Things to See in Tibet
Potala Palace is a large and impressive building located on the Red Mountain, northwest of Lhasa city. It was built in 637 by Songtsan Gampo and was a Royal Palace. Later in 1645 Lozang Gyatso, the great fifth Dalai Lama reconstructed the Potala Palace and then became the residence of Dalai Lama. 1994, the UNESCO put the Potala Palace onto the World Cultural Heritage List. In 2001, the State Tourism Administration rated it as 4A tourism spot on the national level. It is 117 m high, 13 storied and has 1000 rooms. Different sections of the palace houses a great wealth of cultural and art objects of Tibet. Many parts of the palace, now turned to a museum is open for the visitor.
Jokhang Temple is located on Barkhor Square, Lhasa and was built in 7th century. It was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000 AD. In 2001, the State Tourism Administration appraised the Jokhang Temple as 4A-level tourism site. It was built by King Songtsan Gampo for his two brides: the Tang Princess Wencheng and Nepalese Princess Bhrikuti. The temple’s architectural style combines Chinese Tang Dynasty design and Nepalese design.
Norbulingka is located in the west of Lhasa, a short distance to the southwest of the Potala Palace. Norbulingka means ‘Jeweled Park’ in Tibetan. Norbulingka, the summer palace of the Dalai Lama, it’s well preserved murals, superb mandalas and frescoes are fascinating sights not to miss. Norbulingka cover an area of 36 hectares (89 acres) with 374 rooms. It is the largest garden, with the best scenery and the most historical sites, in Tibet. It has been turned into a park.
Barkhor Street is a lively combination of marketplace, pilgrim circuit and ethnic melting pot. The 20-minute hexagonal circuit, running clockwise around the Jokhang Temple and other structures, is always busy, especially at dawn and dusk. There are more than 120 handicraft shops and 200 stalls on the street with 8,000 kinds of goods, including religious articles such as copper Buddha, prayer wheels, scriptures, and prayer beads, and Tibetan handicrafts such as Tibetan wool, snuff bottles, and Tibetan knives.
Namsto Lake is the largest lake in Tibet Autonomous Region which is located 5 hours north from the Lhasa. It is called as heavenly lake in Tibet. Namsto is at an altitude of about 4718 meters. The lake is surrounded by the snow covered Nyenchen Tanglha Range, the highest mountain in north Tibet. Namsto is regarded as the holy lake by Tibetan Buddhists. During the year of the Sheep in the Tibetan calendar believers make a pilgrimage to Lake Namsto.
Yamdrok Lake is located at the Nangartse County of Shannan Prefecture, some 110 km to the southwest of Lhasa. Yamdrok Lake is one of the three holy lakes in Tibet. The lake is 130 km long from east to west and 70 km broad from north to south. It is the largest inland lake on the northern range of the Himalayas standing at an elevation of 4,441 meters. Yamdrok Lake is known as ‘jade lake’ in Tibet and a barrier lake since glacier mud-rock flows blocked the river way millions of years ago.
Mount Kailash known in Tibet as Kang Rinpoche or “Precious Jewel of Snow” is the most sacred peak in Tibet. It is located in far westernTibet’s Ngari prefecture, more than 1200 kilometers from Lhasa. At an elevation of 6,656 meters above sea level, snow-capped Kailash gives life to 4 grand rivers: Shiquan River, meaning Lion Fountain, known as Indus in the lower reaches; Maquan River, meaning Horse Fountain, the origin of Yarlung Tsangpo River; Xiangquan River, meaning Elephant Fountain, known as Sutlej in the lower reaches; Konhqu Rier, meaning Peacock Fountain, the origin of Ganges River. There is no other peak in Tibet that is as holy as Kailash, every year thousands of Buddhist and Hindus do the 52 kilometer pilgrimage circuit around the mountain.
Sera monastery is located at the southern slope of the Serawoze Mountain in the northern suburbs of Lhasa. It was built by Sagya Yeshes, one of the 8 disciples of Zongkapa, founder of the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The Sera Monastery has a rich collection of cultural relics. The “Ganggyur” enshrined in the CoqenHall is the most precious. Each great volume is protected by wooden boards in ted lacquer and golden thread. The text is written in Tibetan, with their Chinese titles on the ridge of the wooden board. There is a big festival known as the Sera Bengqin Festival in Sera Monastery which is held on the 27th day of the twelfth month of the Tibetan calendar.
Lake Manasarovar or Mapaham Tum Tso in Tibetan is Tibet’s most scared lake. It is among the world’s highest fresh-water lakes at an elevation of 4,583 meters and covers 412 square kilometers. The lake is located in the Burang county, 20 km southeast of the Mount Kailash. It is believed that bathing with the water of Manasarovar will drive off avaricious desires, troubled thoughts and past sins; drinking the water will keep healthy and away from disease; whilw circling the lake will bring boundless beneficence to the pilgrims. Throughout the year, numerous pilgrims and visitors are attracted to the holy Mt. Kailash and the Lake Manasarovar.
Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon
Stretching 505 km (314 miles), the Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon starts from Daduka Village, Mainling County at an altitude of 2,880 meters (9,450 feet) in the north to Pasighat Village, Medog County at an altitude of 115 meters (377 feet) in the south. Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon is the deepest canyon in the world. Its average depth is 2,268 meters (7,440 feet) and the deepest point is 6,009 meters (19,714 feet). Combining high mountains, turning canyons, and great waterfalls, it is no doubt that the Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon is spectacular natural phenomenon, and a great treasure for mankind.
The Ganden Monastery is situated on the Wangbori Mountain which resembles a reclining elephant to the northeast of the Dagze County, the monastery facing east commands an elevation of 3,800 meters above sea level. The Ganden Monastery was built in the early 15th century. The creation of the Ganden Summons Ceremony and the establishment of the Ganden Monastery symbolized the formation of the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Together with the Sera Monastery and Drepung Monastery which were set up later, they became to known as the “three Large Monasteries in Lhasa”. As Zongkapa himself initiated the Ganden Monastery, acted as its 1st abbot and passed away in the same monastery, Ganden Monastery commands inseparable status among all the Gelung Sect Monasteries.