Main Attractions in Tibet
Lhasa is the capital city of The Tibetan autonomous region. It is one of the most culturally rich cities in china. Its population is 367 000 people, mainly Tibetans and Han Chinese. The city of Lhasa is famous for its handicrafts and central market square. Here you can buy all kinds of things to take home with you. There are a number of sights to see in and around Lhasa.
Potala in Lhasa:
Potala is the essence of ancient Tibetan architectural art and a symbol of Tibetan people's wisdom and power. It is located on the western part of Lhasa City . In 641, Songtsan Ganpu decided to build this grand palace for his wife – Princess Wencheng of Tang dynasty. However, it was later destroyed by some lightening strike and warfare in Landama's reign. Only in 17th century, the Fifth Dalai Lama rebuilt it. And then The Thirteenth Dalai Lama expanded it to today's scale - more than 117 meters high and 360 meters wide. Standing on the top of Mt. Putup , Potala Palace looms over the entire Lhasa city. In 1994, it was added to the list of world cultural heritage sites by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Located in the center of the old Lhasa city, Jokhang Temple is the first monastery for most pilgrims to visit, as it is widely recognized as the spiritual center of Tibetan Buddhism. The temple was built in 647. Every day, you will see many pilgrims who trek a long distance from other places of Tibet, worshiping Buddhism by prostrating to body's length. Around the temple is the famous Barkhor Street where you can get a close touch with local Tibetan people.
Drepung Monastery is the largest monastery in Tibet. At its peak time, there were more than 10,000 monks. The monastery was founded in 15th century at 5km to the western suburb of Lhasa , and once served as the living palace of Dalai Lama before reconstruction of Potala Palace . Here you can find great murals, Buddhist scriptures and crafts, and also have a glimse of the Tibetan monks' daily life. It is usually suggested to visit in the early morning time.
Ganden Monastery is the first Gelupga monastery in Tibet (Gelupga is Pachen Lama and Dalai Lama's order). It was founded in 1409 in Taktse County , about 60 kilometers east of Lhasa . There are extremely delicate murals and sculptures. In 1961, it was listed as one of historical relics subject to state protection by the State Council.
Yamdruk Yumtse lake
Yamdrok Yumtso Lake is one of holy lakes in Tibet lying about 100 kilometers southwest of Lhasa . It is 4441 meters above from the sea level. We usually drop a visit here on the way from Lhasa to Gyantse.. There are many islands providing homes to wild ducks and geese. It is also called the "Fish Store of Tibet".
Shigatse – the Second Largest City in Tibet
Lying 2 kilometers west of Shigatse City, Tashilumpo Monastery is the foremost attraction there. Standing at the slope of Mt. Niser in terraced rows, the monastery offers a grand and majestic view. The largest sitting brass statue of Maitreya in the world is here in one of its chapels.
Sakaya Monastery is also called the "Second Dunhuang" as it stores numerous valuable art pieces. In addition to lots of statues of Buddha, there are tens of thousands of sutras written in gold powder. So it is also known as the greatest religious library in Tibet. 130 kilometers southwest of Shigatse, the monastery is divided into two parts by the Drum River. However the northern monastery was left with nothing but ruins from which you can still see what a splendid history it ever had. The southern monastery is in good condition. In 1961, the State Council cited it as one of the cultural relic units subject to state protection.
Standing at 8,848.13 meters above sea level, Mt. Everest is the highest mountain on earth. It is also called “Mt. Qomolangma”in Tibetan language. The eternal snow at the peak, massive glaciers and seracs make it such a natural splendor that every year, many mountaineers and tourists from all over the world come here to get a life-long experience with it.
"Gang Rimpoche" in Tibetan language, Mt. Kailash is the sacred mountain in Buddhism, Hinduism and the local Bon faith. It is believed that circumambulation around it can wash away one's sin. The Kailash kora usually takes 3 days to complete. In the year of horse in Tibetan calendar, many pilgrims come here to conduct circumambulation as they believe that at this time, one round will equal to 13 rounds in other normal years.
Lying in front of Mt. Kailash at 4,588 meters above the sea level, Lake Manasarova is one of the highest freshwater lake in the world and a holy lake for Buddhism, Hinduism and the local Bon as well. People who come to conduct circumambulation around the sacred mountain usually will not miss visiting this lake as they believe the holy water in it can cure all kinds of diseases. The nearby Lake Rakshastal (La'nga Tso) connecting underground with the holy lake is however a saltwater lake and called " Ghost Lake ". Though also beautiful in scenery, people may fell weird while standing at the bank due to its strange name.
Guge Kingdom Relics
Guge Kindom was founded around tenth century by a descendant of King Lang Darma who fled from Lhasa after the collapse of Tubo Kingdom . It played an important role in the second renascence in Tibet and survived for about 700 years before disappearing mysteriously in the 17th century. The ruins lie on a hill near a river and cover 180,000 square meters. At the hill top are the palaces while the monasteries on the hill side and cave dwellings for common people at the foot of the hill. Murals, sculptures and stone inscriptions were found in the surviving structures. They are of great artistic and aesthetic value, especially the murals which are comparable with that of Mogao Caves and probably the only traces of the once glorious kingdom. After visiting here, you may feel hard to imagine how such a grand castle was built and existed for so many years in the remote Nagri area. Guge Kingdom left too many mysteries to us.
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