Tibet SightseeingVisit Tibet 's Landmarks and Immerse in Chinese Culture
International travelers must obtain a special permit from the Tibetan Tourism Bureau before going to Tibet.Travel outside Lhasa and the main tourism sites also require an additional travel permit when buying tickets.
It is recommended that tourists visit Tibet between April and October, as the winters are very harsh and many roads become blocked due to heavy snow.Tibet covers a vast area and getting around can be difficult, but it is worth the effort in order to see the region's spectacular mountains, valleys and rivers.It is freezing cold during most of the year.
Tibet's tourist industry has continued to develop and capitalize on its unique human and natural resources.The region currently has four tourist areas: Lhasa, the west, the southwest, and the south.
The Lhasa region is the spiritual and political capital of Tibet.It was first established in 633 AD and emerged as a silk trading center on the route between India and Nepal.The city is situated on a level plain on the Gyi-chu, or Happy River.
Lhasa is a city of two parts.The modern Chinese area contains little of note apart from the rapidly growing number of karaoke bars, supermarkets and shops.However the traditional Tibetan quarter offers its own distinct culture, evident in its architecture, customs, language and food.
Tibet museum was officially inaugurated in October of 1999, with a permanent collection that celebrates the History of Tibetan Culture.The design of the exhibit uses traditional Tibetan architecture such as Tibetan doors, beam-decoration, patterns and so on, in order to create the atmosphere of authentic Tibetan art.
The Tibet Museum is located in the southeast corner of Norbu Lingka, Lhasa city.It covers an area of 23,508 square meters (5.8 acres) including the exhibition area of 10,451 square meters (2.6 acres) with an exhibition line of around 600 meters.
The museum is equipped with modern facilities to ensure quality service for visitors and safety and efficient administration of the museum itself.This exhibit displays around 1,000 precious objects.The contents are divided into pre-history culture, indivisible history, culture and arts, and people's customs.The exhibits are introduced in Japanese, English, Tibetan, and Chinese, in order to accommodate visitors from all over the world.
The History of Tibetan Culture Exhibition incorporates superb examples of several thousand years of Tibetan history, politics, religion, cultural arts, and customs.Those historical objects express the fact that Tibet is an inalienable part of Chinese territory.
Stupa is an important religious monument in Tibet.This unique religious architectural form expresses significant religious symbolism and presents Buddha's physical presence.It generally consists of three parts; a whitewashed base, a whitewashed cylinder and a crowning steeple or shaft.
The square base foundation, representing the Buddha's lotus throne, symbolizes earth, the state of solidity and five forces of faith, concentration, mindfulness, perseverance and wisdom.The four stepped base may or may not have openings.
Above the base is a square or hexagon four stepped pedestal which represents The Buddha's crossed legs.Seated on the base is the cylinder, representing his torso.This symbolizes water, the state of fluidity and seven essential conditions of enlightenment: concentration, effort, equanimity, flexibility, mindfulness, joy and wisdom.
Sometimes a stupa has a shield like grillwork in one face.This allows relics of high lamas, statues and other items to be put inside.Between the cylinder and the crowning steeple, there is a square box, called Harmika, which represents the Buddha's eyes.It is considered to be the residence of the gods, symbolizing the eightfold noble path.
The crowning steeple, the Buddha's crown, is usually hand-made of brass and/or covered with gold leaf.It is segmented into 13 tapering rings, a parasol and a twin symbol of the sun and the moon.Those rings, representing fire and the thirteen steps of enlightenment, successively symbolize ten powers of the Buddha and three close contemplations.
The stylized parasol, representing wind, wards off all evil.At the top of the steeple is the twin symbol of the sun and the moon, which represent wisdom and method respectively.A flaming jewel may be found atop the twin symbol, symbolizing the highest enlightenment.
Stupas always house items that Buddhists hold sacred.Sutra scripts, Buddha statues, Tsa-Tsas, hair clippings, fingernails, relics and cremation ashes of saints are usually enshrined in stupas along with jewels, herbs and other objects.They are sometimes used as tombs in which mummified bodies of high lamas are buried.
Stupas may also be built in commemoration of high Lamas as a sign of merit accumulation, or for their funerals.Building a stupa and any other work done on it are considered of work of the highest purity and merit.
