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Junpa village: The only fishing village in Tibet

2013-08-14 09:22:23

(People's Daily Online)


Boat dancing

The summer sky in Lhasa cannot be bluer. Acres of golden rape flowers make people have this impulse to jump right into the flowers.

Lhasa River imports in Brahmaputra River in Qushui. The road leads to the Junba Village becomes narrower, but the view stays attractive as well.

Junba Village stands out from the other Tibetan villages because it is the only village living by fishing. What Junba Village has is not only the picturesque views, but also the rich cultural heritage. It is quite a rare case as Tibetans do not eat fish. There is an old story behind the scene.

Originally in Tibet, fish is the earthly representative of God, so it is forbidden to be eaten. "There is a legend of the reason why the villagers depend on fishing for a living." Zhasang, an old man in the village talked about the myth. One year, the number of fish in the Lhasa River soared, and some even grew wings and flew up into the sky. The "Flying Fish" even blocked the sun, which made it difficult for all creatures to grow. Therefore, the "god” allowed villagers to kill the fish. Then the fishing tradition comes into being in Junba village. In Tibetan language, "Junba" is the word for "catch", extended to refer to "catcher" or "fisherman."

Fishing cannot be completed without boats; it is strange that boats in the village are made of calf leather, instead of wood. This kind of special boats is weaved together with several pieces of leather and fixed onto the wooden boat keel. After soaking into the water, the leather becomes soft, and lighter after dried up. This special structure can deal well with whitewater rapids and is very portable. “I can catch at least 300 kilograms of fish a day,” a village said with confidence.

The village has developed its own culture of fishing. Every March in Tibet calendar, Junba village will hold the fishing festival. Villagers will carry calf leather boats on their back and perform singing and dancing.

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