Tibet is a beautifully sprawling plateau region in the People’s Republic of China, just northeast of the stunning Himalayas. Visitors fall in love with this place the moment they lay their eyes on it, and it’s not just the scenery; it’s the people, the culture and the way of life.
The capital city, Lhasa, remote home of the Dalai Lamas, is one of the highest cities in the world, rising over 11,900 feet. Lhasa means ‘Land of the Gods’ and it’s no wonder, considering the city has over 1300 years of cultural and spiritual history. It’s considered to be the heart and soul of Tibet. There are many wonderful things to see in this ancient city including fascinating palaces and monasteries and fabulous backstreets bustling with a perse mix of cultures. The most heart-warming sight though is that of the hundreds of devout Tibetan pilgrims walking the kora of Jokhang temple (an exceptional Buddhist religious complex) praying and spinning their prayer wheels.
The Drepung Monastery and Sera Monastery are also on the ‘must see’ list. They were both built in the early 15th century by disciples of Tsong Khapa. Drepung was the biggest monastery and famed for it’s governing rule. Each new Dalai Lama was trained there and at its peak, it had over 10,000 inhabitants. Sera was famed for its tantric teachings, and its monks were considered very clever. Debates among monks on Buddhist doctrines can be witnessed by visitors each afternoon in the debating courtyard of the monastery. Both monasteries have spectacular prayer halls and chapels. The UNESCO world heritage sites of Norbulingka Palace and Potala Palace are both found in Lhasa. Norbulingka is the summer palace of the Dalai Lama, first constructed mid 18th century, it has a botanical garden and even a zoo. Norbulingka translates to ‘treasure garden’.
The Potala Palace, winter home of the Dalai Lama since the 7th century, commands the skyline above the city and symbolizes Tibetan Buddhism and its central role in the traditional administration of Tibet. The Potala has over 1000 rooms and is 14 stories tall. It contains countless cultural relics and rich ornamentation including murals, sutras, golden tomb stupas, mandalas, and images. These are just some of the highlights of the capital of Tibet, if you want to learn more and experience these wonders for yourself join us, and tantalize your senses on our ‘Taste of Tibet’ tour.
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