Buddhists always show their devotion by circling the stupa clockwise.Doing this can also accumulate merit.The size and style of stupa may vary, from the large stupas commonly seen in monasteries and on road passes, to portable ones many Tibetan people carry with them as sacred objects and amulets.
Barkhor, a circular street at the center of Old Lhasa, is the oldest street in a very traditional city in Tibet.In the past, it was only a circumambulation circuit, "a saint road" in the eyes of Tibetan.
Now it's also a shopping center with nation characteristics.It's an old district with colorful Tibetan features.Tibetan houses line the street, and the ground is paved with man-made flagstones, preserving the ancient look.In the street, shops sell satisfactory souvenirs, and travelers can experience the mysterious "one step one kowtow" faith to religion.
All the houses along the street are stores.All kinds of fantastic commodities show all aspects of the Tibetan life.Such as: Thangkas, copper Buddha, prayer wheels, butter lamps, prayer flags with sutras, beads, Tibetan joss sticks, cypress, etc.
Household goods in shops are in abundant, such as: cushion, Pulu, aprons, leather bag, harness, snuff bottles, steels, Tibetan-style quilts, Tibetan-style shoes, clasp knives, Tibetan-style hats, butter, butter pots, wooden bowls, Highland Barley Wine, sweet milk tea, milk residue, air-dried beef and mutton, etc.All kinds of tourist products, cheap but good, can be found in the 1,000 meter long street.
Bakhor Street is a human landscape miniature of Lhasa, even in the whole Tibet.The old circumambulation circuit is always crowded with pilgrims from everywhere.Some come along the road by performing the body long kowtows, some come by truck.Some are monks, and some are businessmen from Kham.In a word, here people come here from all over Tibet wearing different dresses, and languages.Even the similar-looking dresses of the monks vary depending on the different religions.
Bakhor Street is the window to view the Tibetan area, which is silently telling the history of Lhasa.The Magyia Ngami Restaurant on the street can best reflect the civilian culture of Lhasa, the Restaurant is a bar with a good taste of art.On its wall hang works of painting, photograph, and handicraft and on the shelf there are original edition of works by Kafka and Eliot.
Drepung Monastery is the largest and richest monastery in Tibet.It lies in west of Lhasa under Mount Gambo Utse, clustered round by the black mountain, its white grand buildings shining under the sunlight.
Built in 1416, the Drepung Monastery is considered one of the largest monasteries in the six principle monasteries of Gelu Sect in China.Drepung Monastery used to be the living palace of Dalai Lamas before the reconstruction of Potala palace (after the 5th Dalai Lamas was bestowed by Qing Emperor Qianlong).
Located in the center of old Lhasa city, the Johkang Monastery is a prime seat of the Gelugpa (Yellow) of the Tibetan Buddhism.It was first built in 647 AD.In 643 AD, eighteen year old Princess Wencheng in from the Tang Dynasty reached Lhasa.She brought with her a life sized statue of Sakyamuni at the age of 12.
It was believed that the statue was modeled according to the appearance of Sakyamuni and was consecrated by Sakyamuni himself.There are three life sized statues of Sakyamuni in the world.One is eight years old, another twelve years odl, and the last eighteen years old.
Originally, the life sized statue of Sakyamuni aged 16 was in India, however, it sank into the Indian Ocean during the religious war.Thus, the life sized statue of Sakyamuni aged 12 is the most precious one.
Songtsen Gampo constructed the Ramoche Monastery for Princess Wencheng to house the statue, and he also built the Johkang Monastery for the Nepalese Princess Khidzun.When the Princess Jicheng brought the statue of Sakyamuni from the Ramoche Monastery to the Jokhang Monastery, it became the worshipping center.
After years of expansion, the Jokhang Monastery developed into
its present day scale.Lamas of Jokhang Monastery chant sutras
at night and this is worthy of listening.The life sized statue
of Sakyamuni aged 12 is the most scared stated in the eyes of
the Tibetan people.
Norbulingka, meaning "Treasure Park", was first built in the 1740s.Norbulingka is named the Summer Palace, located west of Lhasa.The beautiful garden was first built in the middle 18th century.That's where religious affairs and activities were held.The garden covers an area of 46 acres, with 370 rooms of different sizes.In the garden people worship Buddha, spend their holiday, and study the Tibetan style palaces.
