Places to See in Tibet

Tibet, a rich and beautiful land, is located at the main part of Qinghai-Tibet plateau, south-West frontier of China. Tibet is the most large and highest plateau in the world. The unique geographical conditions bring its special snow scenery into being.T ibet history, culture, and religion are just as enchanting and colorful. And it may be this combination of the ingenuity of nature, the art of man, and the vicissitudes of history that has endowed the Tibetan people with the strength and fortitude to pursue life and happiness so zealously, fanatically, and unremittingly along a path fraught with difficulties but full of hope. Its antiquated traditional culture and Buddhism of Tibet have formed its unique.

Potala Palace

Potala PalaceThis architectural wonder is Lhasa' cardinal landmark. It can be seen from all directions for miles around. Potala was set up in the seventh century AD during the reign of King Songtsen Gampo. It's located on the Red Hill, covers an area of 41 hectares.

Potala consists of the White and Red palaces with more than 1000 rooms. The white places was for secular use.

It contained living quarters, offices, the seminary and the printing house. The red Palace's function was religious. It contained gold stupas, which were the tombs of eight Dalai Lamas, the monks' assembly hall, numerous chapels and shrines, and libraries for Buddhist Scriptures.

With its world-wide reputation, the Potala stands on the Red Hill overlooking the Tibetan city of Lhasa as a major national cultural monument under special protection by the government of the People's Republic of China.

The name of the large sacred Buddhist building complex is a derivation from Samskrit Potalaka which is the mythical mountain abode of Avalokitesvara, one of the Bodhisattvas (Buddhist saints). In this connection Lhasa is popularly referred to as Second Mount Potalaka.

At an elevation of more than 3,700m, the Potala occupies an area of more than 360,000m. Its 13-story main portion rises 117m. The whole complex, consisting of halls, stupa-tomb halls (where the relics of the supreme lamas are preserved), shrines, prayer rooms, monks' dormitories and courtyards, is recognized as the world's highest and largest castle palace.

Built against the terraced slope of the hill, the structures combine to from a huge sky-scraping mass, reminscent of the divine realm above the mortal world. The granite walls elaborately decorated with soft white thatch, the golden roofs decorated with big gilded bottles, the splendid curtains and banners, join to form a unique structural wonder bearing the striking colors red, white and yellow characteristic of Tibetan architectural art, making the Potala an eminent example of a constructive technology traditionally Tibetan and Chinese.

As the winter residence of the successive Dalai Lamas, the Potala formerly served as the center of local Tebetan theocratic rule, hosting the major religious and political ceremonies since the reign of Dalai Lama V (1917-1682), at the same time housing the relics of those spiritual leaders.

The earliest project for the Potala started in A. D. 631 under Tibetan King Srang00brtsan-sgam-po (617?-650), which included 999 royal rooms plus a meditation chamber. That building was eventually destroyed by thunderbolts and wars.

Dalai Lama V, in his effort to consolidate his theocracy, entrusted in 1645 Bsod-glan-rab-den, his minister, with the rebuilding of the portion known as the White Palace of the Potala and also the enclosures, towers and turrets. When the project was completed, the patriarch moved his government to the new building from Bras-spungs Monastery.
Later in 1690 Prime Minister Bsam-rgya-mtsho enlarged the Red Palace as a part of his project to build Dalai Lama V's stupa-tomb. The extension was eompleted in 1693, which was to be followed by new projects sponsored by later Dalai Lamas, including 5 golden roofs and a number of accessory structures.

The Potala assumed its present form and scale in 1936 when Dalai Lama XIII's (1870-1933) stupa-tomb was completed.
The main portion of the Potala contains the White Palace and the Red Palace.

The 7-storey White Palace, Dalai Lamas' winter residence, also housed the former local Tibetan government. There the most spacious hall, the eastern Audience Hall (Sishe Phuntsok) occupies a central area of 717m on the 4th floor. It was there that the Dalai Lamas were enthroned as supreme Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader and the region's temporal ruler.
The 5th and 6th floors bore government offices and rooms for the officials.
Two particular apartments on the top floor, reserved for the Living Buddhas, were known as Eastern and Western Sunshine Apartments for their long access to sunlight.

In constrast with the White Palace, the Red Palace consists mainly of the supreme primates' stupa-tombs and the shrines.

Of the 8 stupa-tomb halls, the most magnificent is that for the cult of Dalai Lama V. To the west his memorial hall, the Western Audience Hall, covers 725m to be the largest hall in the Potala. Of the extensive murals there the most notable one shows the patriarch's audience with Chinese Emperor Shunzhi (reigned 1644-1661) in Beijing.
A tablet overhanging the patriarch's throne bears a Chinese phrase meaning literally "The Source of Lotus Flowers" written by Chinese Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799) himself. The phrase is a metaphoric reference to the Buddhist paradies.

The Dharma-raja's Cave (Chogyal Dupup) and several other apartments dating back from the reign of the Tu-bo Dynasty (629-846)are the earliest Potala structures extant. They house a valuable collection of statues, including the sculptural representation of King Srang-brtsan-sgam-po, his consorts Princess Wencheng and Princess Khri-btsun and his prime minister Blon-stong-btsan-po.

As the most elevated hall in the Red Palace, "The Best of the Three Realms" (Sasum Namgyal) accomodates the image of Chinese Emperor Qianlong and the statue of 11-face avalokitesvare cast in more than 10,000 ounces of silver as commissioned by Dalai Lama XIII. The remains of that spiritual leader are preserved in a stupa in the neighboring hall. Construction of that hall, begun in 1933, was not completed until three years later. Thus it is the newest hall in the whole complex.
The names of other sanctuaries include

"The Prominent Master's" (Lama Lhakhang),
"The Example of Samantabhadra" (Kunzang Jedokhang),
"The Wheel of Time" (Dukor Lhakhang),
"Sakyamuni of Loving Kindness" (Thupwang Lhakhang),
"Sakyamuni of Virtues" (Zegya Lhakhang),
The Buddha of Medicines's",
"The Great Gradual Path" (Lamring Lhakhang),
"The True Word" (Rigzin Lhakhang), and
"The Sacred Succession" (trungrab Lhakhang).

Subordinate constructions to the Potala include the Lam-rgyal Abbey, the Senior Seminary, the monks' dormitories and the eastern and western courtyards on the hill, while at the foot of the hill stands the houses once occupied by the local ogvernment bureaus and institutions, the printing press for Buddhist cannonical writings as well as a jail, the stables and the backyard garden.

Through more than 300 years the Potala has accumulated an enormous collection of monuments and relics. There are murals covering totally more than 2,500m, nearly 1,000 stupas, about 10,000 statues and as many thang-ka paintings, the religious library there includes puttra-leaf scriptures and the Bka'-'gyur (Buddhas's Teachings) volumes.

There are also a unique collection of golden diplomas and jade seals granted to successive Dalai lamas by Chinese Ming (1356-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) emperors to re-affirm the official ties between the local Tibetan administration and the central Chinese government. And the gold and silver artifacts, porcelain vessels, enamelwork, jadeware, brocade and other handicraft articles preserved in the Potala are enormous and richly diversified.

The beauty and originality of its architecture, its ornate decoration and its harmonious integration in a striking landscape add to its historic and religious interest.

