|Lhasa (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 Temple.
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
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 to Lhasa.
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 to Tsetang.
Yumbu 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 palace.
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 the Second".
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.
The 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 memories!
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
Ruins of Guge Kingdom
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