The first place in Lhasa to visit is the Potala Palace, traditionally the winter home of the Dalai Lama and recognized as one of the architectural wonders of the world.Built in the 7th century and renovated in 2005, it contains thousands of rooms, Buddhist sculptures, frescoes and scriptures.Inside the white walls are a series of gilded mausoleums in which the bodies of previous Dalai Lamas are entombed.
The Potala Palace, which is now on the list of Chinese national key protected cultural relics, is the most valuable storehouse in Tibet.It is a huge treasure house for materials and articles of Tibetan history, religion, culture and arts.The Palace is widely known for the precious sculptures, murals, scripture, Buddha figures, murals, antiques, and religious jewelry treasured up, they are of great cultural and artistic value.In 1994, the Potala Palace was declared the United Nations World Cultural Heritage site and a designated Unesco World Heritage site.
One of the three largest monasteries of Gelugpa, sits at the foothills of Tatipu. The Sera Monastery is the representative monastery of the Gelugpa of the Tibetan Buddhism.It lies on the southern slope of the Serawoze Mountain in the northern suburbs of Lhasa.
The monastery was built by SagyaYexei, one of the disciples
of Tsongkhapa who was the founder of Gelugpa of the Tibet Buddhism
in 1419.It is one of the six main monasteries of the Gelugpa
of the Tibetan Buddhism.As one of the three main monasteries
of Lhasa, it is here that the monks "famous daily debates" take
Ganden monastery is the greatest and the oldest of the six Gelug Sect's monasteries, which is called one of "the three principal monasteries" (the other two are Dreprung Monastery and Sera Monastery).At its peak, it had a registration of more than 4,000 monks.
Ganden monastery is the first Gelug monastery in Tibet which features rich historic monuments.Tsong Khapa, founder of Gelug Sect, established it as the first Gelug monastery in 15th century when he carried out the religious reform in Tibet.
The full name of Ganden monastery is Xizhuzhuenshengzhou in Chinese.Some scholars call it as "Jushan"or "Jile" monastery.In 1733, Emperor Yongzhen of Qing dynasty bestowed the name "Yongtai".And Gandenpai (Gelug Sect's original name) which means exhortation, also named after the Ganden monastery.
It was set up by the Gelug sect's founder Tsong Khapa in the 7th year of Yongle (in Ming dynasty), the Ganden monastery lies in Lhatse County, 57 kilometers east of Lhasa, the Wangbori Mountain with the altitude of 3,800 meters.Besides its typical Tibetan style, it is three times as large as Potala.
The Chambaling Monastery, in Chamdo Town, was founded in 1444 by one of Tsong Khapa's disciples.The monastery has usually kept a close relationship with past Chinese governments.It still has a brass seal granted to its abbot by Emperor Kangxi.
Well preserved, Chambaling has hundreds of statues of Buddhas and great adepters, thousands of square meters of murals, and magnificent Thangkas, which represent the highest artistic level in kham.The most famous feature of the monastery is its religious dancing, which is characterized with ferocious and living masks, elegant postures, gorgeous costumes and grant scenes.It is opened 24 hours.
The Heavenly Lake Namtso is located near Damxung.Heavenly Lake Namtso is the highest saltwater lake in the world and the second largest saltwater lake in China.On November 14, 2005, Namtso Lake in the Tibet Autonomous Region was selected as one of the five most beautiful lakes in China by Chinese National Geography magazine.
Namtso Lake's touching beauty should not be missed by any traveler who visits Tibet.Its purity and solemnest are symbols of Qinghai-Tibet Platean.In Tibetan, Namtso means 'Heavenly Lake.' It is considered one of the three holy lakes in Tibet.Namtso is famous for its high altitude at 4720 meters (about 3 miles), vast area of 1961 square kilometers (about 757 square miles) and beautiful scenery.
Summer is the best time for Namtso Lake.Wild yaks, hares and other wild animals leisurely look for food along the expansive lake shores; countless migratory birds fly here to lay eggs and feed their young; sometimes lovely fishes in the lake jump out of the lake water, enjoying the warmth of the sunshine; sheep and cows herds are like flowing white blanks on the green grassland which can stretch as far as your eyes can see; the dulcet songs of Gauchos resound through the valleys.