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Trandruk Monastery

Trandruk MonasteryTran means roc and druk means dragon in Tibetan. The monastery got is name from the legend that it could only be built after Songtsan Gampo had turned into a roc and conquered an evil dragon. It’s said that renowned figures in the history of Tibetan Buddhism, such as Padmasambhava and Milariba, had practised Buddhism nearby after it was built and the remaining relics are Sacred land for the devotees.

Trandruk was built during the reign of Songtsan Gampo, and later extensionswere designed by Juequjian of it. It’s said Princess Wencheng stayed and practised Buddhism here at one time and left some relics. Trandruk later converted to Gelugpa and experienced large-scale reconstruction and later it belonged to Gelupa (one of the Sects of Tibetan Buddhism).

Location: Trandruk Monastery lies on the southern side Mt. Gangpo Ri, on the east bank of the Yarlung River, about 2 kilometers south of Tradrug.

Transportation:You can get a public bus from NaiDong Road in Tsedang to Trandruk Monastery for 2 Yuan. Alternatively it costs 10 Yuan to get there by motor tricycle or 5 Yuan to by local tractor. As it’s only 2 kilometers from NaiDong Road to the Monastery, you can walk there in about an hour.

Opening time:from 9:00 am to 16:00 pm. Allow about 2 hours or so for a visit.

Admission fee: 30 Yuan

Evaluation: You must see the most precious treasure in the monastery -- a pearl Thangka (Thangka is a kind of paintings illustrating Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan arts This pearl Thangka is brought here by Princess Wencheng)

Tour Trandruk Monastery

The lower layout of the main hall is similar to that of Jokhang in Lhasa. Once many ancient murals and the sculptures of Songtsan Gampo, Princess Wencheng, Nepal Princess Chizun and the minister Ludongzan were kept in the monastery. But they were gone for some historical reasons. Later the fifth Dalai Lama made some repairs and added a golden roof and there were further repairs made by the thirteenth Dalai Lama. Unfortunately a double-layer bell, which was cast under the supervision of the Han monk RenQing (DaBao) in the late 8th Century has since been destroyed. The bell was cast with 12 sentences of inscriptions in Tibetan and with 6 sentences on each layers. They were arranged from left to the right. The monastery has otherwise been restored and redecorated.

A pearl Thangka which is housed in one of the chapels representing Chenrezi (the Bodhisattva of Compassion) at rest is the monastery’s major treasure. It is 2 meters long, 1.2 meters wide and is made up of 29,026 pearls and a diamond, two rubies, a sapphires,185 turquoise, amber, 1997 corals and 15.5 grams of gold

Trandruk monastery is one of the earliest Buddhist monasteries in Tibet which attracts many pilgrims and visitors. It is included in the list of the state key historical sites that are given special protection.

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Yarlung Folk Culture Center

Yarlung Folk Culture CenterCovering 2,866 square meters, the Yarlung Folk culture center is a combination of Tibetan style and Han style in architecture. As an auxiliary project, the Tibetan Garden has eight scenic spots, with Naidong history being the theme. The scenic spots are as follows:

Gate to holy land is comprised of a series of such landscapes as …subsidence square, Peace tower, Tibetan drama forum, Stonewall for Tibetan legends, Buddhism steamer, etc. extending from north to south.

Pasture embodies the origin of Tibetan by means of the culture of Yak and Qingke (Highland barley).

Perfect pair tells not only the plaintive and lovely romantic story about princess Wen-cheng of Tang Dynasty and later married the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo at that time, but also the marriage customs in Tibet.

Leisure island is a place for leisure which consists of islands, trees and over-water architectures.
Fishing area is curved water areas made up of five scenic spots like fishing platform, silver beach and so on.
Racing on the grassland is made up of a group of recreations such as Tibetan horsemanship, archery, wrestling and Tibetan drama performance.

Tibet theme garden is about local conditions and customs.
Good luck for treasure is a large area of woods in which something valuable have been hidden previously, and the participants will make an attempt to find the hidden items for recreation with a map offered by the center.

Location: Yarlung Folk culture center lies in the Changzhu town, Naidong county, Lhokha Prefecture. Being in the middle reach of the Yarlung Tsangpo River, the center is facilitated with good transportation and communication, not to mention its mild climate.

Evaluation: With its unique attractions, the Yarlung Folk culture center will indulge you in the Tibetan culture. The Yarlung Folk culture center represents a transition from traditional tourism to modern tourism, as well as a milestone in the development of tourism in Lhokha Prefecture.

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Lake Lhamo Nhatso

Lake Lhamo NhatsoLhamo Nhatso means “auspicious heavenly mother lake” or “numinous mother lake” in Tibetan and another name for it is Qiongguoje Lake. Standing on the mountain top as high as 5,100 meters and looking down, the holy lake is surrounded by mountains. And it takes a head bones skeleton shape like a mirror at the foot of the mountains and the scenery is elegant. Lake Lhamo Nhatso is a high mountain freshwater lake with an area of about 1 square kilometers. The lake surface keeps on freezing up about 7 months. When in summer, after it is thawing, the lake sometimes is as still and clear as a mirror; sometimes red clouds are gathering in the sky and there are waves without wind. Strange sounds are heard now and then and various fantastic scenes are appearing.

Though the lake is not large, it stands in a special position in reincarnation system of Tibetan Buddhism and it is revered by Buddhists. Every year those who are looking for the successors of Dalai Lama and Panchen Lamas after they pass away must go there, because their reincarnation could be found after seen in the lake. Every April to June of Tibetan calendar, numerous Buddhist devotees make a pilgrimage here and observe the wonderful sights. It is said different people see the same sight may get different views. It is also said that people can see their future life from the reflections of the lake. The 4th year of ZhengDe, Ming Dynasty (1509AD), Qukejiesi was built nearby by Gedun Gyatso, the Second Dalai Lama, which added more views to the unique views of the plateau.

Location: Located in the mountains of Gyacha County, with an altitude about more than 4,000 meters above the sea level.

Transportation: It’s very inconvenient to reach Lake Lhamo Nhatso but it’s worth of trekking there for the beautiful scenery.

You should first get to Gyacha County about 128 kilometers away from Tsedang, then to Cuijiu village in the north. Bumping along the dirt road about 20 kilometers to Daqiongje temple, which is the terminal of the bus to Lake Lhamo Nhatso. Then you still have a 15-kilometer mountain path to follow or you can rent a horse to ride there.

Evaluation: The most romantic lake in Tibet and the scenery is very beautiful.

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Tashilunpo Monastery

Tashilunpo MonasteryDriving on the road far away from Shigatse, from the west city you can see the gold roof of Tashilunpo Monastery shinning under the sunshine. Experiencing five centuries, it still maintains the magnificent vigor. Tashilhunpo Monastery (meaning auspicious) is one of the Six Big Monasteries of Gelugpa (or Yellow Hat Sect) in China and the biggest Tibetan Gelugpa Buddhism monastery in back Tibet area. Also called the Heap of Glory, the monastery is located at the foot of Drolmari (Tara's Mountain), Shigatse.

