As the Tibetan proverb goes, “Horseracing enjoyed great popularity since Gesar gained his fame; song contest became prevailing since Concubine Zhumu came to the front.” The popular horseracing in Tibetan areas is aimed to commemorate King Gesar the national hero in the hearts of the Tibetans, who was believed to come to the throne by means of horseracing. It was said with the collapse of the Tubo Regime the Plateau ran into a big chaos and the tribes killed in revenge each other year after year, which plunged the people into an abyss of misery. By then the chieftain of the Ling Tribe, considering his old age, issued a notification, which said the horseracing champion would be awarded with the kingship and get married with the beautiful princesses.
With the exception of Gesar, a poor young man only having a lean and small red horse, all the horseracing players, riding on tall horses, were princes of the other tribes. Nevertheless, Gesar won the championship with his outstanding wisdom and equitation and took the throne of the tribe. Since then he established Ling Kingdom, a massive tribal league, and led his 30 senior generals and 80 young generals to match into battles all round to vanquish demons and monsters. Eventually he united about 150 tribe and states and brought permanent peace and luck to the vast grasslands.
The long epic poetry 《King Gesar of Ling》is mainly composed of the stories of King Gesar, and contains all inclusively a good many of knowledge of folk customs, religion, military affairs, agriculture and animal breeding. It is not only a history record but also an important cyclopedia for the study of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. According to statistics by the experts of the “Gesar Study”, this longest 700-volume epic poetry in the world is written in more than 20 million verses, which means《King Gesar of Ling》is 700 times longer than 《Homer》, or 90 times longer than 《Mahabharata》 together with 《Ramayana》.
In Tibetan areas, 《King Gesar of Ling》symbolizes the ideal and pursuit of the Tibetans; To some extent, it, the Tibetan Buddhism, upholds the spiritual sky of the Tibetan nation. The legends and stories of Gesar are expressed in forms of poems, folk songs, hymns, paintings, and Jiangmu (monastic dances).
In some monasteries, the statues of Gesar as well as his generals were established for worship. In the hearts of the Tibetans, Gesar is a brave and resourceful hero, getting rid of bullies and bringing peace to good people; Gesar is the human-god-combined protector, helping the needy and relieving the distressed With the development of the history, Mipang. Jiangyangnangjijiacuo the great master of Nyingma Sect founded the ceremony and ritual of practicing, praying, smoke worshipping and treasure gatheringconcerning of Gesar and his Protector, which brought forth an unique religious cultural phenomena. As Gesar went deep into the people’s hearts, Tibetan troupes emerged in many places as the time required and people warmly welcomed the Tibetan operas relating to King Gesar.
There has long been a dispute about the birthplace of Gesar. As a matter of fact, the birthplace had been described particularly in the epic poetry 《King Gesar of Ling》, “the birthplace is just named as Jishuyagekangduo. Two rivers meet and whisper, the banks face to face like arrow feathers; two grasslands extend like rolling mats; the front mountain resembles to an eagle guarding over its nest; the rear mountain is as green as jade; the right mountain likes a roaring female tiger; and the red cliffs of the left mountain spear upward the sky.” Through many experts’ study and long-year investigation, the birthplace indicated in the poetry is fixed on the Ahaxu Town of Dege on the Ahaxu Grassland. On the twenty-third of August.
2002, the biggest statue of Gesar in the world was completed at Ahaxu Town and thousands of people and experts of Gesar Study came over for celebration. The Shrine of the Family Gesar had gradually developed into the public for people to worship and commemorate. Now people call the shrine as Gesar Commemoration Hall.
The remains concerning Gesar are available to be seen in every corner of Dege. The Ling Kingdom was formerly divided into three parts; the tribes of Middle Ling Part inhabited in the area of the present-day Gongya Town, where the Gudujiacha Site remained. Besides, Shengzhoudazezhong Castle, built by Gesar at present Ozhi Town, covers an area of 40,000 square meters. It was once the temporary dwelling place of Gesar, and serves as an important practical proof of Gesar’s earliest capital.
Furthermore, many placenames of Dege are related to Gesar and his generals and his concubines. For examples, Zhumu, one of the concubines of Gesar was be enamored with Yulong Lacuo (the Xinluhai Lake) at the first sight; Gesar at his young age worked as a shepherd at Dagunxiangranni; Maixiuluoyou was the old stockaded village owned by the son of Jiacha, one of the famous generals of Gesar.