Places of Interest in Tibet .
P L A C E S  OF  I N T E R E S T

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Places  Of  Interest  in  Tibet

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

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.

Potala Palace:
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:
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.

Barkhor Bazaar:
The oldest street of ancient Lhasa circles the Jokhang Temple.
Potala Palace.

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.

Drepung Monastery:
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 Monastery
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.

Ganden Monastery
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.

Tashilungpo 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.

Samye Monastery
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.

Tsetang Valley

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
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.

Sakya Monastery
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 Himalayas
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
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 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 seen.

C E N T R A L - T I B E T
L H A S A - K A T H M A N D U
M O U N T  -  K A I L A S H
   Lhasa to Mount Kailash Tour 


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