Places and Sights
Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world, at an elevation of 3,490 meters (11,450 ft) and covering 30,000 square kilometers. Lhasa is situated in the South Central part of the region; it is a valley right next to the Lhasa River. Lhasa means "Land of the Gods" and is over 1,300 years old. Since the mid-17th century, the city has been the religious and administrative capital of Tibet. Lhasa has beautiful scenery with its own characteristic and attractions making it a gem of a destination. The highland of Lhasa can be reached by plane, by road and by train and usually the best time to pay a visit is from March to October. Lhasa is home to the Tibetan, Han, and Hui people and also many other ethnic groups, however 87% of the total population belongs to Tibetan ethnic group. Lhasa benefits from mild weather and there are no freezing winters or intolerable hot summers. It has daily temperature of 8 degrees C (43 degrees F) and, it enjoys 3,000 hours of sunlight yearly, more than every other city and gives the city its title of "sunlit city." After Xining, Lhasa is the second most densely inhabited city on the Tibetan Plateau. Many Tibetan Buddhist sites that have ethnical and historic importance such as the Potala Palace, Jokhang temple and Norbulingka palaces are found here in the eastern part of the city whereas the western part of Lhasa is more ethnically Han Chinese in nature. It is busy and modern and resembles many other Chinese cities and many banks and government offices are found there. Visit to Lhasa is more challenging than in any other part due to its exceptional location and its natural features. In spite of this, the culture, scenery, history, religion and the monuments here attract the people from all around the world to visit this energetic city and making sure the stay is memorable and pleasurable. The gradual increase in tourism here is the evidence of the recognition of the city.
Tsedang, also known as Zêtang , Zedang or Tsethang is situated in the Yarlung Valley, 183 km southeast of Lhasa in Nedong County of Lhoka (Shannan) region an elevation of 3,100 meters (10,170 ft) above sea level. It is also the capital of Yarlung Valley and being the fourth largest city, it has great significance as it also used to be a place for the emperors of Tibet. 30 km away from Tsedang, a beautiful Samye Monastery, which is the first ever Buddhist monastery built by King Trisong Detsen in Tibet is located. Also a field in the village near Tsedang town is said to be the first farming field in Tibet. There is a cave, one of three caves in the mountainside to the east of the town is said to be the place of birth of the Tibetan people, the consequent from the mating of a monkey and a beautiful cannibal ogress. Also nearby attractions here include Changzhug Monastery, Yumbulagang Palace. Some of the special local products found here are Tibetan incense, Tibetan Thangka (religious painting), golden, silver and jade ornaments, hanging carpet, Tibetan Opera mask, Gyatsa walnut. Tsetang is regarded as the cradle of Tibetan civilization and visiting Tsetang can also provide some hiking experience for the tourists taking pleasure in the beautiful surrounding. Many tourists also use Tsetang as a base to visit distant spots of the Yarlung Valley.
Gyantse or Gyangtse is situated in the Nyang Chu valley on the primeval trade route from the Chumbi Valley, Yatung and Sikkim at an elevation of 4000m/13,125 feet. Besides Lhasa and Shigatse, Gyantse was previously ranked the third largest and also most major city in Tibet region, though there are so many large cities now. Getting around the town on foot is feasible since the city is quite small or horse hiding and enjoying the nature would also be better option. The ethnic group of people like the Han, Muslim and the Tibetans live here and most of the people still live here in a very traditional way. Yak meat, yak yoghurt and yak butter are some famous things which you can purchase. A scheduled visit to the monasteries here like: Pelkor Choede, Gyantse Dzong, Kumbum is a must. In the month of June (20-23) Gyantse celebrates the festival known as Dama festival. Established in 1408, during this festival, the farmers and herdsmen gather n this city from all over Tibet to participate in horse racing, archery competitions, horsemanship display that follows for by as an entertainment or even picnicking.
