Top 10 Places for Tibet Tourism
Tibet has been a place of surreal attraction for many tourists. Each year, millions of admirers from all over the world visit this place of culture and natural beauty. Considered as the roof of the world, Tibet houses many iconic places of interest that consist of ancient sculptures, traditional jewelry as well as antiques.
Let’s take a look at top 10 places for Tibet tourism.
1-The Potala Palace:
The Potala palace is an architectural marvel located in the heart of the Lhasa City.Eventhough there was not a certain historical record who named the Potala or how the name originated. We do know that the most famous minister of Songtsan Gampo in the 7th century called Tonme Sambota who went to India to study Sanskrit and after his studies, he translated a lot of Sanskrit scriptures into Tibetan language. In one of his translated books, he mentioned that Riwo Potala, the mystical abode of Chenresi (Avaloktesvara ) of the God of Compassion in south India was identified with the paradise of Chenresi. Since Songtsan Gampo was widely regarded as the incarnation of Chenresi, and given that he founded the Potala, it seems plausible coined the name for the Palace so the Potala Palace is located on the Red Mountain, also known as Marpo Ri. It was built in the 637 which acted as a royal residence for the King Songtsan Gampo and the Potala Palace was nine stories high during the period of King Songtsan Gampo. However, it was later reconstructed by the 5th Dalai Lama in the year 1645 and used as a residence for successive of the Dalai Lama.
The Potala Palace is divided into two sections, one is the white Palace and another one is the red Palace. The white Palace was the living quarter of the Dalai Lama and the red Palace was the building where all the chapels are. There are golden thrones of the Dalai Lama and tombs of the successive of the Dalai Lama, completely made of gold, gilded with different kinds of precious stones. All the chapels in the red Palace are dedicated to many old sacred statues and the architects of the entire Potala is very special and unique with extremely beautiful old wall painting inside the Palace. Without the Potala Palace, the Tibet tourism should not have been famous to the world today.
2-The Jokhang Temple:
The Jokhang temple was built by the King Songtsan Gampo in the seventh century and it has been shrined to the most sacred statue of Buddha Shakyamuni which has been worshipped as a sacred place by the Tibetans for a long time now. Pilgrims come from all over the country to pay homage to the Jokang, Tibet’s most sacred temple, located in the very heart of Lhasa’s colorful Tibetan quarter. The Jokang temple is the focus of devotion day and night. Multitudes of Tibetans circle it while going round and round the Bharkor, the middle circumambulation, gaining spiritual merit and generally having a wonderful time. This is the spiritual center of Tibet as well as the heart of Lhasa.
The place where the center of Lhasa was a lake and it is believed that the Jokang temple was built on the lake. The entire Tibet is believed to be located on the body of a Supine Ogress and Jokang temple was built on the heart of the Supine Ogress. It is said that King Songtsan Gampo built the Jokang temple on the heart of Supine Ogress in order to press down the Supine Ogress.
The temple is a beautiful amalgamation of architectural design emerging from Nepal, India, and China and a lot extremely sacred and old statues, old painting which makes it a great location for Tibet Tourism.
Drepung was founded By Jamyang choje in 1416. This celebrated yellow hat Lama was born in near Samye monastery to a wealthy family ( a childhood friend donated large sums for the building of Drepung monastery ). First ordained at Tsethang monastery and he also studied at Jangphu and Tsomolung. His prodigious memory and uncommon spirituality made him the leading disciple of Tsongkapa, the founder of yellow hat school. Jamyang choje benifited greatly from the Phagmo Drupa government. Rich families and feudal lords contributed unhesitantly when he announced plans to create a great monastery. Drepung was thus able to develop very quickly. One year after commencement, the monastery had become home to 2000 monks.
Drepung is not only the largest monastery of the Yellow Hat school but also it was the largest monastery all over Tibet. In the olden days, it is said that there were more than 7700 monks in Drepung monastery. There are four main monastic colleges such as Loseling college, Gomang college, Ngapa college and Deyang college. The most important object of Drepung monastery is the statute of Matreya or the future Buddha. During the Shoton festival in the summer, a giant silk embroidered Thangka is displayed in Drepung monastery and a thousands of pilgrims and tourists come to Drepung monastery to pay homage to the most sacred and oldest Thangka so Drepung is one of the most important sites to visit when it comes to Tibet tourism.
