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Places to see in Tibet
Tibet (Xizang), the Roof of the World, remained unknown to the world until the very beginning of the 20th century. Locked away in its Himalayan fortress, Tibet has long exercised a unique hold on the imagination of the West. Tibet has offer some of it's very nice Trekking programs.Some of the nice culture tours programs, some nice overland tours, some Kailash and Mansarovar Tours, some expedition as well. There are many nice palces to see in Tibet. Any of these Trips you choose or any of the places you go you will show you the real Tibet and Tibetan life style and their culture. We have operated many of these trips every year, please come to enjoy your holiday in Tibet!
Lhasa, the heart and soul of Tibet and an object of devout pilgrimage, is still a city of wonders."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 the 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. Places of interest include the Potala, the 13 storey vast white and ochre fortress of the Dalai Lama, dominates the Lhasa skyline. Once the seat of Tibetan government and the location of the tombs of previous Dalai Lamas, the Potala serves as a symbolic focus for Tibetan aspirations. The Drepung monastery (8 kilometers (5 miles) west of Lhasa under Mt. Gambo Utse) is the largest and richest monastery in Tibet and the Sera monastery is the most famous. The summer palace of the Dalai Lama, Norbulingka, and the Jokhang Temple - the holiest shrine of Tibet are the major attractions in Lhasa. The circular Barkhor Street with innumerable shops and wayside peddlers intermingle with the devotees. The Ganden Monastery and the Yangpachen are the two most famous place in the surrounding of Lhasa which are a must visit sights for tourists.
Mt. Kailash alias "Jewels of Snow" in Tibetan, is the most sacred mountain in Asia, situated to the north of the Himalayan barrier in Tibet (China). It is the perfect mountain with awesome beauty with 4 great faces. It is the ultimate pilgrimage site for devotees of four religion - Tibetan Buddhism, Hinduism, the Jain religion and the pre-Buddhist animistic religion-Bono. Hindu pilgrims believe that salvation could be attained and all their earthly sins be cleansed once they devoutly circumambulate Mt. Kailash and take a ritual bath in the glacial waters of Lake Manasarovar. According to Hindus Lord Shiva both the creator and destroyer of life has been residing in this holy mountain .
Sakya is 152km west of Shigatse and about 25km south of the main road. The huge brooding Sakya Monastery was Tibet's most powerful monastery 700 years ago. The monastery probably contains the finest collection of Tibetan religious relics remaining in Tibet, although the monks may restrict you to viewing only a couple of halls. There's an unreliable bus from Shigatse, but most people arrange to see Sakya on their way to the Nepali border or the Everest Base Camp.
The monastery is a place that visitors cannot miss. The monastery lies 130 kilometers (80 miles) southwest of Shigatse. Sakya, meaning "Grey Soil" in Tibetan, since the soil around is grey. It is the center monastery of Sakyapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Its wall was painted with red, white and grey strips, which represent Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani respectively. Since the monastery has a colossal collection of highly valuable art pieces, it is deemed as "Second Dunhuang". The monastery is divided into the Northern Monastery and the Southern Monastery by Drum River. The Southern Monastery remains in better condition.
Lakhang Chenmo, the Main Changing Hall, is the central structure in the inner courtyard. The hall, 5,700 square meters, has 40 huge pillars, four of which are 1.2 meters (4 feet) in diameter and are said pillars send to the monastery by Chinese Emperor, tiger, Nereus and wild yak respectively. Murals on the wall in the hall depict the stories about the pillars. Sakya has countless murals, mostly of the Yuan dynasty (1271-1368). Among them, murals of mandalas and former Sakya Throne Holders are outstanding.
Seventy million Yuan (8.5 million US$) national fund was allocated to renovate and rebuilt Sakya Monastery last year. The reconstruction has begun although the Northern Monastery is still covered with gravels except for a newly built stupa in which relics of the first Sakya Throne Holder is held.
About 250km southwest of Lhasa, or 90km northwest of Gyantse, lies Shigatse (Rikaze), Tibet's second-largest town and the traditional capital of Tsang province. Shigatse is a sprawling place, with dusty, uneven streets humming with traffic (even the pedestrian-only lane). As you drive in across the plains, the site of the Potala-lookalike Shigatse Dzong, high on a hilltop overlooking the town, will probably fire up your imagination, but the fort is empty and most of what you see dates from a 2007 reconstruction. It is the Tashilhunpo Monastery, to the west of town, that is the real draw. Since the Mongol sponsorship of the Gelugpa order, Shigatse has been the seat of the Panchen Lama, and this seat was traditionally based in the monastery. The town, formerly known as Samdruptse, has long been an important trading and administrative centre. The Tsang kings exercised their power from the dzong and the fort later became the residence of the governor of Tsang. The modern city is divided into a tiny old Tibetan town huddled at the foot of the fort, and a rapidly expanding modern Chinese town that has all the charm of, well, every other expanding modern Chinese town.
GYANTSE (13,050 ft.) is a small agricultural town famous for its wool carpets and the Palkhor Choide Chorten. It is small city (population perhaps 10,000) and largely Tibetan in character - for a change. The town is situated about two small hills which lie east and west, and is united by a saddle; the western hill is further connected with a chain of mountains to the north. On the eastern hill, which is about 600 feet above the surrounding plain, is a large fort, which towers above the village offers a fine view over the valley and on the western hill is a Gomba inhabited by five hundred Dabas. In this Gomba there is a chorten, called Pangon Chorten, which is considered by the Tibetans a most holy place and is notable for its superb Kumbum (10,000 images) stupa. Besides the fort and temple, there are about one thousand dwelling houses on three sides of the double hill. Before 1959, traders coming from Kalimpong and Gangtok (India) used to enter Tibet through Yadong and then to Gyantse, enroute to Lhasa.
