TIBET THE WONDERLAND
‘a huge and vast country stands on top of world highest and largest plateau’
Tibet the wonderland, a country with vast territory and landlocked in between mainland China, Nepal, Bhutan, and India. As well close to Pakistan in the southwest extends far towards Myanmar in the southeast.
A country of great fascination with its ancient history, age-old culture, and colorful custom with ancient temples and beautiful monasteries. Including a huge towering fortress known as Dzong, guarding its fabled cities and town from invaders in the early days.
Tibet stands high as the ‘Roof of the World’ covering its huge territory of 1,228 million sq. km. about 463,320 sq. miles. The country with the most world highest peaks Mt. Everest, Cho-Oyu and Mt. Shisapangma which is wholly in Tibet.
The great Himalaya Mountain straddles the border between Tibet and Nepal and a few with Bhutan, towards the southeast of the country.
Tibet, located on the highest and largest tableland of the world, is known as a plateau with deep valleys, high eroded hills, and canyon. With huge summer pastureland for cattle and Yak grazing ground, where the native nomads or Drokpa camps are found.
Since early 1965, Tibet became Autonomous Region Republic of China, the country has changed over the years, especially the city areas. With modern high buildings and networks of motor roads and highways, but still retains its past glory of ancient history.
History-Religion and Culture of Tibet:
Tibetan Religion and culture are related to the background, with its beautiful and large landscapes, and way of ancient traditional farm life and raising livestock.
Tibet, also a country with great wonderful cities where the most important monasteries and religious sites of great cultural interest are located.
The ancient religion of Tibet before Buddhism took over was Bon, and still exists around Tibet Far South West. Spread as far towards western Nepal and Bhutan, a worship of Mother Nature and natural spirits linked to five important elements.
Which is sky, fire, water, vegetation, and earth, the practice of Bon slowly fading around main cities and towns. As the country was largely dominated by Buddhist religion with few Tibetan Moslem, who entered Tibet main cities for trade. Taking the ancient silk route from Turkestan, and other Islamic countries that borders with Tibet.
At present five main order and sects of Tibetan Buddhism are in practice, the oldest with many followers is Nyingma. Established in the 7-8th centuries by great saint Padamasamba / Guru Rinpoche who traveled from India via Nepal to Tibet.
Likewise, the Gelugpa sect founded by Tsong Khapa in the early 14th Century, and the Kagyu of the 11th Century with Sakya sects in 1073 A.D. and minor followers of Kadam sects found around rural areas of Tibet.
Tibetan are highly religious following the path of Buddhism as per the order of high gurus and priests of different sect of Buddhism. In Tibet various religious festivals and events are held all around the year, the most important is Saga Dawa. Related to the birth anniversary of Lord Sakyamuni Buddha falls at the end of April or the first week of May, as per the Buddhist Lunar calendar.
The other major festival is the Tibetan New Year takes place during the cold winter months of February, the Tibetan calendar. That consists cycle of animals and birds or creatures birds likewise a year of Hare, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Ape. Includes Bird, Dog, Pig, Mouse, Bull, and a Tiger, as per English or Gregorian calendar 2020. It was the year of a Rat or Mouse, from this February 2021 onward year of an Ox, celebrated with pomp and joyous ceremony.
TIBET BEST PLACES AND THINGS TO DO:
‘A great wide country with exciting places from leisure to adventure activities’
Tibet best places and things to do, in a great country with vast territory steeped with ancient history and glorious old heritage. Where all types of visitors from family, school/college groups, elderly people and adventurer can enjoy various exciting activities.
Tibet, since the country flung its door wide open to the outside world about four decades ago, interested travelers were always eager. To step inside and explore the hidden treasure of mystic, and the myth of Tibetan legends of age-old culture and custom. That is rarely seen in other parts of the world, as Tibet was always a country of fascination for many travelers and explorers.
Tibet, located on the world's highest and largest plateau or tableland, a vast country of high snow mountains, desert-like landscapes. A barren and arid hills of rocky cliffs with windblown eroded canyons, in some remote areas of Tibet. Where you can experience complete ambiance, feeling out of this world within absolute wilderness, with only the sound of nature and howling winds.
Besides its scenic barren and arid land appearance on country out-backs, the traditional farm villages, towns, and cities is equally interesting. Festooned with old temples and monasteries of great religious importance, where you can witness Tibetans from all walks of life. From different parts of Tibet on pilgrimage for worship on various monasteries and religious sites in the harmony of prayer chanting.
Best places to visit in Tibet:
Nearly all places in Tibet are the best to visit if your holiday duration allows, as there is so much to see and explore. As all parts of Tibet is exciting and interesting from culture, history to religious sites including awesome scenery of the landscapes. That includes high mountains, valleys, and huge emerald-colored lakes considered as holy and blessed by Mother Nature.
Lhasa City Tour:
Most tour in Tibet begins from fabled city Lhasa
, although turned into a modern city, and the capital of Tibet. One enjoy tour visiting both sides of the city new and old, the eastern side of Lhasa still preserves its ancient glory. Where a large number of locals reside close to Barkhor square
and its colorful busy bazaar.
In Lhasa a tour of 2-3 days taking short drives and walks to Drepung monasteries, originally a university for learning Buddhism. As well as a holy seat of many high priests to the 5th Dalai Lama and later moved to Potala Palace.