Gendun Drubpa, the first Dalai Lama and a most outstanding disciple of Tsong Khapa founded Tashilhunpo Monastery in 1477. In 1600, the Fourth Panchen Lama started a large-scale expansion and his successors carried on. In 1713, the Chinese emperor finally ascertained the Fifth Panchen Lama’s title and status. The monastery became the seat of Panchen Lama. At its climax, there are 3,000 rooms with more than 5,000 lamas, above 50 underling temples and over 30 manors. From the Fourth Panchen Lama, all the successors take it as seat. The monastery now has a building space of 300 thousand square meters (3,229,279 sq. ft.). The main structures found in the Tashilhunpo Monastery are The Maitreya Chapel, The Panchen Lama's Palace and The Kelsang Temple. Tashilhunpo is the seat of the Panchen Lama since the Fourth Panchen Lama took charge in the monastery, and there are now nearly 800 lamas.

Tashilunpo Monastery is located on the southern slope of the Nyima Mountain to the west of the Shigatse city. (Gatehouse Tel: 0892-8222933)

How to Get There:
The Tashilhunpo Monastery is situated at the west part of Shigatse City; you can take a walk to the monastery or you could opt to travel by pedicab.

Admission Fee:
RMB 55 Yuan compromises a nice Tashilunpo Monastery introduction video or RMB 45 Yuan per one without the video. If you come during some important Tibetan festivals, such as Tibetan New Year, and Dancing Deity Festival, you may enter the monastery for free. No discount for students.

Opening Hours:
08:00 to 16:00(closed for lunch from 12:00 to 14:00)

Recommended Time for a Visit:
Ordinary you need three hours, but the monastery is quite big with lots of things worth appreciation, so spend as much time as possible.

Tashilunpo Monastery represents the Tibetan super architecture art in the Last Tibetan spirit. The monastery attracts thousands of Buddhists and tourists from domestic and abroad to travel and worship every year.

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Shodain Monastery

Shodain MonasteryLocation
Shodain Monastery is located in the center of Nagqu Town, Nagqu County (about 338 miles away from Lhasa) in Nagqu area.

Attraction Introduction
Shodain Monastery, which is governed by Ji Zhchang of Sera Monastery in Lhasa, was found in 1814. Its former name is “Shodain Yarba”, and it is also called “Shadain Monastery”. It is one of the most influential monasteries in Nagqu area, originally belonged to Nyingma Sect and then belonged to Geru Sect. There are two Zhachangs in the monastery: one is Mi Zhachang Shazhujiang Zangongbelin, short for Mini Zhachang; another is Juba Zhachang Sawangondo Aganli Shalin, short for Juba Zhachang. Before 1950, there are 350 lamas here, but now only 60.
Shodain Monastery can be qualified as the most famous Yellow Sect in north Tibet. The size of the monastery is not so big. There is a golden law wheel surrounded by tow golden sheep standing in the middle roof of the monastery as a symbol of this monastery, which is a little like Jokhang Monastery in Lhasa. This monastery has more than 200 years history. The 13th Dalai Lama had lived in Shodain Monastery for more than one month in 1908 when he came back to Tibet from Beijing via Nagqu. And he authorized Shodain Monastery to hold the Grand Summons Ceremony every January 4th in Tibet calendar. He not only indicated that all the lamas in Shodain Monastery could enjoy the treatment at the annual Buddhist service in Lhasa, but also ordered that the number of lamas in Shodain Monastery should be kept above 300. During a certain time period, this has been a very glory for Shodain Monastery, but now all this has become history.

Feature of the Monastery
Apart from the Grand Summons Ceremony regularly hold here, Shodain Monastery also holds the big religious dance, Changmo (an old song and dance tradition). The Changmo Dance in Shodain Monastery is quite unique in Tibet, which is called Je Changmo and Jusong Changmo Qin. Je means eight. Changmo means dance or hop. As it is a kind of Changmo in August, so is named Je Changmo. Jusong means thirteen. Qin means big or informal. Because it is a kind of big religious dance formally held on 13th, local people call it Jusong Changmo Qin. The performance on August 2nd without wearing Changmo costume is called Debula, which means portable or easy taking. Actually it is a kind of inner rehearsal, while the performance on August 8th wearing Changmo costume is called Jeyang Changmo. On August 13th, performers wear their best Changmo costume and give a formal show, which is called Jusong Changmo Qin. Lot of local people will go to the monastery to see the big performance. After the show, the monastery will hold a solemn ceremony of exorcising.

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Chambaling Monastery (Camdo Monastery)

Chambaling Monastery (Camdo Monastery)Looking down from the top of the Tamala Pass, Chambaling Monastery appears tucked in the crisscrossing mountain ranges on a knoll-composed layers of red earth formed by ancient glaciers between the Tsarchu and Ngom Qu Rivers. This monastery was founded during the Ming period by a disciple of Tsongkapa after Tsongkapa's religious reform in Tibet. According to Gelug Sect rules, the Chamdo Monastery should harbor 2,500 monks.

When Tsongkapa made his journey into Tibet via Chamdo in 1373, he predicted that in the future a monastery would be erected and Buddhism would flourish in the area. Later, in 1437(year 2 of Zhengtong in Ming dynasty), Sherab Sangpo, one of Tsongkapa's disciples, founded the monastery on a rocky hill between the Ngom Qu and Tsarchu Rivers, and modeled it on a flying eagle about to land. The main relic is the statue of the Jampa (the Future Buddha) from which the name of the monastery, Chambaling is derived. The monastery is the largest of the Gelug Sect monasteries in Chamdo region and is divided into five colleges: the Lingtod, Lingme, Nupling, Kuchuk, and Chagra-khapa. By this time the monastery had one hundred and thirty subordinate monasteries in the Kham region, mostly concentrated in Chamdo, Drayak, Pagshod, Shopado, Sang-ngag Choling, and Powo.

The Monastery has always maintained close relationship with successive interior imperial counts. The giant living Buddha of the monastery has been granted titles since the reign of emperor Kangxi in the Qing dynasty. It still keeps the brass seal granted to Phagpalha Living Buddha during Emperor Kangxi’s Reign.

In Emperor Kangxi years, Chambaling Monastery made good effort to help Qing with its war against Zhunge’er Section. So the 6th Pagbalha was rewarded as “Nuomenhan” by Emperor Kangxi, and given a bronze seal, and he was also one of the six ho-thog-thues after Kangxi praised Panchen Erdini. Kangxi wrote “Ganden Chambaling Monastery” for the temple. At that time, the temple was under the most prosperous development, including 3500 Buddhas and 135 branch temples in Chamdo. Five Living Buddha had Zhacangs (the sutra halls):Lindui,Linmai, Nulin, Kuqiu and Jiarekaba,and the third Phagpalha used to be the master of the temple.

Chamdo is the gateway between Sichuan and Tibet, and so is an important trading center. The Monastery, too, engaged in trade. It distributed its profits equally among the monks in the form of daily necessities such as butter, “tsampa”(barley flour), brick tea etc. At the end of the year, the monastery equally distributed all the left profits. Chambaling Monastery was similar to other major Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries, with the well-reserved statues, frescos and Tangkas (Buddhist paintings). As one of the three leading temples in “old” Tibet, it took up a great amount of land and hired bondmen. But all “abbot”, “kanbu” and “Living Buddaha” could not live luxury life according to the rules. The monastery stands high on the mountain, all Buddhas had to go down to the river and carry water to the monastery. There were twenty-two big bronze pots, each containing more than 100 barrels of water. Everyday, the residents living around carried drinking water to the monastery to support 2500 Buddha’s daily life.

