Places to Visit in Tibet


Being the political, religious and economic heart of the Tibetan world, Lhasa is located on the north bank of Lhasa River at an altitude of 3658m (about 12000 feet). In Tibetan, Lhasa means "The land of the Buddha" or "Holy Place". The city has a long history of 1300 years with a population of 400,000.

Blessed with flat land and mild climate, Lhasa is free of frigid winters and unbearably hot summers, having an annual average daily temperature of 8 degree Celsius (43 F). It enjoys 3,000 hours of sunlight annually, much more than all other cities in this regard, hence its popular name "the Sunshine City".

Every year thousands and thousands of tourists visit this holy city for sightseeing. The fantastic landscape, unique culture, exotic life and friendly people surely make tourists an unforgettable experience.


Potala Palace

The present Potala Palace was built during the 5th Dalai lama’s reign between 1645 and 1693. The Potala became the center of political and religious power for the Dalai Lamas, with 100 rooms, the living quarters of the Dalai Lama and offices of the government, a huge printing house, a seminary, hundreds of chapels, shrines and corridors, treasuries, cells for monks and servants, granaries and store rooms. The 5th Dalai Lama’s Tomb contains a ton of gold and priceless jewels. The east chapel is dedicated to Tsong Khapa. The south chapel centers around Padmasambhava.


Ganden Monastery

Ganden is 70 km east from Lhasa situated at 4300m on a hidden side of mountain top commanding a spectacular view of the Lhasa River Valley. The Ganden Monastery was the first Gelukpa Monastery established in 1409 by Tsong Khapa himself and then Yellow Hat Sect (Gelukpa) of Lamest Buddhism evolved.



Shigatse (3900m) lies some 274 km to the west of Lhasa and is Tibet’s second largest city. The highway runs alongside the Yarlung Tsangpo (Brahamaputra) river, passing through narrow gorges and broad river valleys. Farmers plowing their fields with Yaks, sheep grazing in the vast plains, awesome sand dunes and rocky hills in the distance are the scenic rewards of the journey to Shigatse with a population of about 50,000. 


Tashilhunpo Monastery

The Tashilhunpo Monastery, founded by the first Dalai Lama in 1447, is Shigatse’s most important cultural and religious site. The main chapel here contains a huge 26-meter high statue of Maitreya, the future Buddha. Other buildings contain images of Shakyamuni ( the present Buddha), white and green Taras and embalmed bodies of past Panchen Lamas. The entire monastery is open only in the morning. In the afternoon it is possible to visit only Maitreya Chapel, and the tombs of the Panchen Lamas.



Sakya is 161 km (100 mile) to the southwest of Shigatse, along the upper reaches of the small, fertile valley carved out by the Trom River. The highest pass between Shigatse and Sakya is the Tso-La (117 km or 73 mile from Shigatse). When coming from Shigatse, the turning for Sakya is 15 km (9 mile) from the pass. You turn left and drive 21 km (13 mile) up the valley ujtil you come to the small town of Sakya, dominated by the massive structure of the Southern Monastery. Sakya Monastery, the center of the Sakya order of Tibetan Buddhism, was founded in 1073 by Konchok Gyelpo of the powerful Khan family. 



Tsetang, the third largest town in central Tibet, 196 km from Lhasa, is known as the cradle of Tibetan civilization. The ancient town offers a number of side trips that illustrate Tibet’s early history. The Valley of the Kings (ancient capital of the Yarlung kings who established the Tibetan nation), the Yumbu Lagang Palace (built for the first Yarlung King), and the Tandruk Monastery (one of the three royal Buddhist temples) are some of the major sites.

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