Places Of Interest in Tibet
is the best place to experience the true Buddhism and
Culture. It has taken many years to come to today's
shape. When in Tibet one gets a feeling of being in
a different part of the world. The monasteries built
centuries back, the open grasslands, the unique and
unspoiled lakes, the snow carved mountains are always
worth visiting. Its like being addicted; the more you
visit the more you want to go further and want to know
more about this beautiful land
(11850 ft) - The land of Gods
"Lhasa" in Tibetan means "the
land of gods" and is the capital of the Tibet Autonomous
Region is located between 29o 36'N and 19o 06' E at
the north bank of Kyichu river, a tributary of the Yarlung
Tsangpo River, at an altitude of 3650 meters above he
sea level. Lhasa has history of more than 1300 years
and it's been the center of politics, economy, culture
and religion in Tibet since ancient times. There are
numerous scenic spots and historical attractions, among
which Potala Palace, Norbulingka, Drepung Monastery,
Sera Monastery, Jokhang Temple and Ramoche Temple, being
the most famous.
The Potala, one of the most famous architectural
works of our nations, is erected on top of the Red Hill
in Lhasa. The word "Potala" comes from Sanskrit.
In the 7th century, after the Tibetan King Songtsen
Gampo's marriage with Princess Wencheng of the Tang
Court, the Palace was built for meditation. In the mid-17th
century, it was re-built by the 5th Dalai Lama to its
present size, and ever since it became the Winter Palace
of the Dalai Lamas. The construction took fifty years
from its beginning to completion. The Potala is divided
into two sections, namely, the Red Palace and White
Palace. The total height of the Potala is 117 meters
which is built in thirteen storeys, the length of the
Palace from east to west has 400 meters and the breadth
from south to north has 350 meters. The whole building
is a structure of stone and timber. The top most flat
glistens with golden roofs. It is a majestic architectural
work and the cream Tibetan culture and complex of Tibetan
and Han culture.
Jokhang Temple situated in the center of the old
section of Lhasa, and was built in the mid - 7th century
A. D. and later extended by successive rulers, it has
now become a gigantic architecture complex. Located
in the east, facing to the west, it is a four storeyed
Temple with splendid golden roofs. It has architecture
feature of Tang Dynasty and also assimilated very much
features from both Nepalese and Indian Buddhist Temples.
The murals in the temple mainly depict the life stories
of historic characters. The temple houses many historical
relics since Tang Dynasty and statues of King Songtsen
Gompo, Princess Wencheng, Princess Bhrikuti Devi (Nepalese).
"Princess Willow" (a tree), and "The
Uncle - Nephew Alliance Tablet" can be seen at
the front gate of the temple. Jokhang is the country'
s spiritual center, and the holiest destination for
Tibetan Buddhist pilgrims. It houses the sitting statue
of Sakyamuni when he was 12 years old.
The oldest street of ancient Lhasa circles the Jokhang
The name means "Jeweled Garden", a fitting
title for this 200 years old park, stretching over 360,000
sq. m. The 370 rooms summer palace of the Dalai Lama
is located inside the park in Lhasa.
Situated five Km's distance to the western suburb
of Lhasa at the foot of Mt. Ganpoi Uze. Drepung Monastery,
was founded in 1416 by Jamyang Choje, a disciple of
Tsongkapa, the founder of Gelugpa Sect. The monastery,
occupying an area of 250,000 squire meters with a fixed
number of 7,700 monks, is the largest monastery in Tibet.
The monastery keeps plentiful historical relics, Buddhist
scriptures, arts and crafts.
Sera means "hailstone" in Tibetan. Set
at the foot of the Wudu Hill to the north of Lhasa City,
Sera is comprised of a great sutra chanting hall, a
college and 32 sections. Situated at three Km's distance
to the northern suburb of Lhasa. Jamchen Choje, a disple
of Tsongkapa, founded sera Monastery in 1419, a disciple
of Tsongkapa, the founder of Gelugpa Sect. The monastery
is erected grandly at a mountain slope with a colourful
architecture. Sera Monastery together with Ganden Monastery
and Drepung Monastery in Lhasa are known as the Three
Great Monasteries of Tibet.
Located in Taktse Country, founded in 1409 by Tsongkapa,
the founder of the Gelugpa Sect, it is the earliest of
the Three Great Monasteries of Tibet.