Because the monastery is located at the highest part of Chamdo Town, you can have a bird view of the whole county, where the roaring Lantsang River converges Ngom Qu River and Tsarchu Rivers.

The monastery committee consists of 11 persons, including 1 supervisor and 3 assistant supervisors. They are in charge of monastery’s construction, security, teaching and finance, etc. All Buddhas begin to read the Buddhism books at 7a.m, then have seminar in afternoon, and review what they have done the whole day at 6 p.m.  If anyone did not obey the rule, the monastery would quit him.

Scenic spot:
The monastery is famous for its well-reserved statues, frescos and Tangkas. The religious dance named Guqing is performed during every Tibetan New Year (one month after New Year’s Day). Dancers perform in splendid costumes. The dance enjoys high reputation in the Tibet Plateau and is worth looking.

Legends of the attraction:
It is said that when Master Tsongkapa went to Tibet from Qinghai by way of the juncture of the Lantsang River and Tsarchu River, he predicted that Chamdo would be a wonderful place to build temples and promote Buddhism. Later, Sherab Sangpo, a Lama of Gelug Sect from Kham, was appointed to promote Buddhism in Kham by Gyatsoje, a disciple of Tsongkapa. And finally he built a temple on the fourth terrace of Chamdo in 1444. Sherab Sangpo visited a Domdai officer(an officer in charge of 1,000 household) to collect money for the construction of the temple. The Domdai donated his own grassland as the site of the temple. Sandui, one of the 5 Zhacang, is the place where domdai built yak camps.

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Yumbulagang Palace

Yumbulagang PalacePerched on the mountain top, the towering and outstanding Yumbulagang looks like a blockhouse. “Yumbu” means female deer named after the shape of the Jormo Zhaxi Ceri Mountain which looks like a female deer. “lagang” means sacred palace. Yumbulagang , “palace of mother and son” in Tibetan dialect, is the first palace and one of the earliest buildings in Tibet and it has a history of more than 2,000 years. It’s said that it was built for Nyatri Tsanpo, the first Tibetan King by Bon believers in the 2nd century BC. Then it became the summer palace of Songtsan Gampo and Princess Wencheng. The 5thDalai Lama changed it as the monastery of Old-Yellow Hat Sect (Kadamspa). The Jormo Zhaxi Ceri means “auspicious mountain” in Tibetan dialect. About 400 meters in the northeast from the mountain, there is an ever-flowing spring called “Geer spring”. It’s said that the spring can cure any diseases, so most people who come to Yumbulagang to worship will come here to have a drink and take a bath.

Location: Perched on the summit of the Jormo Zhaxi Ceri Mountain on the east bank of the Yarlung River, about five kilometers in the south from the Tradrug county.

Transportation: The most convenient way to Yumbulagang is to rent a motor tricycle for about 40 Yuan for a round-trip. Bargaining with the driver in advance to stop at Trandruk Monastery on the way back in order to prevent the driver asking for an extra charge

Opening time: Anytime is ok.

Admission Fee: 30 Yuan. Recommended visiting time: about an hour or so.

Evaluation: Tibet's first palace. It’s a worthwhile visit for those Tibetan history fans.

Legend: There is a folktale about the construction of Yumbulagang. It’s said that the first Tsanpo who was the Heavenly son descended to Tsantang Plains by heavenly ladder one day and was seen by 12 Bon herdsmen and they made him king of the tribe. Because he was brought down to the tribe seated on the shoulders of the herdsmen, the name Nyatri Tsanpo which means “the King Seated on the Throne Neck” was given to him. Then people of the Yarlung tribe built Yumbulagang as the palace for Nyatri Tsanpo.

Scenic spot: Yumbulagang is mainly divided into two parts: the front part is multi-layer palace, while the back part is a square watchtower of a high blockhouse connected with the front part.

In the 7th century AD, Songtsan Gampo moved the capital to Lhasa and Yumbulagang gradually became a Buddhist palace. The ground floor is the palace of ancient Tibetan Kings. Now in the middle you would see a statue of Buddha with Nyatri Tsanpo’s statue on the left and Songtsan Gampo’s to the right. Along the left wall are statues of Songtsan Gampo’s capable ministerSanbuzha?Tritsong Detsen, Tibetan ruler Totonianzhan. Along the left wall are statues of Tibetan rulerHeyebabu, Wusong, Songtsan Gampo’s another minister Ka Dongzhan.The first floor is an elaborate hall enshrined the statues of Avalokitesvara and Sakyamuni. It’s said the statue of Avalokitesvara in Yumbulagang is as ancient as that in Potala Palace. The walls are painted with beautiful murals which tell the early history of Tibet. The most famous one of those is the first one on the left which tells the story of the first Tibetan King Nyatri Tsanpo.

The highest point of Yumbulagang is a watchtower. It’s said that Princess Wencheng lived here for her first summer in Tibet. Standing on the top and looking around, you can enjoy the excellent panoramic view of the valley.

The original palace is of medium size and it was enlarged by the 5th Dalai Lama and became a Buddhist monastery gradually. Presently, besides the rooms for the monks, there is a bedroom for Dalai Lamas who come here to do religious service.

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Chimpu Meditation Centers

Chimpu Meditation CentersIt is an ideal place for preventing sun strikes and keeping off the cold, very suitable place for trekking. It’s not only a sacred place for pilgrims, the tourists may enjoy much more fun there. “Chim” refers to the Chim clan while “Pu” means the upper part of a ravine. The ravine where Chimpu lies is a basin with a surrounding of mountains to three sides, which are just like two hands holding Chimpu in the middle, and then faces gradually to open slopes into a vast valley of the Yarlung Tsangpo River in the south.

Jihu, Padmasambhava and many eminent monks practiced Buddhism there and left many sacred remains there. Before the ending of the former flourishing period of Tibetan Buddhism, many Buddhist scriptures were buried there and during the early later flourishing period of Tibetan Buddhism, a lot of scripture diggers came to dig scriptures. Chimpu shares the same great reputation as the Samye monastery that Tibetans believe that you don’t really visit Samye Monastery without going to Chimpu.

Location: Located half way up the Narein Hill, on the north bank of the Yarlung Tsangpo River, about 8 kilometers northeast from the Samye monastery with an altitude of 4300 meters above sea level.

Transportation: In holidays, there are Dongfeng trucks taking villagers to make a pilgrimage to Chimpu at five or six o’clock every morning. 10 Yuan a person for going to and fro. But there are too many people that we can even use “impenetrable” to describe the scene. In ordinary times, sometimes there will be trucks to Chimpu and it depends on how many people are going there. It will cost you 200 to 300 Yuan or so to rent a truck. Though it’s only 10 kilometers from Samye, it will take you more than an hour there because of the terrible road condition.

Evaluation: Chimpu is a wonderland full of wonders, imagination and fantasy. You will never regret to go there.

