Tibet Things to Do Tips by mad4travel
Tibet Things to Do: 243 reviews and 562 photos
Mt Everest, waay in the distance....
This is supposedly one of the best views of Mt Everest from the highway. Personally I don't think its all that impressive as its hidden by brown hills but you may beg to differ.
From here on in the road from Lhasa to Kathmandu gets rather impressive with 6 peaks over 8000m and lots of snowy peaks.
There is a steep descent over 4000m to the Nepal border and the scenery quickly changes form mountain peaks to steep valleys and cloud forest.
It was truly a magnificent drive.
Unfortunately, while the scenery was great the road conditions were not, as much is under construction so there are lots of delays and traffic jams on narrow roads with sheer drops below. It all added to the excitement for me tho!
Drepung Monastery is one of the great 3 university monasteries of Tibet. The other two are Ganden and Sera.
Drepung is the largest of all Tibetan monasteries, and indeed at its peak was the largest monastery of any religion in the world. It was founded in 1416 It is located on the Gambo Utse mountain, 5 kilometers from the western suburb of Lhasa. At its largest, before the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1959, the monastery housed fifteen thousand celibate monks. It was known for the high standards of its academic study, and was called the "Nalanda" of Tibet, a reference to the great Buddhist monastic university of Nalanda.
Drepung is divided into what are known as the seven great colleges -It can be a useful analogy to think of Drepung as a university along the lines of Oxford or the Sorbonne in the middle ages, the various colleges having different emphases, teaching lineages, or traditional geographical affiliations.
Today the population at the monastery is much smaller with merely a few hundred monks, due to population capping enforced by the Chinese government.
Fantastic Scenery on the road to Nepal
This is a much better view of an 8000m peak on the road from Lhasa to Kathmandu
Tashilunpo monastery, Shigatze
The Tashilunpo monastery is one of the great religious centres in Tibet. It was almost untouched by the cultural revolution and contains numerous impressive chapels and prayer halls.
The Monastery was founded in 1447 and is the largest Yellow Hat sect monastery in Tibet. Shigaste is Tibet’s 2nd most important city and Tashilunpo was the seat of the Panchen Lamas.
At its peak, Tashilunpo had more than 4,000 monks in its 4 monasteries. Upon the death of a Panchen Lama, it was the 4 abbots of these monasteries that would lead the search for his infant reincarnation.
The monastery is a striking red, white and black Tibetan structure with a golden roof. Within the monastery there is a 5 story temple, which contains a 26 meters (86ft) sitting statue of the Maitreya Buddha. The statue was cast from 6,700 ounces of gold and over 115,000 kg of copper, making it the biggest copper Buddhist statue in the world.
Kumbum Stupa, Gyantze
A Kumbum is a multi-storied aggregate of Buddhist chapels in Tibet.
Only three Kumbums are said to exist. The best known is the Gyantse Kumbum.
A further Kumbum is at Kumbum Monastery (Ta'er Si) near Xining in modern Qinghai province in China
Concecrated in AD 1436, this structure contains 108 chapels in its four floors, and is illustrated with over 10,000 murals.
The Kumbum at Gyantse is a three dimensional mandala, meant to portray the Buddhist cosmos. The Kumbum, like other mandalas, which are portrayed by a circle within a square, enables the devotee to take part in the Buddhist perception of the universe and can depict one's potential as they move through it.
Mandalas are meant to aid an individual on the path to enlightenment. The Kumbum holds a vast number of images of deities throughout its structure with Vhajra Dhara, the cosmic Buddha, at the top.
Pelke Chode Monastery ,Gyantse
The Palcho Monastery or Pelkor Chode Monastery is the main monastery in Gyantse.
It is most notable for its Kumbum stupa which has 108 chapels in its four floors.
The monastery was founded in 1418
In the early 20th century, the town and monastery were attacked by British soldiers and bullet holes remain in the monastery to this day.
Its a bit of a climb to the top but its worth it for the views.
Chinese influence in Gyantse
Gyantse is 3,977 metres (13,050 feet) above sea level, and is located on the Friendship Highway, which connects Kathmandu, Nepal to Lhasa, Tibet.
Gyantse is the fourth largest city in Tibet (after Lhasa, Sigatse and Chamdo). It is often referred to as the "Hero City" because during the British Younghusband expedition of 1904, the 500 soldiers of the Gyantse fort resisted in a siege of several weeks, before they were by overcome by the superior equipment of the British.
Gyantse is notable for the Kumbum of the Palcho Monastery. Commissioned in 1440, this religious structure contains 108 chapels in its four floors, and is illustrated with over 10,000 murals, the last of its type in Tibet. Many of the new clay statues are of less artistry than the destroyed originals - but they are still spectacular.
Yamdrok Tso Lake. Nice innit?
Yamdrok Lake is one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet It is over 45 miles long.
The lake is surrounded by many snow-capped mountains and is fed by numerous small streams outlet stream at its far western end.
According to local mythology, Yamdok Yumtso lake is the transformation of a goddess.
Around 90 km to the west of the lake lies the Tibetan town of Gyantse and Lhasa is a hundred km to the northwest. At the time I travelled the road to Gyantse was closed for construction so we had to take the longer route via Shigatse.
The lake has a power station that was completed and dedicated in 1996 near the small village of Pai-Ti at the lake’s western end. This power station is the largest in Tibet.
Barkhor Square, Lhasa
This is a great place to sit and people watch. Unfortunately there is nowhere to sit so you have to sit on the ground.
The Barkhor is the main square and surrounding streets in Lhasa and the only real traditional tibetan part of town as it is surrounded on all sides by wide chinese boulevards and chinese shops.
There is a tourist market in the surrounding streets and stals for pilgrims to buy their religious artefacts. You are expected to bargain if buying from the stalls. On the whole you don't get too much hassle from the stallholders but the odd one can be a bit aggresive dragging you by the arm to their stall. I had to hit two on the arm to get them off of me, but this was an exception rather than the rule.
There is quite a police presence in the square, this is because the authorities actively discourage gatherings of Tibetans for fear of protests.
Pilgrims outside the Jokhang Temple
The Jokhang,is a famous Buddhist temple located on Barkhor Square in Lhasa.For most Tibetans it is the most sacred and important temple in Tibet.
Along with the Potala Palace, it is probably the most popular tourist attraction in Lhasa. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site "Historic Ensemble of the Potala Palace" and a spiritual centre of Lhasa.
Jokhang temple was constructed by King Songtsän Gampo in 642.
This temple has remained a key center of Buddhist pilgrimage for centuries. It was sacked several times by the Mongols, but the building survived. In the past several centuries the temple complex was expanded and now covers an area of about 25,000 sq. meters.
The Jokhang temple complex has several decorated shrines and rooms. The main hall of the temple houses the Jowo Shakyamuni Buddha statue, perhaps the single most venerated object in Tibetan Buddhism. There are also famous statues of Chenresig, Padmasambhava and King Songtsan Gambo and his two famous foreign brides, Princess Wen Cheng (daughter of Emperor Taizong of Tang China) and Princess Bhrikuti of Nepal.
Many of the statues were destroyed during the "cultural revolution" but have since been remade - often including broken pieces of the original statues.
This is a great place to go easrly in the morning to watch the pilgrims come to worship. You can go into the temple and watch the pilgrims pray. afterwatds you can join them on a perambulation around the palace which takes 20 mins. Expect a lot of interest as a westerner as many prilgrims are from the countryside and may not have seen a westerner before.
I had many old ladies come and touch my arms, I don't think they could believe my skin was so white. Blonde and blue eyed people also get a lot of attention.
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