This is our second post on Songpan and its culture!
Around the year 640, Songtsen Gampo, one of the most famous Tibetan kings, made a request of Chinese Emperor Taizong, Second Emperor of the Great Tang Dynasty, to marry a Chinese courtesan. When his request was approved, legend says that Princess Wenchang was sent to Songpan to meet Songtsen Gampo. From there they traveled to Lhasa, which was the new Tibetan capital. As a Buddhist, her influence in court helped spread Buddhism throughout Tibet.
Bon is the original Tibetan religion, historically practiced among all Tibetan regions. But with the introduction of Buddhism, it became mainly practiced in outlying Tibetan areas, including Songpan, where there are five temples in the region. At many temples, you will find a combination of Bon and Buddhist beliefs.
During May and June, you will see many vendors processing the nearby harvest of Cordyceps sinensis, a highly desired element of Chinese medicine, literally translated to mean “winter worm, summer grass.”