During summer season Namtso Lake is full of life and activity.Therefore it is no wonder Tibetans take Namtso Lake the symbol of goodliness and happiness.Really Namtso Lake is a blessing from nature.Besides the beautiful scenery, Namtso is also a famous sacred Buddhist place.There is a Zhaxi Temple in Zhaxi by land.In every Tibetan year of the sheep, thousands of Buddhism adherents will come here to worship.As a rule, they will walk clockwise along the Namtso Lake in order to receive the blessing of the gods.
Located in the Ngari Region of Tibet, Mountain Kailash and Lake Mansarova are famous as Sacred Mountain and Holy Lake respectively.Both have often been chosen as a sacrificial center for Hindu, Buddhist, and Bonist pilgrims.Their spiritual aura and paradisiacal scenery also entice ordinary tourists.
Kailash means 'Treasure or Saint of Snow Mountain' in Tibetan.The name originates from the year-round snow on its peak and its historical religious connections.The mountain is sometimes called 'Mother of Iceberg'.It appears to be gazing at another mountain, Namcha Barwa, or 'Father of Iceberg' in the far distance.
Mountain Kailash is the highest peak in the massive Gangdise mountain range with an altitude over 6,600 meters (21654 feet).The peak is very pointed and looks like a pyramid piercing the sky.Seen from the south the vertical ice trough and horizontal rock formation combine as the Buddhist symbol Swastika '…e', which represents the eternal power of Buddha.More often that not, clouds will gather above the peak, so clear days are thought to be a blessing because local residents can get an unimpeded view.
Legend has it that a high lama named Milarepa competed with Naro Bonchung, the leader of Bon, for supernatural power.Milarepa was triumphant and thus the mountain came under the guidance of Buddhism.However, the mountain is also said to be the gathering place of masses of gods, among which are the highest gods of Hinduism.So it is no surprise that many pilgrims of different faiths visit here.
Walking around the mountain is a popular ceremony despite the length and difficult terrain.According to the sayings of Buddhism, one circle around the mountain can atone for all the sins committed throughout one's lifetime.Completing ten circles around the mountain will prevent eternal damnation of hell tribulation in one's reincarnations of 500 years.Completing one hundred circles will make a person one with Buddha.While walking, Buddhists follow clockwise while Bonists proceed in a counter-clockwise direction.In the horse year when Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism, is said to be born, worshippers get credit for thirteen circles for every one completed.Naturally, these years draw the largest number of tourists.
Travel Tips:One circle around the mountain is 52 km long and takes about three days.Because of the high altitude, weather changes frequently.Travelers should bring warm clothes, a tent and sleeping bag, a waterproof mattress or cushion, food items and common medicines.Camp stoves are permitted on the mountain.
Lake Mansarova lies about 20 kilometers (12.43 miles) southeast of Mountain Kailash.It means 'Invincible Jade Lake' in Tibetan.The name originates from a story that Buddhism wins a victory against Bon in a religious match beside the lake.The lake is the same 'Jade Pool of Western Kingdom' described by the high monk Xuanzang of the Tang Dynasty (618-907) in his Westward Diary.
The altitude of the lake is about 4,588 meters (15,052.49 feet), making it one of the highest fresh water lakes in the world.The water is very limpid and bright.The Hindu legend has that it is the amrita designed by the great god Brahma that can wash away all one's sins as well as any anxiety or improper thoughts.Many pilgrims bathe in the lake and take some water back as a gift to their relatives and friends.The surrounding area is the point of origin for India's two most famous rivers, the Indus and the Ganges.
Walking around the lake also has ceremonial value for the Tibetan and always follows clockwise.There are many temples along the way, the two most notable being the Jiwu and the Chugu.Walking one circle around the lake takes about 4 days, 90 kilometers in length in all; however, wading in the cold along the way is a bit challenging.
Located in the Ngari Region, Tibet Autonomous Region£¬Ruins of Guge Kingdom are the Old Summer Palace of Tibet.The ruins lie on a hilltop near a river and cover 180,000 square meters.While these ruins were once an imperial estate which fell into disrepair after the civil revolt and the invasion of the allied armies of eight foreign countries, the Guge Kingdom also encountered civil strife and foreign attacks which fragmented the once prosperous state.However, the legendary kingdom hasn't been totally lost as much can be learned about it from its remains.
