A song praising Shangri-La is very popular among the Tibetans, and it reads: “the place that the sun first shines upon is called Jietang (which means Shangri-La in Tibetan language) of the Oriental, and the most holy land on the earth is Shangri-La by the Naizi Riverside”.
Driving westward along the G214 (National Road 214) from Zhongdian, you’ll see the golden roof and red walls of Songzanlin Temple, and then the Bita Sea (Blue Tower Sea) is before your eyes.
As the spiral mountain road greatly broadens your horizon, you’ll find yourself in a village that’s wrapped in fog, and this is Nixi Pottery Village. Nixi Pottery Village is famous for its practical black potteries, most of which are fire pans, fire pots and kettles, and the traditional pottery-making technique that has lasted for thousands of years is still employed by the locals. Though only simple wooden tools such as wooden bats,wooden hammers and wooden separators are used in the village, the pottery-making process is rather complex. First of all, the clays are patted into sticks by the wooden bats, and then they are kneaded into various shapes by hand; at last, they are fired in a kiln after polishing and decorating.
Sunnuo Qilin, a senior folk arts and crafts architect in the village, fires clay potteries at his own home, and he makes over 50 kinds of delicate potteries by controlling the fire well, including butter tea pots, highland barley flagons, fire pans, fire pots, incense burners and butter-burning lamps. Under the guidance of his father, Sunnuo Qilin has engaged in the pottery-making industry for over 40 years;his sons and grandsons also devote themselves to the industry, and almost all of the villagers who follow the profession learn from him.
The old men in their traditional Tibetan costumes and the young people in their fashionable clothes gather together on the streets of the village every night, dancing to the Tibetan music and attracting many visitors to participate each time. The streets are lined with shabby houses, most of which serve as hostels and hotels. Sunflowers are widely grown in the courtyards of the village, which are extremely beautiful under the sun.