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Tibet Remarkable Places

Lhasa

Lhasa rose to prominence as an administrative center in the 7th century, when Songtsen Gampo moved his capital there and built a palace on the site now occupied by the Potala. The temples of Ramoche and the Jokhang were also established at this time to house the Buddha images brought as dowries by Songtsen Gampo’s Nepalese and Chinese wives.

As the lake was filled to create the site for the Jokhang, the town was known as Rasa, ‘place of the goat’. Following the consecration of the Jokhang and the installation of the Jowo Shakyamuni image the name was changed to Lhasa, ‘place of the deity’. The rule of the Yarlung kings from their new capital lasted some 250 years, but Buddhism did not really take hold until the rule of Trisong Detsen (755-97) when Samye was established. Following the breakup of the Lhasa regime the city became peripheral to Tibetan history until Dalai Lama V (1617-82) defeated the Shigatse Tsang kings (with Mongol support).

Potala Palace

The dominant landmark of Lhasa 117 meters above the city below. Construction started on the red hill in 1645 under the 5th Dalai Lama. An immense building, 13 storeys high with walls 3 meters thick, is containing over 1000 rooms, 10,000 shrines and 200,000 statues. It was both the residence of the current Dalai Lama and tomb of the former; Heads of state. The entire building is made of stone and wood and covers an area of 130,000 square meters. The Potala is full of elaborate artwork and frescos that tell many stories.

Narbulingka – The Summer Palace

Norbulingka is the site of the summer palace of the Dalai Lamas (8th to 14th). The small palace of the 13th Dalai Lama is an odd mix of traditional Tibetan architecture and modern paraphernalia, such as a Philips radiogram and Victorian bathroom fittings. At Norbulingka you will also find the one and only zoo in Tibet.

Jokhang Temple & Barkhor Bazaar

The foremost monastery in Tibet, which was built in the 7th century AD and now it is housing the most prized Buddhist relic a 1300-year-old Sakyamuni Buddha statue. The main section of the temple is topped with golden roofs found nowhere else except in Tibet. Watch the many worshippers pay their respects and prostrating themselves at the main gate. The monastery is encircled with the Barkhor Bazaar a sacred pilgrim path, but also a lively & colorful market where you can bargain over such treasures a ornate long-bladed knives, prayer wheels and exquisite jewelry.

Sera Monastery

Sera is more like a small town on the outskirts of Lhasa at the base of Tatipu hill. It is the main teaching monastery and one of the three great Gelukpa 'Universities'- once housing more than 5500 monks. Here one can see the young novices learning scriptures in the Debating Garden and being rewarded for a correct answer with a resounding hand-clap from their Master, Sera is also the birthplace of Tibetan medicine.

Drepung Monastery

Drepung monastery is situated in the west suburbs of Lhasa city. Formerly it is the largest and richest monastery in the world with 10,000 monks (now 400). It is the size of a small town and lies sprawled over the size of a small town and lies sprawled over the side of a mountain 8 km from Lhasa. Its particular interest is the medieval monk's kitchen with its great cauldrons of steaming barley 'stamp' sitting on top of huge earthen stoves and tented by saffron-robed monks wielding massive ladles. From the roof of the monastery one can enjoy the natural beauty of the Lhasa valley to one's heart content.

Tsurpu Monastery

Tsurpu monastery I was built on the north side of the river in the Dowo Lung Valley. This is the home of Karmapa, Karmapa is the true 'living little Buddha' – the new reincarnated leader of the black hat sect. He is the only spiritual leader actually living in Tibet. The recent recognised 17th Karmapa can be visited by all visitors. Tsurpu monastery was built in 12th century. Tsurpu is the riches monastery in Tibet.

Gyantse

Tibet's third most important city which is located in the Nyangchu valley, along the main routes of Nepal -Lhasa. In former times, it was a fort, the centre of Tiber's wool trade and a gateway to the outside world. Other spots of interest: Palcho monastery and the Kumbum Pagoda.