Established in about the 10th century, the Guge Kingdom was founded by one branch of descendants of a nearby crumbled Kingdom.It was ruled by about 16 kings with armies of tens of thousands of soldiers during the over 700 years in which it flourished.
Then in the 1660s, conflicts resulting from power disputes within the imperial family emerged which engendered restlessness in society and induced civil uprisings.To win power in the disordered state, the brother of the king asked the ruler of the neighboring country Ladakh to send his army to help.This army overthrew and conquered the kingdom.Years later was power returned to Tibet.During its lifetime the Guge Kingdom played an important part in the economic and cultural development of Tibet.The kingdom advocated Buddhism, and many versions of this religion were created here and their teachings were spread from here into the heart of Tibet.The kingdom also served as a major center for Tibet's foreign trade.
The Ruins of Guge Kingdom now extend around the sides of a mountain more than 300 meters (984 feet) high.Explorers have found over 400 rooms and 800 caves here, as well as some fortresses, secret paths, pagodas, arm storerooms, granaries and all kinds of burial places.
Except for some temples, all the roofs of the rooms have collapsed, leaving only the walls.The ruins are surrounded by a city wall and a fortress marks each of the corners.Palaces, temples and local residences are distributed from the top to the bottom and only secret roads lead to the top, a layout designed to indicate the supremacy of the king and to ensure the safety of the palaces.Due to its great research value, the Ruins of Guge Kingdom have been listed under the first group of Cultural Relics of National Importance under the Protection of the State.
Perhaps the most interesting aspects of the Ruins are the five temples and palaces ¨C the White Temple, Red Temple, Samsara Temple, Imperial Palace, and Assembly Palace.Many inscriptions, statues and murals are displayed inside these.The most complete and valuable artifacts remaining are the murals, which are mainly pictures of Sakyamuni, the king, queen, prince and other royal servants.
Beside, in the sanctuary pictures of the cultivation of male and female Esoteric Buddhas can be found.The margins are painted with dozens of nude Dakinis.The colors and lines of the murals can be compared with those of the Mogao Caves in Dunhuang City, Gansu Province.Most of the statues here are golden and silver Buddhist statues, among these the Silver Eyes of Guge is of the highest achievement.
The Ruins of Guge Kingdom lie 18 kilometers(11.18 miles) from Zanda County.Access is by taxi or motorbike to the village nearby.
There is a Galaxy in the heaven and a Sky River (Tianhe) on the earth, which is called Yarlong Tsangpo River.In Chinese, Yarlong Tsangpo River means water flowing down from the crest.Found in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, known as 'the roof of the world', the Yarlong Tsangpo River is the biggest river in Tibet and also holds the position as being the river found at the highest altitude across the world.
Yarlong Tsangpo River originates from a glacier on the northern side of the middle Himalayas, over 5,300 meters (208,661 feet) above sea level.It runs across the south of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau from west to east, through India and Bengal, and finally flows into the Bay of Bengal.
Altogether more than 2,900 kilometers (1,802 miles) long with a catchments area of 935 thousand square kilometers (361,006 square miles), it is the fifth longest river in China.With a large number of branches, its natural hydropower capacity reaches up to 79,116 thousand kilowatts, just second to the Yangtze River in China.
Yarlong Tsangpo River Valley is rich in forest resources, owning 2,644 thousand hectares of virgin forest.Rare and unique plants and animals along with a natural treasure house of wildlife such as yew and Zoraptera insects can be found here.From the Pottery shard and stone objects of the Neolithic Period discovered in Nyingchi County, the ancient culture of Yarlong Tsangpo River can be traced back thousands of years.To some extent, it is the cradle of Tibetan civilization.
The Great Canyon of Yarlong Tsangpo River is absolutely a highlight.It is the largest and deepest canyon in the world, being 504.6 kilometers (314 miles) long and 6,009 meters (19,715 feet) in depth at its deepest.The average depth is 2,268 meters (7,441 feet).
Nine Natural Vertical Zones ranging from the Alp Ice-snow belt to tropical seasonal forests are represented in this area.All kinds of wildlife exist here, so the Great Canyon of Yarlong Tsangpo River is regarded as 'the Gene Pool of Biological Resources', whilst enjoying fame as a 'Geological Museum' due to the various geological phenomena found.