Gyantse (13050 ft):
A small agricultural town famous for its wool carpets
and the Phalkor Choide Chorten.Between the monastery
and the fort, this unique structure built in 1414 consists
of five stories representing the five steps to enlightenment,
topped by thirteen rings which symbolize the stages
of advancement towards Buddhahood. There are 108 halls
inside, each with frescoes and Buddha Shrines, the frescoes
showing a strong Indian influence. Before 1959 traders
coming from Kalimpong and Gangtok (India) used to enter
Tibet through Yandong and then to Gyantse, en route
Palcho Monastery and Khumbum Stupa:
Located in Gyantse town and founded jointly by Kedup
Je of the Gelugpa Sect and Rabten Kunsang of the Sakyapa
Sect in 1418. Palcho Monastery has a special influence
over Tibet's Buddhism owing to its being a unity of
three different sects, the Gelungpa, the Sakyapa and
Bhuton Sect, in one single monastery. The famous Kumbum
pagoda stands nine storeys with its 108 doors and 77
chapels containing clay sculptures and various murals.
The pagoda is said to have 100,000 images, either sculptured
or painted, this also earns its name to "100,000
- Image Pagoda".
Shigatse (Xigatse) - 12600 ft.
"Shigatse" in Tibetan means " the Estate
that fulfills one's Wishes". There is a bustling
'free' market at the foot of the ruins of the Xigatse
Fortress where one can buy local handicrafts embedded
with coral and turquoise, Tibetan daggers, Chinese porcelain
and yak butter.
It is situated between 29o 02'N and 88o 08'E in the south
- west of the Tibet Autonomous Region where Nyangchu River
joins the Yarlung Tsangpo River. Shigatse is the second
biggest town in Tibet and it is the center of transportation
and the distributing center of agriculture and husbandry
products of south eastern part of Tibet. It is famous
for the great Monastery.
It is the biggest Gelugpa monastery in the Tsang
region of Tibet. It is located in the town of Sigatse
and was founded by Gedun Drup, a disciple of Tsongkapa,
the founder of the Gelungpa Sect. Gedun Drup was later
recognized as the first Dalai Lama. It was formerly
built in 1447 and continuously expanded by the successive
Panchen Lamas. The Ngagpa College (Tantric College),
one of its four monastic colleges, was the residence
of the Panchen lamas. The most amazing image in this
monastery is the statue of the giant Maitreya (Future
Buddha) erected by the 9th Panchen Lama in 1914, and
took four years for its establishment. This giant statue
stands twenty six meters in height and 275 Kg. of solid
gold, great quantity of precious things such as pearls,
turquoises, corals and ambers have absolved for its
construction. The 4th Panchen Lama's funeral stupa was
built in 1662 and it stands eleven meters high and it
covered with solid gold and silver.
It is the first monastery ever built in Tibet. It
was founded by the Tibetan King Trisiong Detsen and
belongs to the Nyingmapa and Sakyapa sects. The construction
consists of three styles, namely, the Han, the Tibetan
and the Indian. It is said that the monastery was destroyed
by fire and was rebuilt three hundred years as the residence
of the 6th Dalai Lama. Finally, it was completed by
Rating Rimpoche. To visit this monstery a ferry across
the Yarlung Zangpo river has to be taken from the road
Lagang - the oldest building in Tibet.
Yumbu Lagang, situated in Nedong country of Lhoka Prefecture,
Yumbu Langang is said to be the first palace in Tibetan
history and built in the second century B.C. The palace,
facing west, stands lofty on top of the hill. Statues
of the Three Periods of Buddha, Tibetan king Nyatri
Tsenpo, Lha Tho - Tho - Ri Nyantsen, Tri Ralpachen,
Songtsen Gampo and Trisong Detsen are enshrined in the
Tumuli of Ancient Kings
Situated in Chongye country, Lhoka Preference, the
tumuli are referred to a group of tombs of kings in
Tubo Kingdom. The tombs are massive knolls of earth
with flat tops like platforms. There are eight or mine
tombs can be obviously seen among which the tombs of
King Songtsen Gampo, Tride Tsukten and Trissong Detsen
can be well identified.
Shalu monastery, located within the Salu village
near Shigatse. Shalu Monastery was built in the year
1000 by Jetsun Sherab Jungne. The architecture of the
monastery with a feature of completely Chinese Yuan
Dynasty's temple, it is a rare and unique work of art,
mixed feature of Tibetan and Han. The monastery enshrines
various relics such as religious objects, Buddhist scriptures
written on "pattra" leaves, and an important
decree of Pagpa, the Sakya abbot.