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Zhangmu Port

Zhangmu PortZhangmu (elevations 2,300 meters), also known as Kasa, lies on a mountainside 10km (6 miles) inland from the Friendship Bridge that spans the Bhotekoshi (the Sun Koshi) River.

How to get there:
There is no regular bus from Zhangmu to Lhasa or other areas in Tibet. So you can thumb a ride or hire a car. Visitors can inquire at the bus station or from the receptions desk at the hotel. There are also some tourist groups from Nepal to Lhasa. If you want a lift, you can contact with the driver or tour guide at the hotel.

Brief Introduction of the Attraction Remarks:
This small town has become a major trading post between Tibet and Nepal. The subtropical climate endows the small town with warm, humid weather and beautiful scenery throughout the year.

The town is built along a winding road that is lined with private homes, shops, restaurants and government buildings.

The booming border trade attracts merchants from inland China, Tibet and Nepal. Nepalese merchants export rice, flour, pepper, vegetables and perfumes while Chinese merchants sell wool, tea, salt and Tibetan medicine. There are also restaurants run by the Nepalese serving traditional dishes, instant noodles and beer produced in Nepal. A free trade market formed spontaneously near the Friendship Bridge about 8 years ago, still developing today.According to an agreement between the Chinese and Nepalese governments, people living within 30 kilometres (18 miles) of the border may cross the border freely. Every day, hundreds of Chinese and Nepalese merchants conduct business under this agreement. Local Sherpa lease their houses to the merchants thus sharing in the profit of the border trade.

Zhangmu is going to undergo major construction to meet the demands of the booming tourism and border trade. Zhangmu Hotel, the town's only hotel, will be rebuilt and expanded. Within the next 5 years the local government plans to build a 2,220-metre (7,280 feet) roadway to improve traffic flow.

The road form Nyalam Town (elevations 4,000 meters) to Zhangmu via Qupo about 30 kilometers, are occupied by high mountains and deep valleys, cliffy narrow coulees, thickly wooded with tall trees and huge stones. On the mountain round the road there often lots waterfalls. On some cliffs there even more than 11 pieces of waterfalls falling from the thousand meters high peak in the clouds, across the stones and pines. Waterfalls, forest and high mountains are the typical scenery along the road. The lush pine trees along cliff hindering mountain climb. This amazing view is quite different from it in Himalayan. The Sino-Nepal tunnel is the best position for the Mountain View. The roof at the round corner from Industrious and Merchandise Office to Electric station is the best place to bird view of the Zhangmu Town. Car wash is free in Zhangmu.

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Yiri Hot Spring

Yiri Hot SpringLocated in Riwoqe County, Yiri is the most famous spring of the hot springs in Chamdo. It is surrounded by mountains, with green grass and wild flowers at the foot of the mountain, and thick forests on the mountain. The hot springs are distributed along a narrow zone of 100 meters, and six of the springs are serviceable with a water temperature 20-40?. Because the water has an obvious curative effect on some diseases, it is greatly favored by those who suffer from rheumatic arthritis, bone fracture, semi-paralysis, calcium deficiencies and skin disease.

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Palkhor Monastery

Palkhor MonasteryPalkhor Monastery is a kind of typical Tibetan Buddhism monastery architecture combined stupa and temple, with temples in the stupa, stupas in the temple. The stupas and temples stay harmoniously and bring out the best in each other. Its architecture fully represents a typical style of monasteries from thirteenth century to fifteenth century in Later Tibetan area, which is also the unique monasteries with both the temple and stupa being kept well today. So it is reputed as a monument of architecture period. The Palkhor Monastery (meaning lucky and happy monastery) has a Chinese name Baiju Monastery. It has two features: there are three classes of Buddhism (Sakys, Gedang and Gelugpa) existing harmoniously this monastery. Those three classes of Buddhism had experienced repulsion and rivalry for a long time, peaceful with each other. So both the oblation and the architecture style in the monastery embrace and adopt good points from all quarters. Palkhor also features its "Bodhi stupa", or "Kumbum" in Tibetan. Deemed as the symbol of the monastery, the spectacular "stupa" consists of hundreds of chapels in layers, housing about a hundred thousand images of various icons. These icons include Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Vajras, Dharma Kings, Arhats, Disciples, great adepts of different orders in Tibetan Buddhist history, and outstanding figures in Tibetan history such as Songtsen Gampo and Trisong Detsen. In total there are about 3,000 statues, so it is called "Myriad Buddhas Stupa"So people often call it “Myriad Buddhas Stupa ", but not its formal name.

It lies about 230 kilometers (143 miles) south of Lhasa and 100 (62 miles) east of Shigatse at the foot of Dzong Hill.

How to get there:
Palkhor Monastery lies at the downtown of Gyangts County. Walk along the stone road if you see the white stupa or white walls, then you’ll find the monastery not far away.

Opening Hours:
09:10 to 16:00

Recommended Time for Visit: Two hours

Admission Fee:
RMB 40 Yuan per person

Palkhor Monastery, also named Palcho Monastery, is very different from other monasteries. Built as a Tibetan monastery, its structural style is very unique, reputed as the lord of Tibetan stupas. In addition, it is famous for the architecture, sculpture, and mural painting art.

Shodain Monastery is located in the center of Nagqu Town, Nagqu County (about 338 miles away from Lhasa) in Nagqu area.

Attraction Introduction
Shodain Monastery, which is governed by Ji Zhchang of Sera Monastery in Lhasa, was found in 1814. Its former name is “Shodain Yarba”, and it is also called “Shadain Monastery”. It is one of the most influential monasteries in Nagqu area, originally belonged to Nyingma Sect and then belonged to Geru Sect. There are two Zhachangs in the monastery: one is Mi Zhachang Shazhujiang Zangongbelin, short for Mini Zhachang; another is Juba Zhachang Sawangondo Aganli Shalin, short for Juba Zhachang. Before 1950, there are 350 lamas here, but now only 60.
Shodain Monastery can be qualified as the most famous Yellow Sect in north Tibet. The size of the monastery is not so big. There is a golden law wheel surrounded by tow golden sheep standing in the middle roof of the monastery as a symbol of this monastery, which is a little like Jokhang Monastery in Lhasa. This monastery has more than 200 years history. The 13th Dalai Lama had lived in Shodain Monastery for more than one month in 1908 when he came back to Tibet from Beijing via Nagqu. And he authorized Shodain Monastery to hold the Grand Summons Ceremony every January 4th in Tibet calendar. He not only indicated that all the lamas in Shodain Monastery could enjoy the treatment at the annual Buddhist service in Lhasa, but also ordered that the number of lamas in Shodain Monastery should be kept above 300. During a certain time period, this has been a very glory for Shodain Monastery, but now all this has become history.

Feature of the Monastery
Apart from the Grand Summons Ceremony regularly hold here, Shodain Monastery also holds the big religious dance, Changmo (an old song and dance tradition). The Changmo Dance in Shodain Monastery is quite unique in Tibet, which is called Je Changmo and Jusong Changmo Qin. Je means eight. Changmo means dance or hop. As it is a kind of Changmo in August, so is named Je Changmo. Jusong means thirteen. Qin means big or informal. Because it is a kind of big religious dance formally held on 13th, local people call it Jusong Changmo Qin. The performance on August 2nd without wearing Changmo costume is called Debula, which means portable or easy taking. Actually it is a kind of inner rehearsal, while the performance on August 8th wearing Changmo costume is called Jeyang Changmo. On August 13th, performers wear their best Changmo costume and give a formal show, which is called Jusong Changmo Qin. Lot of local people will go to the monastery to see the big performance. After the show, the monastery will hold a solemn ceremony of exorcising.

