Tibet is all you've heard and everything you've imagined: a land of intense sunshine and towering snowcapped peaks, where crystal-clear rivers and sapphire lakes irrigate terraced fields of golden highland barley. The Tibetan people are extremely religious, viewing their daily toil and the harsh environment surrounding them as challenges along the path to life's single goal, the attainment ofspiritual enlightenment.The region's richly decorated monasteries, temples, and palaces—including the Potala Palace—were not constructed by forced labor, but by laborers and artisans who donated their entire lives to the accumulation of good karma.
The death, destruction, and cultural denigration of Tibet that accompanied the Chinese invasion in the early 1950s changed this land forever, as did the Cultural Revolution in the late 1960s. Yet the people remain resilient. Colorfully dressed pilgrims still bring their offerings of yak butter to the temples, and monks work with zeal to repair the damage done to their monasteries. Many young Tibetans, attracted by the wealth and convenience brought by development, have abandoned their ancestors' traditional ways. Coca-Cola, fast food, and pulsing techno music are popular in Lhasa. Yet the changes have not lessened Tibet's allure as a travel destination.
Renowned Tibet Tourist Attractions
Potala Palace, which is now on the list of Chinese national key protected cultural relics, is the most valuable depot in Tibet. It is a huge treasure house of ancient materials and articles of Tibetan history, religion, culture, and arts. The palace is widely known for the countless precious sculptures, murals, scriptures, Buddha figures, murals, antiques, and religious jewelry housed in its many rooms, all of great cultural and artistic value. In 1994, Potala Palace was declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site.
External appearance and structure: Potala Palace is 3,756.5 meters above sea level, covering an area of over 360,000 square meters, measuring 360 meters from east to west, and stretching 270 meters from south to north. It has a total of 13 stories, and is 117 meters high. The walls of the palace are over 1 meter in thickness, with the thickest sections being 5 meters wide. Moreover, the walls are covered with huge, colorful, carefully painted murals, allowing history to seep back into the building beautifully and gracefully.
The magnificent Potala Palace is made of sturdy wood and stone; all the walls are of granite, and all the roofs and windows are of wood. The overhanging eaves and upturned roof corners, not to mention the gilded brass tiles and gilded pillars inscribed with Buddhist scriptures, bottles, makara fish designs, and gold-winged birds decorating the roof ridges all contribute much to the beauty of the hip-and-gable roofs.
This grand structure consists of over 1,000 rooms including seminaries, chanting halls, temples, chambers for worshipping Buddha, and chambers covered with gold leaf and studded with jewels housing the stupas of several Dalai Lamas. Throughout the rooms, there were tens of thousands of Buddha figures. Walking in, it is difficult not to be struck by the figures’ vibrancy, given off by their different sizes and complex designs.
Monastery is the representative monastery of the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It lies on the southern slope of Serawoze Mountain in the northern suburbs of Lhasa. The monastery was built in 1419by SagyaYexei, one of the disciples of Tsongkhapa and the founder of Gelugpa sect of Tibet Buddhism. It is one of the 6 main monasteries of the Gelugpa sect and one of the 3 main monasteries in all of Lhasa.
Sera Monastery has suffered the effects from both natural disasters and wars during its long history. When Tibet was peacefully liberated in 1951, it was dilapidated. The People’s Republic of China’s central government and the people's government of the Tibet Autonomous Region have since earmarked a large amount of money for renovations.
The monastery is grand in scale, covering an area of 114,964 square meters. Its building complex is composed of Buddha halls, sutra halls, residences for monks, Kamcuns (spaces where monks sleep and dine), and Lhadrang palace residence, residences for major living Buddhas Cermoiling and Razheng, and of course Zhacangs (Buddhist colleges).
Drepung Monastery lies in the west of Lhasa under Mount GamboUtse, clustered all around by the black mountain, with its grand white buildings shining under the sun.
Built in 1416, it is considered one of the largest monasteries of the 6 principle monasteries of the Gelu Sect in China. Drepung Monastery used to be the living palace of Dalai Lamas before the reconstruction of Potala Palace (after the 5th Dalai Lama was bestowed by Qing emperor Qianlong).
The buildings in Tibet have its own feature. Nearly all the buildings are white walls made of bricks and red roofs. With the cloud fluttering around, every angle can be picturesque to the visitors. Monastery is an important component in Tibet. Some monasteries are not allowed to take photos but visitors can absorb the serene atmosphere look at the beautiful and art frescos and Thangkas.
To go to the monastery, visitors have to climb up the stairs. Along the path to the monastery, there are prayer wheels. The classics say that rolling the prayer wheels can purify the mind and drive away the strange disease.
Bakhor, also named as Baghor, is the oldest street in Lhasa. In the past, it was only a circumambulation circuit, "a saint road” in the eyes of Tibetan. Now it's also a shopping center with nation characteristics. It's an old district with colorful Tibetan features. Tibetan houses line the street, and the ground is paved with man-made flagstones, preserving the ancient look.
In the street, visitors can find satisfactory souvenirs, and experience the mysterious "one step one kowtow" faith to religion. All the houses along the street are stores. All kinds of fantastic commodities show us all aspects of the Tibetan life. Such as: Thangkas, copper Buddha, prayer wheels, butter lamps, prayer flags with sutras, beads, Tibetan joss sticks, cypress, etc.
Bakhor Street is a miniature of Lhasa, even in the whole Tibet. The old circumambulation circuit is always crowded with pilgrims from everywhere. Some come along the road by performing the body-long kowtows, some come by truck. Some are monks, and some are businessmen from Kham. Here visitors will find people from all over Tibet. Visitors can enjoy different dresses, and languages. Even the similar-looking dresses of the monks vary depending on the different religions.