Favorite thing: This Temple is one of the holliest places in Tibet. It was established by the first buddist tibetan king, Songcen Gampo. He had two wives, one from Nepal and one from China. They both were buddist. Chinese wife, when she came to Tibet, brought a holly statue of Budda with her. That was the statue of Jowo Saqyamuni, depicting the crowned 12 year prince Sidhartha (that is the name of Budda). This princess, she was an astrologer. And she said that buddist faith would have a lot of problems in Tibet as there was a giant demon - godess who lied on Tibetan plateau. So the princess made some calculations and said that a temple should be built in Lhasa to neutralize the demon. The temple should be built in the center of the lake, as, according the calculations, that was the place where the heart of the demon was situated. And the water was the blood of the godess. The lake was drained and the Jock-Khang temple was built. Now You can see that statue of Budda here.
The Potala Palace is an administrative, religious and political complex, which was built on the Red Mountain in the center of the Lhasa valley, at an altitude of 3700 meters. It is made of 13 stories, the most visible distinction being between the White Palace and the Red Palace where the Dalai Lamas lived. There are some 1,000 rooms!
The building of the palace was begun in the VIIth century by King Songtsan Gambo to welcome his bride Weng Cheng, a Han Princess of the Tang Dynasty. In 1645, reconstruction and expansion of the Palace were carried out until it reached the present scale. The 5th Dalai Lama began living there in 1653 and it became Tibet's political religious center.
Favorite thing: This is one of the main streets of Lhasa, joining from the Jokhang temple. The market bustle allowed me to photograph the crowd without being "in your face", and I think this shows a typical atmosphere in Lhasa, with street stalls, people in traditional hairdress, and the old buildings as a background. Not a highlight to visit, but the streets are definitely part of any trip to Lhasa.
Favorite thing: This is the most sacred temple of Tibet. I was told all Tibetans must come here before and after leaving the country. It was built in the VIIth century to receive a gold statue of Buddha, a dowry of the chinese Princess Weng Cheng when she arrived in Lhasa to be married with the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo. At the entrance, many Tibetans pray in a very typical way (see Local Customs tip).
Because our transport to the Rongbuk Monastery hasn't arrived yet we had to wait for a while. That was a good opportunity to write in the diary. When this was finished we had to spend the time. Therefore there was a wonderful solution: we played dice.
Enough stones around us so a 'gambling table' was made in no time. Chairs: no problem too. Some larger stones to sit on and we could play our game. We had great fun upthere and maybe this was the highest 'casino' in Tibet (about 5,000 meters).
Mountain biking in Tibet. That's what these people do. And not only that. A lot of groups are having a competition, called the Raid Gauloises.
They had to finish a circuit in as little time as possible. The contestants had to walk, to raft, mountain biking and a lot of more outdoor sports. On a height as in Tibet this is very heavy. They had to go through quite a lot and that could be seen on the faces.
I had a lot of respect for them doing this.
Trekking in Tibet and staying in a camp. Sometimes you have to go to the toilet and outside it's too cold and windy to do your needs.
In that case these small toilet tents are the solution. Dig a hole in the ground and build the tent, however this is mostly done by sherpa's who accompany the trekkers.
Crystal clear lakes which reflect dreams in the hearts of the people!
The presence of water was the determining factor in the birth of the Tibetan Civilization. Here in Lhasa, the Brahmaputra (Great River) (Yarlung Tsangpo in Tibetan) is of utmost importance.
Make new friends!
Ryan is from Alabama & now living in Chongqing learning Mandarin! Keep it up, you are doing great!!!
Fondest memory: Ryan is a very cheerful & friendly person. We had some great fun discussing religion while visiting the monasteries.
Michael on the other hand is more quiet & reflective. I thought he looks a little like Matt Damon & Ethan Hawke! He's quite elusive as well; not easy to get a picture of him!
Yak & the mountains!
For some strange reasons, I once thought of registering yak.com for something online which I had intended to build. It was already taken even back then (many many years ago).
Perhaps I just long for the wilderness, the strength & the nature ...
Favorite thing: Reach out to the locals as the Canadian couples from Waterloo did; although I don't think they are v. successful in getting the message across as many Tibetans don't understand English & little of Mandarin (especially for those who live outside the city).
One thing I've learned about life is this... we have very different realities; formed from different circumstances, life experiences & expectations. In other words, I can try to understand you, empathise with you & even feel for you, BUT, I can never be you! Still, I find it tremendously difficult to even begin to put into words what I saw in Tibet. For majority of them, life-path means having to travel thousands of miles or kilometres on feet and hands to this city. It means praying days & nights along the path just to reach here, right in front of the Potala Palace. I don't know much about Tibet before I came; I know even less when I left!
Now, I know myself a little more :)
Fondest memory: Tibet! So, what is it that attracts & acts like magnets to people from all walks of life?
The Mountains - 6 peaks at more than 8000 metres above sea level, 50 higher than 7000 metres & Mt. Everest of course (known as Mt. Qomolangma in Tibet; highest at 8848 metres)! The Earth's summit! Regarded by the people as the most sublime & purest of all things on earth.
The People - 2.3 million of them live up in the mountains, on the grasslands & in the river valleys with a unique & harsh lifestyle in one of the most sparsely populated region in China. Compassion, tolerance, love & kindness are some of the qualities fostered & rooted within the hearts of its people.
The Monasteries - Lamaism is the religion follows by the majority of Tibetans & embodies the Tibetans' philosophy of life.
The Unexplained - The mystic, exotic, sacred, faith & peace.
Lhasa was once a mystical place on the tibetian plateau behind the Himalaya.
Today, there are a lot of tourists stumble across the many historical sights.
But altough it`s still a fascinating place. A building like the Potala palce is probably unique in this world, and in the tibetian part there are many pittoresque views...
A nice place to visit, altough I had there the feeling that there must be many things destroyed when the newly built chinese part of the city was constructed. The city probably has lost its original face.
Fondest memory: The views from the tibetian part of the city to the Potala
Favorite thing: Due to the high altitude, it is highly recommended to get there by train and bus instead of directly arrive at Lhasa Airport by air. Normally, you need to figure out your visiting plan in the first few days very carefully in order that your body has time to adapt to the high altitude. You can visit and explore the great Tibet of wide variety only if you can manage the harsh environment first.
not take a regular bus unless there is no other choice. Always try to take a ride.(Actually I mean when travelling in Tibet)
Fondest memory: I sang with the highest pitch in my life. I did not know how. it just came out of me. I was appaled by myself.