Tour of Shera Monastery, where visitors can observe monks in religious practice with work of arts and craftsmanship. Visit the oldest temple monastery of Jokhang, one of the earliest and oldest religious buildings, which was built around the 6th Century. By the great king Songsten Gampo who had two queens of China and Nepal to maintain peace and stability with both countries.
Extend the day tour visiting Norbulingkha garden palace, built as a summer residence from the 13th and 14th Dalai Lama (who is in exile since Tibet became part of mainland China since the end of the 1950s). A palace of Tibetan style beautiful architecture, the interior furnished with semi-modern amenities with a wide-open flowering garden and tall trees. Includes willow, Populus, pines, and juniper the only surviving species in Tibet with an average height of above 3, 000 m. The most important and highlight of the Tibet tour is a visit to the famous and magnificent Potala Palace. Jostling through crowds of ethnic Tibetan pilgrims, it is not hard to be captivated by the marvelous culture, religion, and traditions.
Potala Palace stands high on a red hill that dominates the Lhasa city, built-in 640 A.D. During the time of the 5th Dalai Lama, the head of state a 13 storied palaces with 1,000 rooms. Beyond Lhasa a day tour or more visiting the eastern suburb of the city to beautiful Ganden Monastery huge complex. Located on the hill of Wangku-Ri at the height of above 3, 800 m, offers grand views of scenic farm country. Ganden a foremost monastery of the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism (Yellow Hat), all the Great Six monasteries (Ganden, Sera, Drepung, Tashilumpo, Labrang, Kumbum) are of Yellow Sects.
From Ganden, one can continue further North-East towards magnificent Namtsho Lake or return to Lhasa, as for Namtsho the holy large lake. Requires one more extra day to enjoy the lake scenery and its beautiful surroundings, staying overnight in a local simple guest-house.
Beyond Lhasa to Gyantse, Shigatse cities:
From Lhasa, enjoying a tour of 2-3 days or more to a week, staying longer at the height of 3, 600 m high in Lhasa. Helps you to acclimatize better before heading towards much higher altitude destinations around Tibet like to Gyantse and Shigatse cities.
An exciting scenic day drive towards the southeast of Lhasa, where you can witness the real Tibet. Driving through rural traditional heritage farm life within vast Tibetan plateau of beautiful landscapes to reach high Khamba-La on route Gyantse.
At 4,800 meters high pass of Khamba-La offers a breathtaking panorama of Tibetan landscapes with snow peaks, beautiful emerald Yamdrok Tsho. The Turquoise and Lake, then head down to Yamdrok Tsho and Nagarktse town to cross Karo-la at 5,050-meter pass. Where you can overlook amazing views of ice falls and glaciers of Mt. Nzongkhangsa at 7,206 meters. From here few hours drive to Gyantse, a city with a famous Kumbum stupa built in the early 15th century.
Next morning or same day in late afternoon short drive to Shigatse, 2nd largest city of Tibet after Lhasa. In Shigatse visit a large complex of Tashilumpo monastery, the traditional residence of the Panchen Lama, second head after Dalai Lama.
Tour of the monastery with 27 m high gold/bronze plated of Matriya Buddha (the future Buddha). Afternoon visit the local interesting market an opportunity to get immersed within the harmony of Tibetan age-old culture and custom.
Other places of great interest of Tibet wonderland:
Besides exciting and fascinating tour Lhasa, Shigatse, Gyantse with Ganden and Namtsho Lake, within Tibet with enough time visit Everest base camp
. Including the oldest and highest monastery of Rongbuk on route to Everest's north base camp. For travelers with much interest can extend the tour of the famous holy sites of Mt. Kailash and the huge Manasarover Lake
. Where you can make a circuit of the sacred peak, the abode of Lord Shiva or Guru Khang Rinpoche. The important pilgrimage of four main religions Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and old Bon sect followers.
Hike-Treks and Mountain Biking:
At present all around Tibet with many networks of motorable roads and highways, with few places for hike and long distance trekking. But interested bikers can enjoy long or short distance a few days around Lhasa outskirts or reach from Lhasa to Kathmandu
. Biking on main Lhasa-Kathmandu Friendship Highway with tour of Gyantse and Shigatse, as well covering Everest base camp. Then bike all the way to reach the border town of Nepal and Tibet either at Kyirong or Zhangmu.
A short hike from Ganden an interesting hike to reach at Samye Monastery near the valley of Yarlung Tsang Po or Brahmaputra River. A 3-4 days hike and trek takes you above from Gyama Valley to cross Shuga-la at 5,240 m high.
On crossing the pass downhill to Samye Monastery via Yamalung and Nyengo and drive back to Lhasa. For this short trek and hike needs to carry camping gear and foods with an expert local guide.
Other good areas to trek from Nylam town which is near the Nepal border, a wonderful trek of a weeklong round trip to South Mt. Shisapangma base camp, while the other North base camp where one can drive.
How to get into Tibet:
There are various entry points, where high road links to Tibet one can travel from mainland China via air, surface. As well also by train from Beijing to Lhasa taking nearly 3 days or more of 40 hours, a distance of 3,757 km. One of the highest railway line crossing over 5, 000 m passes, overlooking beautiful scen