Traveling Back to My Nomadic Roots–Tsekog

We headed out on the road from Rongwo, the seat of Huangnan Tibetan Prefecture. The view is outside corner of the compound of renowned Rongwo monastery started establishing nearly 1,000 years ago. Learn more >>


I’ve finally realized the long-awaited journey to my nomadic family in Tsekog, Zekog or rtse khog (རྩེ་ཁོག Zeku). Rongwo Rongbo (རོང་བོ, Longwu), the Reb gong the Golden Valley, was where we started the trip.

Rongwo, the seat of Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture and Tongren County, is an ancient town, the heart of renowned Rebgong or Reb gong culture. Reb gong is known for Tibetan literature, thangka paintings, spirituality, folk culture, and food. The Rebgong culture has long had a significant impact on far more than the Amdo region of Tibet. The cultural hub is located on the riverside with a pleasant climate. It’s home primarily to Tibetans but also Chinese Han, Muslims, Monguors, and Mongols.

Zekog is a nomadic county of Huangnan Tibet Autonomous Prefecture (རྨ་ལྷོ་བོད་རིགས་རང་སྐྱོང་ཁུལ།) in eastern Amdo. The elevation of rtse khog is 3700 meters above sea level, and it’s best known for its lush grassland and exotic animals, such as both wild and domesticated yaks.

Rtse khog is where my maternal grandmother was born. In fact, this breathtaking prairie is still home to a significant number of my relatives and being home to my beloved grandmother makes this corner of nomadic Tibet very special to me.

This trip was my first visit home without Grandma. Although it’s been two years since her passing, I miss her deeply when I see the gardens she established, and the kitchen utensils she used to cook comforting meals for us. That’s why I decided to make this very trip from Rongwo to Tsekog.

And nothing makes travel more enjoyable and memorable than the small moments when your own brother acts as chauffeur, and sisters, cousins, nieces, and nephew join the fun. Visiting the impressive landscape and animals, with loved ones, thus reconnecting with my nomadic roots made the journey very special for all us.

What a beauty, Tibetan sheep busy grassing on a land that filled with meiduk serjan (a golden-yellow flowers).
Tibetan sheep start the day grazing in the fields filled with meiduk serchin (golden-yellow flowers) that’s typical of this majestic place.


And, of course, these are yaks, dri (female yak) and their babies munching.
Yaks, dri (female yak), and their babies munching on the grass.



A mountain view along the road, my brother stopped driving and patiently waited for me to capture some beauties.


Another view along the road, colorful prayer flags are everywhere near Tibetan villages.


Dowa, a Tibetan village, facing the public road.
Dhowa, a Tibetan village by a river, facing the public road.


A Buddhist temple and several stupas built in the memory of Choekyi Gyltsen, 10th Panchen Lama, at the seat of Tsekug county.


Tibetan yellow mushrooms
A close-up shot of the Tibetan highland’s wild yellow mushrooms.


Looks delicious and want some again, we enjoyed them at night after a big meal.
We had delicious mutton bites after a big meal.



  1. Jolma, thanks for sharing your reflections of your grandmother and photos of the countryside where you grew up. It’s beautiful!

    • Thank you, Doug. I felt quite emotional during this trip because of my close relationship with my late grandmother. And this is only beginning of the story.

  2. I’m glad you could enjoy a wonderful visit with family remembering your grandmother. Such beautiful pictures and words about a beautiful place and people.

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