Located in the quiet piedmont area of the Shannan Region, the Samye Monastery is the first temple to be built in Tibet in 779 under the patron of Trisong Detsen.And the first completed monastery with the three Buddhist jewels of Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.With these unique features, this splendid temple has become an attraction for visitors from near and far.
The temple was built by the Trisong Detsen (reigned 742-798) of the Tubo Kingdom and was presided over by the Buddhist master Padmasambhava.The Detsen contributed a lot to the project.First, it was said the name (meaning surprise in Tibetan) originated from an exclamation he made.When the temple was completed, Detsen took part in the foundation ceremony and then ordained seven descendants of blue blood to cultivate in the temple.They became the first group of monks to live at the temple and later the so-called 'Seven Enlighten Disciples of Samye'.Since then, Buddhism had become widespread within Tibet and forms a branch of splendid culture.Now, the temple is listed as one of the cultural relics of national importance under the protection of the state.
The whole construction of the temple is very grandiose and complicated.It replicates the universe described in the sutras exactly.The central world Mount Meru is represented by the majestic Wuzi Hall.The Sun and Moon chapels stand in the north and south as the sun and moon in the universe.Four larger halls and eight smaller halls are distributed around all sides of the central hall, symbolizing the four large continents and eight small ones.In the four corners lie the Red, White, Black and Green Pagodas guarding the Dharma like the Heavenly Kings.A circular wall surrounds the temple as if marking the periphery of the world.The layout of Samye Monastery resembles the Mandala in the Esoteric Buddhism.
The Samye Monastery is renowned for the characteristic art of its buildings and the vivid murals as well as other ancient relics stored within them.The three-story Wuzi Hall is the soul of the whole monastery.Its design is very special.All of the layers follow different styles, the bottom Tibetan, the middle Han and the top Indian.Hence the monastery is also called the 'Three-styled Temple'.There are also many substantial murals here.On the porch of the middle story is inscribed the reputed 'Painted Historical Records' of Tibet, which extend 9.2 meters and contains the religious history of Tibet as well as many related legends.Besides these, the murals depicting the 'Historical Records of Samye Monastery' and the 'Biography of Padmasambhava' on the other two levels are also of high aesthetic value.
There are four gates to the Wuzi Hall.The eastern gate leads to the front entrance of the hall.In front of the gate is a nine-story hall, however, only three stories remain standing.On the January 5 and May 16 of the Tibetan Calendar, the large embroidery of Sakyamuni is hung on the wall for people to make homage to, hence the name 'Zhanfo Dian' (Buddha Unfolding Hall).There is also an ancient stele and a bell made during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) along with a pair of stone lions.On the stele Trisong Detsen's edicts for establishing Buddhism as the state religion in 779 are recorded.The bell was the first one made in Tibetan history and is said to memorize the third concubine of the Detsen who led 30 aristocratic women to renounce the world and who later became the first group of nuns in Tibet.
The Samye Monastery is located at the foot of Mount Haibu Rishen, north of the Yarlung Tsangpo River.When visiting the monastery, bring a flashlight as it is quite dark in the halls.
Yamdrok Yumtso (or Yamdrok-tso), one of the three holiest lakes in Tibet, lies at Nhagartse, located about 100 kilometers (62 miles) to the southwest of Lhasa.According to legend, it was a fairy that descended to earth.Her husband followed suit and transformed into Mount Kampala.Besides Mount Kampala, Yamdrok Yumtso is also surrounded by Mount Nyinchenkhasa, Mount Chetungsu and Mount Changsamlhamo.
Befitting its mythical feminine origins, the turquoise blue lake has indescribable scenic beauty, prompting the Tibetans to compare it with the fairyland in heaven.The lake is also called Coral Lake of the Highlands due to its shape.The charming lake produces abundant aquatic life.
On the surrounding expansive pasture, animals and birds flourish in huge numbers.There are dozens of islets in the lake, on which flocks of birds roost.During the herding season, the local herdsmen will ferry their herds of sheep across to these islets since there aren't any predators on these islets, and leave them there until the onset of winter.
The holy lake is also a pilgrimage site for Tibetans.Every summer, gangs of pilgrims trek there to pray and receive blessings.Pilgrims believe that its water can make the old young again, grant the middle-aged a longer life and make the children smarter.Being a sacred lake, the color of its water may be taken by the devout as having spiritual meaning.