LHAZE (13100 ft) is situated at the crossroads from where the road turns westwards towards Mt. Kailash and Mansarovar Lake. There is not much to see except the plains below. Approximately 150km south-west of Shigatse and some 30km west of the Sakya turn-off, Lhatse is a spread-out town lining the Friendship Highway. It has some good restaurants, well-stocked shops and a few guesthouses. Most of the traffic here is enroute to Zangmu on the Nepali border, but some vehicles take the turn-off 6km down the road for Ali in western Tibet; see the Holy Mt. Kailash. At the western end of town is the small Changmoche Monastery. One can also hike 10km out to the Dongaba Hot Springs or visit Lhatse Chode and Drampa Gyang Temple.
Tsetang (Zetang) is the birthplace of earliest Tibetans and the political and economical centre of Shangnan prefecture. It sits on the south bank in the middle section of the Yarlung Tsangbo River with a moderate climate at an altitude of 3,600 meters.
The nearby Yarlung River scenic area is a national scenic park with Samye Monastery, Yumbu Lhakang Palace, burial site for Tsampos and Traduk Monastery spotting the region. It is located between two mountain ranges at the northern side of Himalayas, to the south of Nyanchen Tanggula mountains, just by the Yalong zangbu river, with land area over 800,000 square kilometers. The Yalong river flows from the south through the area and empty itself into Yalong zangbu river, hence the Yalong river formed a huge river delta at its end when it merges into another.
There are several No.1 in Tsedang-- the first farming land, the first king of Tibet, the first palace (Yhongbulakhang), the first monastery in Tibet (Samye monastery). And several kings tombs are here: the world treasure-Pearl Tangka (A type of painting) was also and is still kept in Changdrok monastery.
The Chenpu meditation caves area (located to the north of Samye monastery) is still a dream place for Tibetan Buddhism practices. You can have a touch and visit to the holy lake Larmulatso--which was and now still the image reflection watching lake for finding clues to choose the rein carlated boy of the Past Dalhai Lhama and Panchen Lama.
Yarlung is considered the cradle of Tibetan civilisation. It was from Yarlung that the early Tibetan kings unified Tibet in the 7th century and their massive burial mounds still dominate the area around Chongye. Yumbulagang, perched on a crag like a medieval European castle, is another major attraction of the area and the site of Tibet's oldest building. The major attractions of the Yarlung Valley can just about be seen in a day, but this is a beautiful part of Tibet for extended hiking and day walks. The main problem is the Tsetang PSB, who seem intent on limiting tourism to guided groups.
Some travellers band together in Lhasa for a three- or four-day trip out to the Yarlung Valley by way of Tsetang, taking in Samye and Mindroling en route. The total cost (including permits and guide) for a Land Cruiser for such a trip is around Y2800. It's more cost-effective to add a Yarlung extension onto a trip to the Nepali border if you are heading that way.
About 13,800 ft above sea level, Xegar is a new Chinese commune built at the foot of the ruins of Xegar Dzong, and is 7 kms from the main road. With a population of 3000, its importance lies in the fact that it is the centre of this large and remote country and also a base from where expeditions to Mt. Everest and other peaks are launched. The total distance form Xegar to Everest Base Camp is about 110 km. in a vehicle it's about seven hours from Xegar to Rongbuk; on foot it's abut three days of hiking from the Chinese checkpoint (to the west of Xegar) onto rongbuk. Rongbuk is the last inhabitaed place before the Everest base camp. The Rongbuk monastery, the highest monastery on the earth must be visited before u start your trek. Presently accommodation is very Spartan in rooms with mud-floors and dry latrines. However, there are plans to build a modest lodge in its vicinity within a year's time.
Also known as Khasa, Zhangmu perches on a mountainside 10km (6 miles) inland from the Friendship Bridge across the Bhotekoshi River (Sun Kosi River). The small town has become the major trading post between Tibet and Nepal. The subtropical oceanic climate endows the small town a warm, and humid weather and beautiful scenery throughout the year. A road snakes through the small border town. Along the only street in the town, private houses, shops, restaurant and government buildings are built. The booming border trade attracts merchants from inland China, Tibet and Nepal running business here. Nepalese merchants export rice, flour, pepper, vegetables, and perfumes while Chinese merchants sell wool, tea, salt and Tibetan medicine. Nepalese even run Nepalese restaurants in the small town, serving Nepalese dishes, instant noodles and beer produced in Nepal. A free trade market formed near the Friendship Bridge spontaneously 8 years ago, which is now still developing. According to an agreement between Chinese and Nepalese governments, people living near the border may cross the border freely within 30 kilometers (18 miles) from the border.
Every day, hundreds of Chinese and Nepalese merchants are doing their business. The local Sherpas lease their houses to those merchants, sharing profits from the border trade. Zhangmu is going to undergo a large construction to meet the demands of the booming tourism and border trade. Zhangmu Hotel, the only hotel in the town, is going to be reconstructed and expanded. The local government plans to build a 2220-meter (7280 feet) ropeway to improve the bad traffic in the next five years.