'Sky Road' finally connects Tibetan villages

Updated: 2014-08-19 06:51

By Guo Anfei and Hu Yongqi in Shangri-La, Yunnan(China Daily)

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"To build a road in my hometown is my life long dream," said Sina Dingdru, general manager of Bara Gedzong Tourism Development Co in Shangri-La county of Yunnan province.

The 50-year-old has built an asphalt road, which is 6.5 meters wide and 30 kilometers long, for his hometown that is nestled among cliffs.

The project took about eight years and 300 million yuan ($48.81 million) to complete. The road has made the canyon the second national park in Shangri-La, the Bara Gedzong National Park.

 'Sky Road' finally connects Tibetan villages

Sina Dingdru at the Bara Gedzong Snow Mountain in Yunnan province in 2009. Provided to China Daily

Bara village, Sina Dingdru's home, is located under the Bara Gedzong Snow Mountain at an altitude of about 3,000 meters.

During the past 1,300 years, the village was almost isolated, with only a courier route less than 1 meter wide for transportation.

"We used to complain to ancestors about this remote and inconvenient place," Sina Dingdru said.

As the eldest son in his family, he dropped out of school and farmed with other villagers. Sometimes he would dig out the seed potatoes and secretly buried them under the fire to feed his younger siblings.

At age 13, failing to graduate from primary school, Sina Dingdru walked out of the canyon. He went to Shangri-La, capital of the Diqing Tibet autonomous prefecture, on a curved highway of more than 30 km, which was built in 1979.

'Sky Road' finally connects Tibetan villages

Sina Dingdru struck out on his own in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, with merely 400 yuan he had borrowed. Later, his businesses were all over China. He has accumulated 40 million yuan, and has become a famous man in the Tibetan areas of Yunnan province.

"To build a road and develop tourism in the canyon of Bara Gedzong is to realize my dream," said Sina Dingdru.

Losamg Tashi, a younger brother of Sina Dingdru, said: "When my brother decided to build the road, the whole family disagreed and thought he was crazy."

However, Sina Dingdru overlooked the disagreement and was even more determined to build the road.

He designed the construction route, conducted geographic research himself, and learned about road-building skills for cliffs, deep mountain valleys, and 90-degree, sharp bends.

In building the road, he acquired debt of more than 100 million yuan, which made him no longer a millionaire.

On Sept 10, 2004, road construction from the 214 National Road to Bara village finally started. It is 6.5 meters wide, 35 kilometers long, and passes through four Tibetan villages.

In 2007, he raised 700 million yuan to build the 34.8 km of 10,000-volt power lines from Shangqiaotou village to Bara.

On New Year's Day in 2008, Bara witnessed a historic moment. The road, high voltage electricity, and telephone service was available.

"We festively danced and sang," said villager Losamg Chopi.

Contact the writers at guoanfei@chinadaily.com.cn and huyongqi@chinadaily.com.cn

(China Daily 08/19/2014 page5)