Tibetans will usually visit the lake before making important decisions.On one of the islets, stands a Nyinmapa monastery.South of the lake, one finds the Sangding Monastery, which is famous as the residence of the only female high lama in Tibet.
Palkhor Monastery, also named Palcho Monastery, is very different from other monasteries.It lies about 230 kilometers (143 miles) south of Lhasa and 100 (62 miles) east of Shigatse at the foot of Dzong Hill.Built as a Tibetan monastery, its structural style is very unique.
Tshomchen, the Main Assembly Hall of Palkhor, was built between the end of fourteenth century and the beginning of the fifteenth century.The ground floor of the three story building is a Chanting Hall with 48 columns, which are decorated with old silk "thangkas".An eight-meter high (26 feet) bronze statuary of Maitreya is also on display.The gilded figure is made from 1.4 tons (3086 pounds) of bronze.
On the second floor, "Bodhisattva Manjushri" and "Arhats", from the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), were enshrined in the chapels.Its Arhat Chapel is famous throughout Tibet.On the roof, a chapel houses a collection of 15 "mandala" murals, which are three meters (ten feet) in diameter.Additionally, the monastery collects about 100 robes and costumes worn in Tibetan opera, all of which were made of silk, embroidery and tapestry during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) and the Qing dynasty (1644-1911).
The monastery houses monks from the Gelugpa, Sakyapa and Kahdampa orders.Although they once quarreled and fought, the different orders eventually discovered a way to get along with each other.The monastery is the only one known to house monks from different orders in harmony.As a result, its structural style, deities enshrined and murals are very special.
Palkhor also features its "Bodhi stupa", or "Kumbum" in Tibetan, which was built in 1412 and completed 10 years later.Deemed as the symbol of the monastery, the spectacular "stupa" consists of hundreds of chapels in layers, housing about a hundred thousand images of various icons.These icons include Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Vajras, Dharma Kings, Arhats, Disciples, great adepts of different orders in Tibetan Buddhist history, and outstanding figures in Tibetan history such as Songtsen Gampo and Trisong Detsen.
In total there are about 3,000 statues, so it is called "Myriad Buddhas Stupa".Covering a space of 2,200 square meters, the "stupa" has a total of 108 gates and 77 chapels, each of which has a dominant religious figure and murals.The cylinder, 20 meters in diameter, has four chapels inside.The elegant structure is worthy of a visit.
Tashilhunpo Monastery covers an area of nearly 300,000 square meters (3,229,279 square feet.).The main structures found in the Tashilhunpo Monastery are The Maitreya Chapel, The Panchen Lama's Palace and The Kelsang Temple.Tashilhunpo is the seat of the Panchen Lama since the Fourth Panchen Lama took charge in the monastery, and there are now nearly 800 lamas.
Standing on the entrance of Tashilhunpo, visitors can see the grand buildings with golden roofs and white walls.The remarkable Thangka Wall which is nine floors high was built by the First Dalai Lama in 1468.The wall displays the images of Buddha on the 14th, 15th and 16th of May every year following the Tibetan Lunar Calendar.The images are so humongous that one can easily see it in Shigatse City.
Visitors can find The Maitreya Chapel by strolling into the monastery on the west side of Tashilhunpo.One can find the biggest statue of a sitting Maitreya Buddha inside the chapel.The statue stands 26.2 meters (86 feet) high and is decorated with gold, copper, pearl, amber, coral, diamond and other precious stones.The statue was handcrafted by 900 craftsmen in 9 years.The chapel has been divided into five floors.Visitors can tour the upper floors of the chapel using a wooden staircase to see the statue more clearly and appreciate the superb skill of the Tibetans.
The Stupa tomb of the Tenth Panchen Lama lies east of the chapel.Covered by 614 kilograms (1,354 pounds) gold, 868 precious stones and 246,794 jewels, the Stupa-tomb built in 1993 is the most splendid and costly mausoleum in China since the 1950s.
The Panchen Lama's Palace which stands nearby the Stupa tomb is a grand white palace mainly built during the reign of the Six Panchen Lama (1738-1780).It is still closed to tourists and local visitors alike.To the east of the Panchen Lama's Palace lies the Stupa tomb of the Fourth Panchen Lama who is one of the most famous Lamas in Tibetan history.He is also the teacher of the Fifth Dalai Lama.His gorgeous stupa tomb decorated with gold and silver was built in 1662.The Stupa tomb of the Fourth Panchen Lama is the first stupa-tomb in Tashilhunpo.
