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
(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
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 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.
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 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.
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
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.