Shigatse

Shigaste is Tibet's second largest city. It is the administrative centre for 18countries in southern and western Tibet. Besides its fiche cultural heritage, Shigatse has and abundance of native fruits and products. At the bazaar, there are more than 300 stalls selling local produce as well as colorful and elaborate handicraft, accessories, antiques and porcelains. In Shigatse one can also find Tashilumpo monastery, the seat of the Panchen Lama. The Monastery, built in 1447 by a nephew of Tsong Khapa once housed over 4000 Monks, but now there are only 600.

Sakya Monastery

In 1073 Gongjue Jiebu of the Kun family built a monastery on the north bank of Zongqu River to teach his new esoteric theory of Buddhism. He was convinced that the monastery built on such a site would light the mundane world. Because the monastery was built by a chalky hill, it was named Sakya, meaning chalky earth in Tibetan. The Sakya Monastery built by (popular known as the North Temple) became inadequate for rising and evermore powerful Sakya establishment.

A larger monastery, which is still standing today, was built on the south bank of Zongqu River by the Kun house and Pagpa, a well-known Tibetan in the Mongolian imperial court of the 13th century. This monastery, now popularly known as the South Sakya, sits against the backdrop of snow-capped mountains 165 kilometers west of Shigatse. In 1260 Pagpa was appointed the imperial tutor and later placed in charge of Buddhist affairs. Kublai Khan then appointed him ruler of Tibet.

Samye Monastery

Built in the mid-8th century, Samye is the first formal Buddhist Monastery with the Buddha Dharma and Sangha in Tibet. The whole construction of the monastery, for the stupas forest-like, the building high and expansive, the scale grand and broad, is designed in accordance with the shape of "mandala" layout, and furthermore, the monastery is well-known to the whole world for the highlighted and mixed perfection of Han, Tibetan and Indian architecture style in the main hall and the numerous relics such as wood and stone carvings, frescos and statues kept in the monastery. As described in a historical book, this monastery is considered "an unimaginable construction and incomparable monastery". Over the centuries, it has come under the influence of the Nyingma, Sakya and Geluk schools and is considered a symbol of Tibet’s national identity.

Tsetang (Zetang)

Tsetang (Zetang), the birthplace of earliest Tibetans, sits on the south bank in the middle section of the Yarlung Tsangbo River Traduk Monastery is one of the earliest Buddhist temples in Tibetan history. Built in 641 A.D., it is said that King Songtsan Gampo established the temple to suppress the ogress in order to prosper his kingdom. In addition, later it became the winter palace of King Songtsan Gampo and Princess Wencheng in Shannan. Of all the treasures and relics kept in this monastery, the pearled Tangka -- "Avalokitesvara at his rest" is the most remarkable.    

The Guge Kingdom

According to Tibetan historical annals, after the sudden death of Tsampo Lhangdama, the last king of the Tubo Kingdom, in the wake of his persecution of Buddhists, his two rival sons, Yundan and Osong, were locked in a bloody war for the throne which continued for two generations. Osong's son was killed by the soldiers of his rival kin and his two orphaned sons fled Lhasa. Jede, the elder of the two, took refuge in Ngari where he married the local chieftain's daughter who borne him three sons. The youngest had a son named Keri who became founder of the Guge Kingdom whose territory once included the entire farm and pasture land in southern Ngari. A hill of about 300 meters high stands to the south of Xiangquan River (Langqen Kanbab) in Tsada County.

Holy Mt. Kailash & Mansarovar Lake

Mt. Kailash alias "Jewels of Snow" as Tibetan call, is the most sacred mountain in Asia, situated to the north of the Himalayan barrier in Tibet (China) It is the perfect mountain with awesome beauty with 4 great faces. It is the ultimate pilgrimage site for four devotee of Tibetan Buddhism, Hinduism, the Jain religion and the pre-Buddhist animistic religion-Bono. Hindu pilgrims believe that salvation could be attained and all their earthly sins be cleansed once they devoutly circumambulate Mt. Kailash and take a ritual bath in the glacial waters of Lake Manasarovar. Lord Shiva both the creator and destroy of life is believed by Hindus to reside in this holy mountain.

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