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Ganden Monastery

Ganden MonasteryGanden monastery is the greatest and the oldest of the six Gelug Sect’s monasteries, which is called one of “the three principal monasteries” (the other two are Dreprung Monastery and Sera Monastery). At its peak, it had a registration of more than 4,000 monks.

Tsong Khapa, founder of Gelug Sect, established it as the first Gelug monastery in 15th century when he carried out the religious reform in Tibet. The full name of Ganden monastery is Xizhuzhuenshengzhou in Chinese. Some scholars call it as “Jushan”or “Jile” monastery. In 1733, Emperor Yongzhen of Qing dynasty bestowed the name “Yongtai”. And Gandenpai (Gelug Sect’s original name) which means exhortation, also named after the Ganden monastery.

Location: Set up by the Gelug sect’s founder Tsong Khapa in the 7th year of Yongle (in Ming dynasty), the Ganden monastery lies in Lhatse County, 57 kilometers east of Lhasa, the Wangbori Mountain with the altitude of 3,800 meters. Besides its typical Tibetan style, it is three times as large as Potala.

Transportation: by bus on the Jokhang square, RMB 20 yuan for round-trip ticket, 2 hours’ route, set off at 7:00 a.m. and return at 14:00 a.m. everyday.

Opening time: 09:00-16:00 a.m.

Price: free for the locals, RMB 30 yuan for one person.

Comment of the scenery: Ganden monastery is the first Gelug monastery in Tibet which features rich historic monuments.

A legend says that when Tsong Khapa was born, there was a Buddhist tree growing from the bleeding cut of his umbilical cord. And there was an image of a lion roaring towards Buddha on every leaf on this tree that had 100,000 leaves.

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Rongbuk Monastery

Rongbuk MonasteryA 78-kilometer (48-mile from the check point entering the Mt Qomonama mentioned before) trek leads to Rongbuk Monastery, which is the highest monastery on the earth. Its altitude is 5,100 meters (16728 feet).

The monastery was built in 1899, as a Nyingmapa monastery since it was said that once Padmasambhava, founder of Nyingmapa, preceded his religious cultivation here. The monastery destroyed in the Cultural Revolution, having 8 sub-monasteries including a nunnery, is gradually restored. It houses Lamas and nuns in the same monastery. Sakyamuni and Padmasambhava are enshrined in the small temple. Pilgrims trek a long way to pay votive offerings or see lamas playing operas during big Buddhist days.

There is a hostel in Rongbuk with100 beds, a dining room and a store, where tourists and mountaineers may have cooked food and instant food, even beer. 300 meters (980 feet) south of the monastery is the famous Rongbuk Glacier. A distance of 10 kilometers (6 miles) lies between the monastery and Everest Base Camp.

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Sakya Monastery

Sakya MonasteryThis monastery is a "must " for visitors to Tibet. Sakya, meaning "Grey Soil" in Tibetan since the soil surrounding it is gray; its walls were painted in red, white and grey strips, which represent Manjushri,Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani respectively. Sakya Monastery, reputed as as the "Second Dunhuang", is the first Sakyapa sect of Tibetan Buddhism created by its initiator Khon Konchog Gyalpo in 1073 from which Sakyapa rose and once ruled Tibet, occupied 14,700 square km. It was shaped in square, and the trove including “Beiye Sutra”, “Shouxing Picture” etc. Sakya Monastery not only records the history of the combination of religion and politics in Tibet, but also deemed as the sign that Tibet was brought into Chinese domain officially. Sakya Monastery has 900 years history and the Sakya Sect ruled Tibet for more than 70 years. So the monastery has a colossal collection of highly valuable art pieces, including abundance handwriting sutra that is said that copied by all the Tibetan calligraphists organized by Basiba. Sakya's collection of treasures also contains 3,000 pieces of sutras that have thousands of years history. The mural in Sakya Monastery is quite different from Dunhuang that has already become relic. Here the mural is still passed on from generation to generation.

The monastery lies in Sakya Country, 130 kilometers (80 miles) southwest of Shigatse

How to get there:
It can be reached by taking the bus at the Shigatse Bus Station to Sakya. The bus leaves at 7:00-8:00 and takes five hours at RMB 30 Yuan. There is a checkpoint before entering Sakya. Then walk along the road, you will see some white buildings on the left. After about 5 minutes you’ll arrive at Sakya Monastery.

Opening Hours:
09:00-12:00; 14:00-18:30

Recommended Time for a Visit: Generally you need 3 hours to watch carefully, up to you.

Admission Fee:
RMB 45 Yuan per person

Since the monastery has a colossal collection of highly valuable art pieces, it is deemed as the "Second Dunhuang".

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Mt. Everest (Qomolangma)

Mt. Everest (Qomolangma)Mt. Everest, also known as Mt.Qomolangma, meaning Goddess Third in Tibet, is the highest peak in the world. The 8,848 meters (29,028 feet) high peak, snow capped throughout the year. The North Col of Everest is located in Tinggri (Shegar).Massive glaciers and seracs feature a thrilling splendor. The peak has been a holy climbing attraction for world's mountaineers. In recent years, more and more mountaineers start from the Everest Base Camp trying to conquer the world's highest peak while tourists trek to the foot of the peak to enjoy its beauty. Around Mt.Everest, there are four peaks above 8,000 meters high, including Mt. Makarluh, Gosanthain, Zhuoyo, Shishabanma and other 14 peaks above 7,000 meters, which form an amazing picture of Mt.Everest Natural Scenery Area with jokuls, peaks groups, and mountain waves. Location:

Located at the border between China and Nepal, its North Slope belongs to China and south belongs to Nepal.

Mt. Everest lies at the borderline, about 100 kilometers far away from the Sino-Nepal Road. There is no regular bus from Shigatse or Nakchu to New Tingri(Shagar), so you’d better charter a car from Shigatse to New Tingri(Shagar) County. The road to Mt.Everest is at the crossroad of the Zhangmu Sino-Nepal Road from New Tingri(Shagar) to Old Tingri County. After 11 kilometers along Sino-Nepal Road, a sign of Mt.Everest Protection District will appear in front of you, not so clearly shown. And also from here you’ll farewell the blacktop and get ready for a bad road with lots of small seasonal streams. During rainy days, the cars are often trapped in the muddy road. For the first time lots of the tourists often take the wrong direction to go straight and arrive in the Old Tingri. You may have to pay attention to the road sign and don’t get confused.

Admission Fee:
Starting 30 kilometers (20 miles) south from New Tinggri, one will reach a checkpoint. 11 kilometers (7miles) west of the checkpoint, a new road and an old one turn off south to Mt.Everest Base Camp. Costs: RMB 405 Yuan per car with RMB 65 Yuan for Himalayas Forest Park Ticket (drivers free).

