Tibet Places to Visit
Tibet, the land of snows, the roof of the world!!. Tibet nestled between the Himalayas in the south and the Kunlun Shan in the north, conjures images of blue skies, flapping prayer flags and red-cheeked Tibetan monks. A visit to Tibet is not a walk in the park, but proper preparation combined with a healthy attitude for the rustic will make any visitor to Tibet fall in love with the place. Tourism industry in Tibet is controlled by the Chinese government, and a visit to Tibet a trip of a lifetime! No other tourist’s destination provides many unforgettable memories. The unique picturesque scenery, traditional culture, religion, the honest and sincere people of Tibet, made it a memorable place in people’s mind. Exploring Tibet with AMN is not only just a travel. It’s a journey of discovery and adventure. Here, we have list the top 10 best tourist places in Tibet, which can make your tour memorable with your family and friends!
Drepung Monastery, the largest and richest monastery in Tibet, was founded in 1416 by a disciple of Tsong Khapa. Drepung, which means rice heap in Tibetan, lies 8 kilometers west of Mt. Gambo Utse. The monastery covers a floor space of more than 200 thousand square meters. At its peak, it had a registration of more than 10,000 thousand monks. Many high and learned lamas had studied here.
The Main Assembly Hall (known as Tshomchen) covers 4,500 sq. meters and is supported by 183 pillars in the center of the monastery. It is the best known, most powerful tschomen of all the monasteries in Tibet. Gilded Buddha and Sakyamuni are enshrined and worshipped in this hall where the Iron Bar Lama, assistant to the the chief of the tshomchen, would take over administrative power of Lhasa during the Great Prayer Festival.
Barkhor Street, a circular street at the center of Old Lhasa, is the oldest street in traditional city of Tibet. It is a place where Tibetan culture, economy, religion and arts assemble and is a must to visit while being in Lhasa. Buddhist pilgrims walk or progress by body-lengths along the street clockwise every day into deep night.
To the west of the north street of Barkhor, in front of a juniper hearth, the annual ceremony to hail Maitreya (Buddha of the Future) is held. Tibetans pray before the hearth to expect fortune in the next year.
Barkhor, the sacred pilgrim path, is also a marketplace where shaggy nomads, traders, robed monks and chanting pilgrims join together. Clustered shops and stalls sell printed scriptures, cloth prayer flags and other religious vessels, jewelry, Tibetan knives, ancient coins and other Tibetan relics.
Jokhang Temple, is the spiritual center of Tibet. Everyday, pilgrims from every corner of Tibet trek a long distance to the temple. Some of them progress by prostrating themselves throughout their journey until they reach the threshold of the temple. Pilgrims kindle butter lamps with yak butter, or honor the deities with white scarves (Kha-ta) while murmuring sacred mantras to show their pieties to the Buddha.
The temple lies at the center of the old Lhasa. Built in 647 by Songtsen Gampo and his two foreign wives, it has a history of more than 1,300 years. It was said that the Nepalese Princess Tritsun wanted to build a temple to house the image of Jowo Sakyamuni brought by Chinese Princess Wencheng. The temple is the product of Han, Tibetan and Nepalese architectural techniques. Visitors will be treated to the sight of various exotic and sacred sculptures. It also houses many invaluable cultural relics. Every year, the Great Prayer Festival is held in the Temple. Initiation rites into lamahood of the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lamas are also held in this monastery.
Potala Palace, The monastery like palace, reclining against and capping Red Hill, was the religious and political center of old Tibet and the winter residence of Dalai Lamas. It is more than 117 meters in height and 360 meters in width, occupying a space of 90 thousand sq. meters. Potala comprises both the White Palace and the Red Palace. The former is a secular building while the latter is sacred.
The White Palace contains offices, dormitories, a Buddhist seminary and a printing house. The center of the complicated Red Palace is the Great West Hall, which records the Great Fifth Dalai Lama's life by its fine murals.
Sera Monastery, one of the three largest monasteries of Gelugpa, sits at the foothills of Tatipu. It is as prestigious as Drepung and Ganden, which both have longer histories. Sera, in Tibetan, means "Wild Rose Garden" since opulent wild rose woods once grew around it. Sera is designed around a Main Assembly Hall, or Tshomchen in Tibetan, which is the grandest hall of Sera, occupying a floor space of 1,000 sq. meters. The four-storied hall has four chapels in which Arhats, Manjushri, Tsong Khapa, and Chenrezi are enshrined.
Palkor Monastery, also named Palcho Monastery, is very different from other monasteries. It lies about 230 kilometers south of Lhasa and 100 kilometers east of Shigatse at the foot of Dzong Hill. Built as a Tibetan monastery, its structural style is very unique.
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.
Tashilhunpo Monastery lies 2 kilometers west of Shigatse city. It lies at the foot of Drolmari, or Tara's Mountain and is one of Tibet's most influential monasteries. It was founded in 1477 by Gendun Drubpa, the first Dalai Lama. The monastery buildings currently occupies 300 thousand sq. meters in area. There are nearly 800 monks in Tashilhunpo.
Some 200km (124mi) southwest of Lhasa, is one of the least Chinese-influenced towns in Tibet and is worth a visit for this reason alone. The Palkhor Monastery here was built in 1427 and is notable for its superb Kumbum (10,000 images) stupa. The dzong (old fort) that towers above the village offers a fine view over the valley. Gyantse is a four-hour bus ride from Shigatse.
Mt. Everest, the Tibetan approach to Mt. Everest, or Qomolangma (8848m/29,021ft), provides far better vistas of the world's highest peak than those on the Nepal side. Some 27,000 sq km (10,422 sq mi) around Everest's Tibetan face have been designated as the Qomolangma Nature Preserve, aiming to protect the environment and the cultural traditions of the local people. For foreign travellers, the Everest Base Camp has become the most popular trekking destination in Tibet, but this does not mean that the region is exactly swarming with hikers. The two access points are Shegar and Tingri, along the Friendship Highway to Nepal, but be warned that neither trek is an easy three- or four-day stroll. Take your time getting acclimatised and be prepared for a strenuous climb. If it all sounds too much, 4WD vehicles can lurch all the way to Base Camp along the Shegar track.
Shakya is 152km (94mi) west of Shigatse and about 25km (15.5mi) south of the main road. The huge brooding monastery here was Tibet's most powerful 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.