The Kelsang Temple is one of the oldest and biggest buildings in Tashilhunpo.It is a colossal compound.The Main Chanting Hall is a place for lamas to learn the sutras and listen to the Panchen Lama's sermon.On the back end of the hall lies a 5 meters (16 feet) high statue of Sakyamuni.It is said that a part of Sakyamuni's relics was placed in it.
Two chapels sit on both sides of the Main Chanting Hall of the Kelsang Temple.The left one is devoted to Tara, the goddess who is believed to be the avatar of Avalokitesvara.A White Tara is in the middle and two Green Taras on each side.The right chapel is dedicated to Maitreya Buddha.With a height of 11 meters (36 feet), one can find the statue of Maitreya Buddha in the middle of the chapel.
The statues of Avalokitesvara and Bodhisattva Manjusri created by the First Dalai Lama stands near the statue of Maitreya Buddha.The Great Courtyard of the Kelsang Temple is the place for lamas to practice and debate.The wall around the courtyard is covered by thousands of images of Sakyamuni in different postures and expressions.
Besides the grand palace and gigantic statues, the Tashilhunpo Monastery also treasures characteristic wall paintings.Because of the variety of shapes, resplendent colors and exquisite painting, the murals are considered to be another masterpiece of Buddhist art.Rare sutras, thangka, china and glass services of the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasties (1644-1911) are also invaluable assets found in the monastery.These are good relics for researching the history and society of Tibet.
Mount Everest lies at the border between China and Nepal.Mount Everest, also known as Mount Qomolangma, is the highest peak in the world. Mount Everest or Qomolangma is the highest mountain on Earth, as measured by the height of its summit above sea level.The mountain, which is part of the Himalaya range in Asia, is located on the border between Nepal and Tibet of China.
As of the end of the 2006 climbing season, there have been 3,050 ascents
to the summit, by 2,062 individuals, and 203 people have died on the
mountain.The conditions on the mountain are so difficult that most
of the corpses have been left where they fell; some of them are easily
visible from the standard climbing routes.
An altitude over 3,000 meters (9,843 feet) is usually defined as high altitude.Since most places in Tibet are higher than this level, Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS), also called Altitude Sickness is the biggest health risk to tourists in Tibet.AMS is common at high altitudes due to the decreasing availability of oxygen.Most people will experience differing degrees of symptoms at high elevation.
The occurrence of AMS is dependent on the altitude, the ascent rate and individual physical condition.Symptoms of AMS include headache, nausea, dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, loss of appetite and disturbed sleep.Most people will experience one or more AMS symptoms upon their arrival in Tibet.The symptoms will usually gradually decrease in severity during acclimatization.
Mild AMS usually will not interfere with mild activity.However AMS can be very serious, with the most serious symptoms being High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) and High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE), which can be fatal.Symptoms of HAPE include weakness, shortness of breath, even at rest, impending suffocation at night, and a persistent productive cough with white, watery, or frothy fluid.Symptoms of HPCE may include headache, ataxia, weakness, hallucinations, psychotic behavior, coma and loss of memory.Both approach and strike at night and can be fatal! Immediate descent is the surest treatment.
Before visiting Tibet, get as fit and healthy as possible, both physically and psychologically.Visitors having record of heart, lung, other organ problems or anemia should consult their doctor before making the decision to visit Tibet.AMS can be lessened or avoided with proper acclimatization, which will also ease and reduce AMS symptoms.
A gradual ascent will allow your body to acclimatize to higher altitudes and the decreased oxygen supply.Go no higher 300 - 400 hundred meters (984 - 1,312 feet) daily and have a rest after each 1,000 meter (3280 feet) ascent.Medication also helps to prevent AMS.Mild AMS symptoms can be treated with proper medication.If medication does not relieve the symptoms, go to hospital or evacuate immediately to safe altitude!
The following precautions may help to prevent or lessen the effects of AMS:
Always keep in mind the following rules which will ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip to Tibet:
It is significant that travelers report any symptoms of AMS immediately to other group members in the trip.