized, Daocheng Three Sacred Mountains and the Yading Nature Reserve  are only 10 hours by bus from the official "Shangrila" in Yunnan province, and many who have visited believe that the Yading/Daocheng area of Sichuan is actually the most likely source for James Hilton's tale of a Tibetan utopia. For those who are curious, bring a tent and explore this unspoiled wilderness for yourself!

Daocheng Three Sacred Mountains is located in the south of Ganzi Tibetan Prefecture, on the border between Sichuan and Yunnan provinces. The Daocheng area is packed with other noteworthy scenic spots as well, like Xiling Snow Mountain, the majestic Siguniang (Four Sisters) Mountains, and Bifengxia Giant Panda Nature Reserves. Come take it all in or break it up for a number of memorable trips!

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