Sightseeing Comments:
Attraction of Fastigium of the Earth, reputed as the Third Pole of the Earth is a must for travelers.

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Yamdrok Yumtso Lake

Yamdrok Yumtso LakeYamdrok Yumtso is an out flowing lake which is connected with the Yarlung Tsangpo River. About 1 million years ago, huge mud-rock flow blocked the river valley in the upper reaches of the Moqu River near Yangse which is about 20 kilometers west from Baidi and the lake became a continental lake.

Yamdrok Yumtso takes a shape of paper fan and stretches roughly from northwest to southeast, while the south is wide and the north is narrow. Along the lake, there are many branches of the lake winding their way into the mountains. There is lush pasture around the lake with an area of 10 million square hectares and is one of the most famous pasturelands in Tibet.

Yamdrok Yumtso has an elegant view and it is said that a fairy maiden left the Heaven and turned into the lake on earth. There are more than 10 islands in the lake, the large ones can hold 5 to 6 households while the small ones are only 100 square meters or so.

Yamdrok Yumtso is a salt lake of low consistency and it begins to freeze every mid-November and the ice can be as thick as 0.5 meter. The lake abounds in small scale fishes, Tibetan fish,plateau carps etc, with an yearly production about 200 to 300 million kilograms. The fish breeding business has been flourishing and taken a large scale. The fish is not only sold in Lhasa but also in inland market. Here is also the largest habitat for water birds in north Tibet. Every winter flocks of birds are flying here from the south. Along the banks and on the islands there are large numbers of swans, pigeons, yellow ducks, cormorants and barhead goose. It will cost you 30 minutes to go down the pass to Yamdrok Yumtso, then you can enjoy the views on the road along the lake. After driving 60 kilometers until you reach Nankartse County, the lake will disappear slowly from your eyesight. Follow this road and pass Nankartse County, you will reach the nearby the Lhagyari Manor about 40 kilometers from there.

Yamdrok Yumtso is rich in hydroelectric power. There is a mountain which blocks Yamdrok Yumtso and the Yarlung Tsangpo River, the nearest point is only 6 kilometers far. The surface of the lake on the south side of the mountain is 4,441 meters above sea level and only 3,570 meters on the north side, which falls over 800meters. People are making full use of this natural high peak and building a Hydroelectric Power Station on the roof of the world. After its construction, it will play a measureless role in promoting Tibetan economy.

It lies within the boundary of Nankartse county, on the north bank of the Yarlung Tsangpo River, Lhokha Prefecture, surrounded by mountains.

You may take a bus or rent a car in Lhasa and it costs you two hours to cover the 100 kilometers distance. If you go by bus, you may stop at the Great Bridge of the Yarlung Tsangpo River, then visit Yamdrok Yumtso by Taxi. Renting a jeep for six people may cost you 1,500 to 2,000 Yuan a day.

Evaluation: Beautiful Holy lake which everybody is looking forward to.

Brief introduction:
Summary: “Yam” means the “upper”, “drok” means “pastureland”, “Yum” means “jade” and “tso” means “lake” in Tibetan. So Yamdrok Yumtso means “the jade lake in the upper pastureland” or “swan lake” in Tibetan. With an altitude of 4,441 meters, Lake Yamdrok Yumtso is 130 kilometers long from east to west and 70 kilometers wide from north to south and covering an area of 638 square kilometers. It enjoys equal popularity with Lake Namtso in North Tibet and Lake Manasarovar in Ali, which are called “three Holy Lakes” in Tibetan Plateau. It’s a continental lake supplied with rain, thawing snow and icebergs.

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Jokhang Monastery

Jokhang MonasteryLocated in the center of the ancient city of Lhasa, the Jokhang Monastery was built in the seventh century by Songtsan Gambo, the Tang Princess Wen Cheng and Nepalese Princess Bhrikuti. Its four story main building demonstrates a combination of the Han, Tibetan, Indian and Nepalese architectural styles, as well as a man - made world outlook of Buddhism. With the Hall of Amitayus Sutra as its center, the monastery symbolizes the nuclear to the universe. The Hall of Sakyamuni is the essence of the monastery.

Jokhang is the spiritual center of Tibet, the Holy of Holies, the destination of millions of Tibetan pilgrims. Unlike the lofty Potala, the Jokhang has intimate, human proportions, bustling with worshippers and redolent with mystery. The outer courtyard and porch of the temple are usually filled with pilgrims making full-length prostration towards the holy sanctum. Its innermost shrine contains the oldest, most precious object in Tibet - the original gold stature of Sakyamuni - the historical Buddha, which Princess Wen Cheng brought from Chang'an 1,300 years ago.

It was said that Nepal Princess Tritsun decided to build a temple to house the Jowo Sakyamuni aged 12 brought by Chinese Princess Wencheng. Princess Wencheng reckoned according to Chinese astrology that the temple should be built on the pool where the Jokhang now locates. She contended that the pool was a witch's heart, so the temple should be built on the pool to get rid of evils. The pool still exists under the temple. Then goats were used as the main pack animals, as is the reason the city is called Lhasa. The construction took 12 months. However it was originally small and had been expanded to today's scale in later dynasties. When the Fifth Dalai Lama took reign, large-scale reconstruction and renovation had been done. The temple is a combination of Han, Tibetan and Nepalese architectural techniques. Visitors will see sphinx and other sacred sculptures.

Every year, the Great Prayer Festival will be held in the Temple. The rites of Dalai Lamas and Panchen Lamas' initiation into lamahood are also held in the monastery.

Open hours: 9:00-16:00.
The admission is 35 yuan.

Photos can be taken in front of the monastery and on the top floor. Photos are taken for charges inside the halls. Charges are varied in different halls. It is unkindly to take a picture of Tibetans who stretch their body forward to pay their respects to the Buddha in front of them.

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Lake Nam Co

Lake Nam CoNam Co is the highest lake in the world and is 4,718 meters above sea level. It is 72 kilomters long from east to west and 30 kilometers wide from south to north. It has an area of 1,940 square kilometers. Some 60 kilometers to the northwest of Damxung County seat, it is one of the three holy lakes in Tibet and receives high respects among the local people. On the Tibetan year of sheep, pilgrims from faraway come here to walk around the lake. It takes more than 10 days to circle the lake once.

Legend has it that Nam Lake is the beautiful daughter of nearby Bam Lake. She was married to the Nyainqentanglha Mountains. As time went by, she could not stand the frigid weather and loneliness any longer and so, with a sad heart, threw all her jewels, ornaments, and necklaces into the lake. Thus it is said that there are boundless treasures at the bottom of Nam Lake.

Dzashi Monastery on Dzashi Peninsula in Nam Lake is a sacred place to Buddhists. Thousands of pilgrims travel a long way to worship here on the Tibetan New Year.

Five or seven tourists can hire a mini bus from Lhasa to go and back in three days for 1,700 -- 2,000 yuan. The journey takes eight hours. The Zhaxi Monastery by the lake provides lodging for 15 yuan each bed.

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Lake Manasarovar

Lake ManasarovarAbout 30km to the south of Mt. Kailash, Lake Manasarovar ( 4560m ), or Maphamyumtso (Victorious Lake) in Tibetan, is the most venerated of Tibet's many lakes, and one of the most beautiful.

