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狮泉河镇 · ནག་ཆུ་གྲོང་རྡལ།
Shiquanhe is located in Tibet
Coordinates: 32°31′N 80°04′E / 32.517°N 80.067°E / 32.517; 80.067
Country People's Republic of China
Region Tibet
Prefecture Ngari
County Gar
Elevation 4,255 m (13,960 ft)
Time zone CST (UTC+8)
Postal code 859000
Chinese name
Simplified Chinese 狮泉河
Traditional Chinese 獅泉河
Tibetan name
Tibetan སེང་གེ་ཁ་འབབ།

Sênggêzangbo (Tibetan: Tibetan: སེང་གེ་ཁ་འབབ་, named after Sênggê Zangbo, a river in Ngari), or Shiquanhe (Chinese: 狮泉河镇, i.e. "Lion Spring River Town"), is the main town of Ngari Prefecture,[1] Tibet. Shiquanhe is located on the confluence of Sênggê Zangbo (Indus River) and Gar River.

Historically the town was also known as Ger.[2] This name, in the form "Gar" (simplified Chinese: 噶尔; traditional Chinese: 噶爾; pinyin: Ga'er), is now used to refer to the entire county; however, as the custom with Chinese county seats is, Gar is often used to refer to the county seat as well, and it may be labeled that way on maps.[3]

Being the main town of Ngari Prefecture (which is known in Chinese under the Sinicized form of its name, Ali Prefecture), the town is also commonly known in English as Ngari or Ali (Chinese: 阿里; pinyin: Ālǐ) Town; this is what many guidebooks use as the primary name for the town.[4] In Tibetan, Ngari is only the name for the prefecture, and not the town.

The name Shiquanhe is originally the name of the river; in Tibetan, it is Sengge Zangbo (in SASM/GNC/SRC transcriptions, sometimes simply Senge Zangbo),[1] Senge Zangbu (森格藏布) or Sengghe Tsangpo (in a transcription used in Western books).[4] The source of that river, a hot spring, supposedly, looks like the lion's mouth; thus the name, interpreted as "river flowing from the lion's mouth".[1][4]

When the Ngari Prefecture of the PRC was established in 1959, its capital was at the place named Kunsa, located elsewhere in Gar County. It was moved from there to Shiquanhe in 1965, due to the extremely difficult living conditions in Kunsa.[1] At that time, Shiquanhe's population was merely 400.[1]

The modern Chinese-style town is situated at the confluence of the Indus and Gar River.[5] According to a government-affiliated source, the population of Shiquanhe had grown from just over 1,500 to over 20,000 in 30 years (1978–2008), and people there now "enjoy their life because the city has been equipped with culture and commerce facilities".[6] Western guidebook writers have referred to the place as a "concrete monstrosity of a town".[4]

The place has several primary schools and a secondary school.[1]

Ali has two banks, but only the Agricultural Bank of China, near the army post west of the roundabout, will change foreign currency. There is also a main post office near the roundabout.


Ngari Gunsa Airport, near the town of Shiquanhe, started operations on 1 July 2010, becoming the fourth civil airport in Tibet.[7]

Air China's southwestern branch will operate flight services from Chengdu to Lhasa and on to Ngari – a total of 2,300 km (1,400 mi) – every Tuesday and Friday. "The flight leaves Chengdu at 5:50 AM and arrives at Lhasa two hours later," Bao Lida, a company press official was quoted as saying. "It leaves Lhasa at 8:40 AM and arrives at Ngari at 10:20 AM." the 1,098 km (682 mi) Lhasa-Ngari flight service would start from 2,590 yuan (About US $400). The report said Air China expects to transport 50-60 passengers in winter and 20-30 passengers in summer during each flight service.[8]


Shiquanhe has a arid highland subarctic climate(BWk)

Climate data for Shiquanhe
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) −4
Average low °C (°F) −20
Average precipitation mm (inches) 3
Source: Weatherbase [9]

Shiquanhe Observatory[edit]

China, Japan, and South Korea are currently entertaining plans to construct a large high-altitude observatory on a ridge 25 km south of Shiquanhe, which was selected after a series of site surveys through Tibet and western China for candidate sites. Atmospheric conditions from the site's 5050m above sea level have been roughly characterized, initial facilities (including two small domes) have been built, and a 25 cm pathfinder telescope project is in place as of 2012, with 50 and 60 cm telescopes planned for 2013 and 2014 and a 3m telescope in the indefinite future: but the ambitions for the site include the possibilities of megaprojects like a 30m-class competitor to E-ELT and a 10-20m class spectrometer as a sequel to LAMOST.[10][11]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Ngari, China's Tibet (in French), Editions Intercontinetales de China (五洲传播出版社), 2001, pp. 14–18, ISBN 7-80113-835-X  (This book uses SASM/GNC/SRC transcriptions)
  2. ^ [1] Archived November 12, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ E.g., 使用中国地图集 (Shiyong Zhongguo Dituji, "Practical Atlas of China"), 2008, ISBN 978-7-5031-4772-2; map of Tibet on pp. 142-143
  4. ^ a b c d Buckley, Michael (2006), Tibet, Bradt Travel Guide (2 ed.), Bradt Travel Guides, pp. 222–223, ISBN 1-84162-164-1 
  5. ^ Dorje (1999), p. 1151.
  6. ^ [2] Archived July 21, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "Tibet's fourth civil airport opens". Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  8. ^ [3] Archived July 9, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Shiquanhe, China". Weatherbase. 2011.  Retrieved on November 24, 2011.
  10. ^ "China invites Japan and South Korea to build observatory in disputed Shiquanhe (Aksai Chin)". Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  11. ^ "Science Magazine: Sign In". Retrieved 17 February 2015. 


  • Dorje, Gyurme. (1999). Footprint Tibet Handbook with Bhutan. (2nd Ed.) Footprint Handbooks, Bath, England. ISBN 0-8442-2190-2.

External links[edit]