The land of buffalo skulls in Ha Giang

Nga Do
On Tay Con Linh mountain range at an altitude of nearly 2,000 m, there is a mysterious area full of buffalo skulls. The area is the homeland of the La Chi ethnic minority people. There are thousands of white buffalo skulls hanging on wooden poles in Phung hamlet in Hoang Su Phi, Ha Giang.

Buffalo skulls are mounted on tombs. The La Chi use buffaloes as sacrifices for the dead. They believe that the dead still need the buffalo to plow on terraced fields, so they send the buffaloes to the dead. The buffalo offering rituals are usually held in July. Looking at the number of buffalo skulls on tombs, one can determine a family’s wealth.

La Chi people believe that offering buffaloes for the dead and the gods will bring luck. The La Chi ethnic group numbers about 10,000 people, residing in several hamlets in the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang. They have been settled in the Tay Con Linh mountain range for a long time, and are known for their masterfully created terraced rice fields.

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