Namtso is a beautiful as well as holy lake which is located in the northern part of Tibet, to the north west of Damxiong county which is 200km away from Lhasa. It has been tagged as the 2nd largest salt lakes in China and located at the altitude of 4,718 meters. Lake Namtso also acts as a place for pilgrimage for Tibetans during the “Year of the Sheep.” With beautiful scenery close to the blue sky, snow-capped mountain, many Tibetan nomad camps with lots of Yaks, sheep and horses surrounding the lake. Namtso is truly a marvelous place when it comes to Tibet Tourism.
4- Sera monastery
Sera lies at the base of Phurbachok Ri, a mountain of the Tatipu range that defines the northern limit of Lhasa city and serves as a watershed for the Kyichu and Penpo rivers. Sera is one of the Gelukpa’s six largest monasteries and it was founded in 1419 by Jamchen choke Shakya Yeshe, another principal disciple of Tsongkapa. But even before this time, Tsongkarpa and his disciples, Kedrub Je and Gyeltsab Je, established meditation retreats in the Sera Utse ridge. The complex today, a veritable monastic city, occupies a site of nearly 12 hectares. There is the main assembly hall and three different colleges of Sera Je, Sera Me and Ngapa colleges. The most important object of the monastery is the statue of the Buddha with the horse headed one. A thousands of pilgrims and tourists come to Sera monastery to get blessing from the Buddha with the horse headed one. It is believed that the small children, when they can not sleep well or when they are badly sick, their parents always bring to Sera monastery to get blessing from the Buddha with the horse headed one. The monks give a black dot on the nose of the children and pray to get rid of the children’s all bad luck. In the olden days, the Sera monastery was said that there were more than 5500 monks and nowadays, there are above 400 monks.
The Norbu Lingka, the jewel park, is one of the most relaxing , pleasant parts of Lhasa . The site is a large, 40-hectare enclave on the outskirts of the town, full of trees, ponds, gardens, Palaces, and Pavilions. Since the middle of the 18th century, it has been the official summer residence of the Dalai Lama. The grand Palaces and auxiliary buildings were largely built during this century by the 13th and 14th Dalai Lama.
The Norbu Lingka was started by the seventh Dalai Lama, Kelsang Gyatso 18th century . He came to this woodland area each summer to bathe in a medicinal spring. The Uyab Potrang Pavilion was erected by him for this purpose. Kelsang Potrang or Kelsang Palace was built by him and it is the first Palace of the Norbu Lingka. The 8th Dalai Lama Jampel Gyatso spent most of his time in Norbu Lingka in meditation and he built another Palace called Tsokyil Potrang. The next major construction of the Norbu Lingka was done by the 13th Dalai Lama and the last Palace was built by the 14th Dalai Lama. During Shoton festival, around 7 days festival is going on in Norbu Lingka and many Tibetan operas are preformed here in Norbu Lingka.
Namtso is a beautiful as well as holy lake which is located to the northwest of Damxung County. Damxiong county is 200km far away from Lhasa. Namtso has been tagged as the 2nd largest lakes in China and it is located at the altitude of 4,718 meters. Lake Namtso also acts as a place for pilgrimage for Tibetans during the “Year of the Sheep.” With beautiful scenery close to the blue sky, It worthwhile to spend a night in Namtso and enjoy the most beautiful view of Namtso lake from Tashido Hermitage. You can walk around Tashido hermiate by visiting different small caves and at the same time, you are walking around the shore of the lake with a fantastic view of the Namtso lake and Nyenchen Thangla snow mountain on the southwest of the Namtso lake. Namtso is truly a marvelous place when it comes to Tibet Tourism.
The Yamdrok Lake is a unique combination of pasture, plants, wild animals, islands, monastery, blue sky, snowy mountains and many others. There are 11 big different arms of Yamdrok lake and each arm has different shape and the beauty. The people who live around Yamdrok lake live on both farming and nomadic lives. Some arms of the Yamdrok lake is under the administration of Nakartse county which is to the southwest of Lhasa city at the distance of 160km and some of the arms of the Yamdrok lake is under the administration of Gongkar county which is just around 65km away from Lhasa. The scenery around Yamdrok lake in the summer time is extremely beautiful that it has beautiful green grassland, snow-capped mountain, wild lives, beautiful Tibetan villages.
