Korla Off The Beaten Path Tips by kokoryko
Korla Off The Beaten Path: 4 reviews and 20 photos
Running for his life in the desert
At the fringes of the desert you can still find life, before the emptiness; here is water, there are trees and in the sand, there are small bugs which are fun to watch at. And of course, there is the desert vessel, the camel! The ones here were in a paddock, where they have been driven few minutes before. They probably do not anymore the travels their ancestors did through deserts and mountains. They are the Bactrian camels with two humps, and they looked nice to me!
Main picture:This bug here, trying to escape the two-legged predator (I could not explain this Chinese bug I just wanted to watch him, not kill or eat him!) was located when the picture was taken at : latitude 41°02’53.12N and longitude 86°26’06.45E
Picture 2: The sand dunes with the ripples like combed by the wind.
Picture 3: And here, Kokoryko watching the life in the sand.
Picture 4: The camel; there was a herd of about 25 camels in the paddock; I do not know for what they are used nowadays, as there are trucks and tractors who do the job they did before.
Picture 5: What do you want?
Water and sand
I was in Korla for my work, but being there and not going to the desert would have been a shame!! So I managed to convince my colleagues that it was very important for me to see the desert and to have a walk there.
The Takla Makan is a very wide desert of about 340.000 square kilometres, known to be a very harsh environment with diurnal temperature changes of more than 35°; Summer temperatures reach 50°c and in winter they drop down to -40°C; not a lot of life is present in the sand dunes or the gravel plains; I red that there are even no snakes or scorpions; must be very hard. . . .
This desert is located between Tian Shan in the North and the Kunlun Mountain in the south; both mountains eventually merge in the west at the Pamir. To the East, the Altyn Tagh range prolongates the Kunlun and the Gansu Corridor closes the Tarim Basin to the East.
I visited a branch of the Tarim river in the north of Takla Makan, and it was a wonderful and strange view, this water between the high sand dunes.
Luoburen is a place which has been fitted out for tourists, but it is not on a lot of maps or guides; it is located as follows:
It was not a real trip in the desert, just a few hours (and my colleagues got me a bit nervous calling to go back every 5 or 10 minutes!!), but I liked it and I will visit this desert “seriously” one day, “enjoying” the 50°C!%s*%f*%c*
Main picture: Water between the sand dunes; the river will disappear in the sands of the desert few km from here.
Picture 2: Another picture of water and sand; colours are a bit different.
Picture 3: Behind the high dune the river and the trees; people say the area is very well known by landscape photographers who come here capture the autumn light.
Picture 4:modified colours and contrast, to see a bit fro the blue of water.
Picture 5:Boat and bridge in the desert.
So, who is in the graves? I red in a Chinese guide about Sin Kiang that a princess and her lover are here; they are said to have died for freedom and love, princess Tzuohla of Yanqi kingdom and Tayi a simple shepherd; trying to escape the soldiers sent by the princess’s father they died falling from the cliffs; the father ordered the graves to be build there. It is a Uygur legend.
Now the graves look a bit lost and desolate; from there you can see Korla to the south but, more interesting are the Tian Shan (heaven mountains) to the north, with their eternal snow on the summits.
Main picture: Arriving at the little kiosk with the graves;
Picture 2: The two tombs, a bit decorated and re-decorated by modern graffiti; the high mountains at the back, I would like to have a view on high mountains for my eternal rest; but I have time to think about.
Picture 3: This statue on a hill on the right, when going up represents the two young people fleeing on their horse.
Picture 4: The Tian Shan in the background; the weather seems always to be that misty in this season here!
Picture 5: Another little kiosk, further North. Did not find information about this one.
Gate to the Iron pass
Tiemenguan means something like iron pass gorge; this place is a few kilometres north of Korla, and as it name tells it, is in the mountains. In ancient times it was an important point on the route from the North into the Tarim. The gorge is now occupied by a dam and its lake and there is easy access from the village at the entrance of the gorge. To have a nice view over the area, we decided to climb on a stairway (yes, Chinese are amazing for that, they build stairways in the middle of nowhere. . . ) which leads to a summit above the gorge. On this summit is a small kiosk which shelters two graves. Who is in these tombs?
To get there, have a look on the map; then you may park your car before the gate where also a nice red building stands on the left.
Go through the village keeping on the right streets, and the stairway will appear; then, just climb up.
Main picture: Entrance gate of the village
Picture 2:Red building at the entrance of the village
Picture 3:There was still snow and ice in the riverbed by end March; the mountains look desolate with almost no vegetation; it is a desertic mountain.
Picture 4: The stairway leads up the hill and then to the little kiosk; left on the picture is Korla; the mountain is very dry.
Picture 5: Google Earth picture showing how to get there.
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