Author Biography

Emilia Roza Sulek is a social anthropologist, Mongolist, and Tibetologist. She graduated from the University of Warsaw and received her PhD from the Humboldt University of Berlin. In her dissertation, she analyzed consequences of an economic boom in trade in caterpillar fungus with a focus on agency and entrepreneurship demonstrated in a pastoral region of Golok. She has also written about processes of identity-making and oral history in the ethnically and politically complex borderland areas between the Tibetan plateau and China. She is a lecturer at the Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies, University of Zurich.


2014 was a Horse Year. Such a year, occurring every twelve years in Tibetan calendar, is considered the best time for a pilgrimage, particularly to sacred mountains. In the region of Golok, the most prominent of them is Amnye Machen (A myes rma chen). It takes about one week to perform circumambulation of Amnye Machen in the usual way: on foot. But in 2014, a new possibility opened: to perform the pilgrimage by car. This paper describes the experiences of a car pilgrimage around Amnye Machen which the author performed in 2014. It shows how different the new pilgrimage route is from the one followed by non-motorized pilgrims and how different experiences it brings. It also describes the landscape affected by the establishment of Mt. Amyesrmachen National Geological Park in the area of Amnye Machen and construction works connected to it.


The author thanks Katia Buffetrille, Yūsuke Bessho and Anna Sehnalova for their feedback and sharing the experiences from their pilgrimage to Amnye Machen.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.