Dama festival in Gyantse is more popular for foreigners to understand it well. This festival is established in 1408 and the farmers and herdsmen from every parts of Tibet gather in Gyantse for horse racing, archery competitions, horsemanship display followed by few days' entertainment or picnicking. But now there are also other added entertainments like ball games, track and field events, tug of war that continues for about a week. The capitalist from all parts of the Tibet gather here and present some local products and you can still find the famous butter here. You can also be part of prayer ceremonies, visit the homes of local Tibetans and throughout the trip talk about religious customs. We may be aware of why Tibetans have alike indication between religion and life.
Shigatse or Xigaze or Xigatse which means 'the fertile land' is located within the historical Tsang region of Tibet. It is the second largest city covering the area of 3875 sq. km at an altitude of 3800 meters, above sea level. This ancient holy city has a history dating back to more than 600 years. This city is a habitat with around thirteen ethnic groups including Tibetan, Hui and Man. This is a distinctive living area for minorities. Shigatse is easily reachable via road, train and air. It is 300 kilometers away from the world's highest peak Mt. Everest, 150 kilometers away from the Sakya Monastery and also on the only path to Tibet's holy lakes thus making it of great significance as a base for people travelling to these regions. This city also serves as the traditional seat of one of the spiritual leaders in Tibet, Panchen Lama. There are dozens of monasteries that belongs to different sects and they boost the impression of Buddhism perfectly.
This city is the cultural, economic and political center of Tibet along with many sites of interests and the area is also a hot spot for Chinese tourism. Lots of industries together with mechanics, chemicals and food production thrive here and the traditional handcrafts have also been promoted and extended. Products like Tibetan knives and also objects of silver and gold are sought after all through China and are exported abroad. Each year a range of majestic festivals like Buddha Unveiling Festival are celebrated in the monasteries giving people an opportunity to admire the enormous portraits of three Buddhas. On 11 July 2014, Shigatse Prefecture was promoted into a prefecture-level city, the same status as Lhasa. The city is also the best place to tickle your taste bud as it serves a wide range of food.
Shegar region is situated on Sino-Nepal Friendship highway in the southern part of Tibet and it covers an area of 14,000 square kilometers. This place is also well known for the world's highest monastery called Rongbuk, and also its impressive sights of four prominent mountains over 8,000m above sea level in this region: Mt. Everest also known as Qomolangma, Makalu, Cho Oyo and Lhotse, which consists of four among the six highest mountains in the world and for that reason, Tingri is frequently used as a base by mountain climbers who plans to climb Mount Everest or Cho Oyu.
Everest is situated on the border of Nepal and Tibet. Known as Sagarmatha in Nepal and as Chomolungma in Tibet, it is the world's highest mountain with an altitude of 8,848 meters (29,029 ft) above sea level. A climb to Everest from north side in Tibet and the south side in Nepal, also known as standard route, are both equally popular. Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary in 1953 using the southeast ridge route were the first to climb the Everest. But in recent years, the North side has become more reachable. Covering the top with snow all the year round, the area of Mt. Everest has been assembled as one of the national natural reserves, where there are thousands of kinds of plants, hundreds of varieties of wild animals and thick forests and numerous are valuable and rare, like the first-class protected animal ounces and the valuable timber sandals, etc. Mt. Qomolangma or Mt. Everest is exalted with many tremendous surprises. It is appropriate to climb the Everest between early March and late May, along with early September and late October.
Tingri or Dingri or Dhingri is situated at the southern Tibet, covering an area of 14,000 square kilometers. This place is frequently used as a base for preparing to climb Mount Everest or Cho Oyu by the mountain climbers. It is bordered on the south by the main range of the Himalayas. It is known for the world's highest monastery, Rongbuk. The view looking south of the town offers a view of the Himalaya's including Everest and Cho Oyu, the 6th highest mountain in the world. Great views of Cho Oyu, below can be seen about 20kms south of Tingri heading towards Everest. Tingri was an essential trade place where Sherpas from Nepal exchanged rice, grain and iron for Tibetan wool, livestock and salt. It gives its name to the wide highlands basin more than 4,500 meters high that is known as the Tingri Plain. The plain used to abound with gazelles, blue sheep, antelopes and khyang or wild asses but, unfortunately, most of the animals have now disappeared. Also a small base of Chinese army is seen nearby and the excellent views of the Himalayas make it a worthwhile stop.