Getway to Kanas Lake
Located in the middle of the Kanas Lake and the south of Hemu Village, Jiadengyu is a summer village inhabited by Kazakh nomad. It is also the gateway to Kanas Lake and Hemu Village. A lot of hikers would start their hiking route into Hemu from here. Jiadengyu is one of the must see for tourist in Northern Xinjiang.
Tourists usually stay in Jiadengyu and move to Kanas Lake the next morning. From Jiadengyu to Kanas, the distance is about 37 km. There are few types of accommodation in Jiadengyu, some are European style building which offer better facilities and some are yurts/tent. The condition in the yurts are poor but many would still prefer to choose to stay in the yurts to experience the simple life of the Kazakh herders.
Jiadengyu is on a plain between the two mountains. Every summer start from May to October, more than 100 Kazakh yurts form a huge circle on the plain.
Legend has it that Jiadeng is a mysterious hunter. He has been hunting alone in the mountains for a long time. He was a skilled hunter and could easily find and kill his prey, but not many people have seen him. Jiadeung also cares for others, he hunt the prey for the weak and poor and quietly leave the prey in front of their house daily. When people wake up in the morning, they find all kind of prey in front of their house. Everyone knew it was sent by Jiadeng but no one ever seen his real person. Suddenly one day, the people found no prey in front of their house. And same goes for second and third day. So people started to do a search on Jiadeng as they worried something bad may happen to Jiadeng. After searching for a month, the people found a dead white-haired man in mountain cave. He was dead and beside him was all the hunting equipment. Hence people concluded this man should be Jiadeng and brought him to the mountain to bury him. The people also build a wooden house beside his grave. Since then, the people has been worshipping Jiadeng’s wooden house every year, maintaining and repairing the little house. The name “JiaDengyu” means the place where Jiadeng lived.
I was here in the summer also the perfect season to visit Jiadengyu and Kanas Lake. The weather in summer is good, pretty cooling during the day but quite cold in the morning and night. However, the peak season is in September where you can see more colors in the woods.
Along the journey to Jiadengyu, we see many yurts/tents built in the open grassland, together with sheep, cows and horses. The yurts here look similar to the Mongolian yurt but they are actually not the same. Even the name in Chinese are called in different way.
Kazakh Yurt / 哈萨克毡房 vs Mongolian Yurt / 蒙古包
A yurt is a portable housing constructed with wooden frame and wool covering. They are traditionally used by Turkic nomads who tend sheep and cows. According to our tour guide, the difference is, there is no windows in the Kazakh Yurt compared to the Mongolian yurt. The opening is at the top of the yurt for Kazakh Yurt. When the Kazakh light up the fire in the middle of the yurt, you can see the smoke coming out from the top of the yurt.
We also stopped by at one of the tourist spot for toilet break. It is one of the Kazakh theme park which sell Kazakh’s souvenir such as embroidery as the Kazakh ladies are good at it.
As usual, security is tight even in the rural mountain area, police officers can be seen everywhere. The police is also from the Kazakh minority and look very handsome so one of the tour member ask to take picture with him and he gladly agreed.
Kazakh Minority in China
There are about 1.4 million Kazakhs living in Xinjiang China. Kazakhs are mainly engaged in animal breeding. They are good at needle work, and the embroidery products can be seen sewing in the Kazakh’s yurt. Kazakhs are widely seen near this region, Altay Mountain and Tianshan Mountains. Most Kazakhs are muslim. Both men and women are good horse riders. During the festivals, young men usually play the snatching sheep matches ( like a Polo game), horse racing and chasing girls game can be seen as their old tradition.
This part of the ground here look naked, the Kazakh yurt was placed here before we arrived but have moved, well they are nomads 🙂 . Glad to learn that the Kazakh yurt is easy to carry, build and dismantle. They can move to any place they want to.
We also stopped along the highway half an hour to Jiadengyu to check on the little yellow flowers as we don’t get to see such huge yellow plains back home. But I have seen similar landscape in Scottish border in UK. The whole plain is covered with little yellow flowers too.
Final thoughts :
Situated at an altitude of 1600 m, Jiadengyu is the getway to Kanas Lake. It is also the base of Kanas tourism reception. Tourists usually stay here because there is no accommodation in Kanas. Glad I have experience the Jiadengyu grassland with the view of Altay mountains. The layers of mountains, blue sky, white clouds, green forest and Kazakh yurts blend a picturesque scenery of Xinjiang.