Major Places of interest in Tibet

Potala Palace

The dominant landmark of Lhasa, 117 mt./384 ft. above city was the winter residence of Dalai Lama. An immense building built in 17th century, 13 storeys high with walls 3 metres/10 feet thick, contains over 1000 rooms, 10000 shrines and over 200000 statues and tombs of the former Heads of state. The entire building made of stone and wood covers an area of 130000 square metres. The Potala is full of elaborate art work and frescos that tell us many interesting stories.

Norbulingka

Founded in the 18th century was the summer palace of Dalai Lama on the bank of Kyichu River. There are fountains, pavilions, terraces and stone tables where visitors may rest amidst the numerous kinds of flowers and fauna. This small palace has odd mix of traditional Tibetan architecture and modern paraphernalia, such as a Philips radiogram and Victorian bathroom fittings.

Jokhang Temple & Barkhor Bazar

The most sacred and foremost temple in Tibet, built in the 7th century is housing the most prized Buddhist relic and a 1300 years old Sakyamuni Buddha statue. The main section of the temple is topped with golden roofs found nowhere else except in Tibet. Temple is encircled by Barkhor Bazar with many shops selling all manner of goods from trinkets to tantric ritual objects.Sera Monastery
For centuries it existed as a small monastic township housing over 5000 fully ordained monks, novices, workers and other functionaries. It is the main teaching monastery and one of the three great Gelukpa Universities. Here one can see the young novices learning scriptures in the debating garden and being rewarded for correct answer with a resounding hand-clap from their master. Sera is also the birth place of Tibetan medicine.

Drepung Monastery

This Monastery soon grew into the largest of all Gelukpa Monasteries, housing more than 10000 monks. It could well claim to have been the largest monastery the world has known. It soon became a major centre of Gelukpa religious power, as evidenced by the fact that the second, third and Fourth Dalai Lamas lived and were entombed here. The Fifth Dalai Lama ruled from here until the Potala Palace was finished. Of particular interest is the medieval monk’s kitchen with its great cauldrons of steaming barley “tsampa” sitting on top of huge earthen stoves and tented by saffron-robed monks wielding massive ladles.

Tsedang

Founded in 200 B.C. Tsedang is located in the fertile Yarlung Valley, cradle of Tibetan civilisation. Places of interest here are Tradruk Temple, Yambulakhang, Tombs of The Tibetan Kings etc. The journey to Samye Monastery, the oldest Monastery in Tibet begins on the boats to cross Brahmaputra River.

Gyantse

It was an important town on the trade route to India and Nepal. Tour highlights are Palcho Monastery, Kumbum Stupa housing 100,000 Buddha and other statues and the towering remnants of Gyantse fort, attacked by the British Expeditionary forces of Col. Francis Younghusband early 20th century.

Shigatse

It is the second biggest city in Tibet. Tashilimpo Monastery is the main attraction here. The complex of temples and tombs houses the bodies of a succession of Panchan Lamas and 15th Dalai Lama. The main temple houses 26 meter/85 feet tall statue of Maitreya Buddha. Nearby on the way to Gyantse is Shalu Monastery built in 11th century. The main interesting wall frescoes have been completed by Newar painters from Nepal and by Kashmir painters.

Xegar

Located at an altitude of 4800 mt./15744 ft., Xegar is an old trade road from Nepal border into the Tibetan high plateau. The road to Rongbuk (Everest Base Camp) diverts from here.

Zhangmu

It is the entry or exit point near border at an altitude of 2300 mt./7544 ft. with custom and immigration offices.

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