It was said that the waters of Manasarovar are "like pearls" and that to drink of them erases the "sins of a hundred lifetimes".

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The Tombs of the Tibetan Kings

The Tombs of the Tibetan KingsBuried here are the kings, the ministers and the royal concubines from the 29th Tsanpo to the last (the 40th). It is also the largest tumuli group in Tibet. From all of the tombs, the most remarkable one is King Songtsan Gampo’s.

Situated on the Muchong Hill opposite to the Yarlung River, which shows that Tobu had focused on “fengshui” that centered on “with its back to the mountains and facing the waters”, The tombs erect on the plateau, with west wind blowing and sunset shining, and the Yarlung River flowing silently to the east, the tombs look grave. All these form a unique sight. The Tombs of the Tibetan Kings have become the state key protected historical site.

Location: lie on the southeast of Mt Muri in Qungjie County, about 90 kilometers from Tsedang.

Transportation: You could take a bus or hire a car to get there. The Tombs of the Tibetan Kings is about 38 kilomaters away from Tsedang. It costs you 150 to 200 Yuan to hire a car and 10 Yuan for a round-trip by bus.

Opening time:  Anytime is ok.

Admission fee: 20 Yuan

Evaluation: Here, you can really understand the Tobu Kingdom, which not only reflects the system but show how developed the level of burial of Tibet about 1,000 years ago. Meanwhile, it’s of great significance to research the rises and falls of the Tobu Kingdom.

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Gandain Monastery

In Dagze County 60 kilometers to the east of Lhasa, it is one of the three great monasteries in Lhasa and one of the six great monasteries of the Gelug Sect. Gandain means happiness and contGandain Monasteryentedness in Tibetan. The Gandain Monastery was built in early 15th century under the supervision of Zonggaba, the founder of the Gelug Sect. The main buildings include the Coqen Hall, the Chamaber of Zonggaba and the colleges of Yangbajian.

You can take a mini bus in the square in front of the Jokhang Monastery. The bus leaves for the Gandain Monastery at 6:30 and back at 14:00.

It costs 35 yuan for going and back and takes two hours one way. The monastery provides simple lodge for 12 yuan each.

The admission is 15 yuan.
Open hours: 9:00--16:00.

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Klukang Monastery

Located in the northern part of the old city of Lhasa, the klukang Monastery was built in the mid seventh century. It was damaged and rebuilt several times. The monastery houses many murals and the statues of Sakyamuni, Maitreya and others. The main hall houses a gilded full length statue of the eight year old Sakyamuni brought to Tibet by the Nepalese Princess Bhrikuti. The monastery is the location of the Tantric College of the Gelug Sect in Tibet.

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Sera Monastery

Sera MonasteryAt the foot of the Wuze Hill in Sera to the north of Lhasa, the Sera Monastery is one of the three great monasteries in Lhasa and one of the six great monasteries of the Gelug Sect of Buddhism in Tibet. It was built by one of disciples of Zonggaba in 1419. On 27th of the 12th month of the Tibetan calendar, the monastery holds the grand Sera Bungchen Festival, which attracts flocks of Buddhists and others.

Sera is famous for its "Buddhism Scriptures Debating": monks can be seen preparing for monastic exam by staging mock debates in the ritual way. Some sit cross-legged under the trees, while others run from group to group giving vigorous hand-claps to end a statement or make a point. Master and dignitaries sit on the raised tiers when a real exam takes place.

Sera in Tibetan means Wild Rose Garden since opulent wild rose woods once grew around it. A legend said Tsong Khapa and his two disciples once proceeded religious cultivation around. One day, they heard horse whinnying underground when they were taking a walk in the rose woods. A statue of Hynagriva (a horse-headed demon-god) was dug out then. Tsong Khapa started to build the monastery to enshrine Hynagriva. However, the truth is that in 1414, Jamchen Chojey (or Sakya Yeshe), one of Tsong Khapa's disciples, on behalf of Tsong Khapa, visited Emperor Chengzu, who granted him a title of Dharma King of Great Mercy as well as sutras and a set of sandalwood Arhats. In order to preserve them, Tsong Khapa suggested Jamchen Chojey to build a monastery to house these treasures. Then Sera monastery was set up in 1419.

Admission is 45 yuan.
Open hours: 9:00--16:00.

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Barkhor Area

Barkhor AreaBarkhor refers to Lhasa's pilgrimage circuit, a quadrangle of streets that surrounds the Jokhang and some of the old buildings adjoining it. It is an area unrivalled in Tibet for its fascinating combination of deep religiosity and push-and-shove market economics. Barkhor is both the spiritual heart of the holy city and the main commercial district for Tibetans.

The center of the old Lhasa, Barkhor is a circular street, which is the oldest street in Lhasa and remains very traditional. It is a place where Tibetan culture, economy, religion and arts assemble and a place to which a visit must be paid. It was said that in the seventh century when Songtsen Gampo, the first Tibetan King (617 or ?-650) who unified Tibet, married Chinese Princess Wencheng and Nepal princess Tritsun. Later Princess Tritsun built Jokhang Temple to accommodate the Jowo Sakyamuni aged 12 brought to Tibet by Princess Wencheng.

Barkhor is the road which pilgrims tramped out around Jokhang Temple through centuries. Buddhist pilgrims walk or progress by body-lengths along the street clockwise every day into deep night. They comprise most of Lhasa's floating population. Careful visitors may find there are 4 columns, on which colorful scripture streamers are hung flying over the street.

All pilgrims walk outside of them to show respect. The custom started in Tubo period (633-877). To the west of the north street of Barkhor, there is a juniper hearth, in front of which ceremony will be held annually to hail Maitreya (Buddha of the Future). Tibetans also pray before the hearth to expect fortune in the next year. A yamun, which used to be the office of Lhasa magistrate, squats nearby. A small lane northward nearby leads to a market, which has longest history in Lhasa. There is a three-story temple, which was set up in the Tubo period, and its pantheon still remains Tubo style after many renovations.

It was said that Tibetan characters were invented in the temple. Barkhor, the sacred pilgrim path, is also a market place where shaggy nomads, traders, robed monks and chanting pilgrims join together. Shops and stalls, clustering, sell printed scriptures, cloth prayer flags and other religious vessels, jewelry, Tibetan knives, ancient coins and etc.

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Drepung Monastery

Drepung MonasteryOn the slope of the wuze Hill in Genbei five kilometers northwest of Lhasa, the Drepung Monastery was built in 1416 and is the largest of the monastery of the Gelug Sect. It covers and area of 250,000 square meters. In its heyday, it had more than 10,000 monks. The monastery has trained a large group of talents for Tibetan Buddhism. The Fifth Dalai Lama lived here before he moved to Potala Palace. It houses plenty of historical and cultural relics and Buddhist classics. In the exciting Shoton Festival, "Sunning the Buddha" by the monastery has been one of the most magnificent religious activities in Tibet.

Every year in early August, Tibetans celebrate their major festival - Shoton, the Yogurt Festival. The most important event of this festival - Giant Buddha Show is held in Drepung Monastery.

Admission is 55 yuan.
Open hours: 9:00 --16:00.
Photo taking costs 20 yuan in each hall.

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