Dege Printing House
In a world of digital media, the traditional method of carved woodblock printing continues to play a vital role in preserving and disseminating Tibet’s body of knowledge and cultural heritage.
Early in the 18th century, the Dege Printing House (Dege Parkhang) was built by an influential ruling family over a period of thirty years. At the time, it was a sign power and prosperity. The first commission was the hand carving of the Tripitaka which took hundreds of craftsmen over eighteen years to complete.
From there, the publishing house evolved into printing copious texts and images in the fields of religion, history, medicine, literature, astronomy, and more. Its fame quickly spread throughout the Tibetan Plateau and it became the principal storehouse of Tibetan culture. It continues to flourish and print texts, on demand, for temples, scholars, and readers, some of which can be ordered online and shipped worldwide. http://www.degeparkhang.org/store.html
Surprisingly, it is not located in Lhasa but in the Ganze prefecture of Sichuan which was once an important region of Kham. It stands as a 4-storey building for supplies, printing blocks, drying areas and of course, space for dozens of workers.
Despite its long history and cultural significance, Dege Printing House is only beginning to emerge as a tourist attraction. Not easy to reach, it requires a scenic but challenging drive over a 5,000-meter pass. A tunnel is currently under construction that will make it more accessible and as well, there are plans for a nearby airport.
If you're visiting Kham, don’t miss Dege. Other than the town of Dege (3,200 m 10,500 ft.) and the Printing House, there are many monasteries to visit and a great depth of Tibetan culture to see and experience.