Located in Skaya Country, about 30 kms off the Shigatse-Xegar
highway. The monastery stood in two parts on either
side of Dongchu River. This monastery is the center
of the Sakyapa Sect (White Earth Order). The northern
part of the monastery was built in the year 1079 and
the southern founded in 1268 by a famous abbot of Sakya
named Pagpa who once had ruled the whole of Tibet under
the Yuan Dynasty's supervision. The monastery has great
influence over the Tibetan history and cultural development.
The State Council of PRC has classified it the national
level protected monuments. Owing to its valuable and
voluminous amount of Buddhist sutras and cultural remains,
the monastery is often considered as the "Tunhuang
Zhangmu (7000 ft.):
Better known by it's Tibetan name, Khasa. A small
settlement clinging to a hillside 10Kms. from the Friendship
Bridge across the Bhotekoshi river. Since the closure
of the China/India border from Gangtok, Zhangmu has
become the major trading point between Tibet and Nepal.
The climate is quite different from the hinterland.
The hills around Zhangmu are heavily wooded with many
waterfalls in summer and impressive ice formations it
winter. It has a bank, a post office, a government store,
and is presently undergoing a construction boom to meet
the demands of trade and tourism.
Nyalamu (12200 ft.):
Known as 'Kuti' to Nepalese traders, tucked into
a fertile valley, Nyalamu used to be an important trade
centre. Nowadays, barrack style Chinese communes surround
the typical old flat roofed, mud-brick houses. Although
vegetation is sparse, one can see an abundance of alpine
fauna of the hillside during the summer months.
Xegar (13800 ft.):
A new Chinese commune built at the foot of the ruins
of Xegar Dzong, 7 kms. from the main road. With a population
of 3000, it is the centre of this large and remote area
and a base from which expeditions to Mt. Everest and
other peaks are launched.
Yamdok Yumtso - The Sacred Lake
Yamdok Yumtso, one of the three largest lakes of
Tibet, lies about a hundred kilometer's' distance to
the southwest of Lhasa. The surface of the lake, with
its fathomless depth, covers some six hundred squire
kilometers. To the interior of the lake ten or so hilly
islands stand independently one from the other which
give homes to flocks of wide ducks. Fish in the lake
is plentiful and tasty for diet.
The mighty Himalayas, like a silver screen zigzags
along Tibet's southern horizon. It possesses eleven
peaks over 8000 meters above sea level, among which
five lie along the Sino - Nepalese boundary line, namely,
Mt. Qomolangma (Mt. Everest) (8848m), the world's highest
peak, Mt. Lhotse (8516m), the world's fourth highest
peak, Mt Makalu (8463 m) the fifth highest, Mt. Cho
Oyu (8201m), the sixth highest and Mt. Shisha Pangma
(8012m) the 14th highest. Some thirty peaks over 7000
meters and many more are above 6000 meters also in this
same Shigarse region.
landscape at the northern side of the Himalayas is as
attractive as it is in the south. World's highest glaciers
are found at the northern slope of the Himalayas, which
are mysteriously in wait for man's exploration. A trip
to the Himalayas would bring one a lot of unforgettable
Mt. Everest (Qomolangma)
Qomolangma Meaning " Goddess" in Tibetan,
is the highest mountain on earth with an altitude of
8848m. Mount Qomolangma, known to the western world
as Mt. Everest, stands a the south of Tingri in the
southern Tibet, on the border land of the central Himalayas,
between China and Nepal, capped with accumulated eternal
snow. The optimum weather on Mount Qomolangma is from
April to June, an golden period for mountaineers. Each
year a great number brave robust mountaineers come from
all over the world to tour and climb Mount Qomolangma,
hoping to fulfil a life-long wish by climbing and looking
out the world's highest peak.
Mt Kailash & Lake Manasarovar
Mt. Kailash a 6,675 m. rock pyramid is regarded
by Buddhists and Hindus as the abode of the gods and
the earthly manifestation of the mythical Mount Mera,
Pillar of the Universe. For over a thousand years devout
pilgrims of both religious have ritually circulated
this sacred mountain and the holy lake Mansarover in
act of worship, which continues even today.
Ruins of Guge
Situated in Tsada country of Ngari Prefecture, Guge
Kingdom was originally built in 10th century. According
to historical records some sixteen hereditary kings
had dorminated this Kingdom. The extentive Guge kingdom
ruins are found on a hillside about 300 meters in height.
The ruins cover an area of 180000 squire meters, and
includes more than 300 meters chapels, 300 caves, 3
stups each about 10 meters in height and five magnificent
temples and palaces. In the temples many lively murals
and clay sculptures can be still seen.