Tashilhunpo, principle monastery of the Tsang prefecture, is one of the six largest Gelukpa’s monasteries. Tashi Lhunpo is the largest monastery in the Tsang region, founded in 1447 by Tsongakapa’s nephew and disciple, Gedhundrup, the first Dalai Lama. It was substantially enlarged under the fourth Penchen Lama. Tashi Lhunpo is the seat of the Penchen Lama and the most important object inside Tashi Lhunpo monastery is the statue of Matreya or the Future Buddha. The statue is 26 meters high and completely made of bronze with gilded gold. There are many relics inside the statue. Thousands of pilgrims come to Tashi Lhunpo monastery in order to get blessing from the giant future Buddha. In the olden day, there were over 2000 monks in Tashi Lhunpo monastery and nowadays, there are around 400 monks.
9-Mt. Everest Base Camp:
Nowhere in the Hiamalaya can the immense height of Mount Everest ( 8850m) 20 years back and (8848m) 8 years back and now it is said that it’s elevation is (8844m). the highest point on earth, be appreciated as it can be in Tibet. The northern flanks of this grand massif are unobstructed by neighboring peaks or ridges, allowing excellent views of the entire mountain from both the Rongphu ( typically misspelled Rongbuk ) and Kangshung face Base Camps. A good portion of the summit is even visible from several points along the friendship highway, particularly from the old Dingri plains.
The Tibetan name for Mount Everest is Chomolangma ( Qomolangma ), also spelled Jomo Langma and Chomolangma. The mountain was first recognized as the world’s tallest peak in 1840, when it was labeled peak XV during the Great Trigonometrical survey of India and the Himalaya. In 1865, after attempts failed to discover a local name, the survey named it Mount Everest in honor of the genius behind this huge project, sir George Everest.
The north basecamp of Mount Everest from Rongphu monastery is the best view of Mount Everest and there is another perfect view of Everest with it’s beautiful glacier is from easts Everest base camp when you trek in the Kangshung valley where Sherpa Tenzin Norgye was born who was the first Everest climber in the world.
Mount Kailash ( 6714m), Asia’s most sacred mountain, is located in a high and isolated enclave of west Tibet. Mount Kailash has been tagged as a sacred mountain that is believed to be the central location of our world as per mythology. According to the Sanskrit tradition of Vishnu Purana( 200BC ), Mount Kailash is representation of Mount Sumeru, cosmetic mountain at the center of the universe.
It is a sacred place for many religions which includes Bons, Jains, Hindus, and Buddhists and considered as the most sacred pilgrimage destination in Tibet. Mount Kailash is also one of three pilgrimage sites in the western Tibet , known collectively as Kangri Tsosum; the other two are Ponri Ngaden and Lake Mansarovar. All three of those pilgrimage sites are said to be the heart of the ancient Shangshung kingdom, the supposed land of origin of the pre-Buddhist which is called Bonpos.
Mount Kailash is considered as Bonpos soul-mountain ( Lhari ) or the abode of their God which they also call Yungdrung Gurutse , the nine-story Swastika Mountain. They believe that their religious legendary founder, Tonpa Shenrab descended from heaven to the Mount Kailash and considered Mount Kailash as the abode of Tonpa Shenrab. In the 11th century, a great Buddhist Yogi Mila Repa or he is also called a poet saint and patriarch of the Kagyupa sect came to Kailash began the dominant influence in the area. This came to know when he defeated his Bonpo archrival, Naro Bonchung in a series of magical contests. Relic traces of this epic battle can be seen from time to time along the ritual circuit around Mount Kailash. From the 12th century, many of the Kagyupa came around the mountain sacred lake Mansarovar. They built many monasteries and retreats around the Mount Kailash and lake Mansarovar. Large number of pilgrims came to Mount Kailash to pay homage to Mount Kaialsh, known as Gang Rinpoche, the Precious Snow Mountain , holiest of Tibet’s peak.
For the Buddhist believers, Mount Kailash is the abode of Samvara or Demchok in Tibetan, the wrathful manifestation of Buddha Shakyamuni and Lake Mansarovar is the mental creation of Samvara. For Hindus, Mount Kailash is the abode of Shiva and lake Mansarovar is the soul lake of Shiva. Today, Mount Kailash and Lake Mansarovar has become one of the most popular pilgrimage and adventure travel destination and every year, thousands of thousands tourists and pilgrims come from all over the world. To get more information about Tibet trip information, please visit www.shambhala-adventure.com
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