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Lhasa


Lhasa

As the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, Lhasa is the political, economic and religious center. It is an ancient cultural center with a history of more than 1,300 years. Lhasa is rightly one of the most featured and dreamt-about cities in the world. This is not only because of its remoteness, its high altitude at 3,650 meters (11,975 feet) means limited accessibility, but also because of its impressive heritage of over a thousand years of cultural and spiritual history that has helped to create the romantic and mysterious Tibetan religion.

Differing from the inland cities and other places in Tibet, Lhasa is unique with an allure all of its own. In the Tibetan language, Lhasa means the Holy Land or the Buddha Land. It is the center of Tibet's politics, economy and culture. The city has also been appointed as one of the 24 historical and cultural cities of China. Its main places of scenic and historical interests include Potala Palace, Jokhang Monasterry, Norbu lingka, Barkhow Street, Drepung Monastery, and Sera Monastery. Potala Palace has been included in the World Heritage List. The splendor and grandeur of the Potala Palace in Lhasa remains a world-famous symbol of the enigmatic power of politics and religion in this region.

The period from April to October is the best time to visit Tibet, avoiding the coldest months from December to February.

Main Attractions:

Potala Palace -
This 13 storey building is located in downtown Lhasa. It is the headquaters of the Dalai Lamass and is a treasure of traditional Tibetan culture. It is a relic under the state protection, and has been put on the List of the Worl Cultural Heritage. Mainly comprised by the White Palace (administerial building) and the Red Palace (religious building), Potala Palace is famous for its grand buildings, complicated constructions, devotional atmosphere and splendid artworks.It is the headquarters of the Dalai Lamas, and is a treasure house of traditional Tibetan culture.

Jokhang Monastery -
This building complex is located in the old district of Lhasa and was built in the mid-seventh century. It is a four-storey building in the Tang style, that also incorporates features of Nepalese and Indian architecture. Its golden canopy glows under the sun. It enshrines the statue of Sakyamuni, which was said to be brought to Tibet by Princess Wencheng. The ceremony for the reincarnation of the Dalai Lamas and the Panchen Erdeni is held in front of the statue of Sakyamuni. There are murals depicting legendary figures and telling buddhist sotirs in the corridors and the halls.

Sera Monastery -
The Sera Monastery lies at the foot of a mountain on the morthern outskirts of Lhasa. It was build in 1419 by one of the eight disciples of Tsongkhapa, founder of Ge-lug-pa Sect. Covering an area of 114,964 square meters, the structure is imposing, picturesque in disorder, and splendid in gree and gold. It is typical of Tibetan architecture.

Nietang Buddha -
It is the biggest stone statue engraved on a cliff in Tibet, located at the north foot of Nietang Mountain. It is the first attraction to welcome visitors in Lhasa. The Buddha statue is one of Sakyamuni sitting under a bodhi tree to capture evils. Because of its striking color, it can be seen clearly from miles away. Its mystical smile and majestic appearance would lure every passenger to get a closer look and take a photo as a souvenir.

Barkhor Street -
Visited by thousands of tourists everyday, this very ancient street surrounds the Jokhang Temple. Barkhor Street is a place full of religious atmosphere and where varied shops stand selling exotic articles - Tibetan knives and Tibetan scroll paintings, and articles from India and Nepal can also be found here.

Drepung Monastery -
It is known as the most important monastery of Gelugpa in Tibetan Buddhism. Its grand, white construction gives the monastery the appearance of a heap of rice, hence, the name 'Drepung Monastery' which, in the Tibetan language, means Monastery of Collecting-Rice. The ground of the monastery is organized on the caves and temples for Jamyang Qoigyi, together with two magnificent white pagodas. The buildings of the monastery are centered on these pagodas. The major buildings are Ganden Potrang, Coqen Hall, the four Zhacangs (or Tantric colleges), and Kamcuns. It also houses many cutural relics and flowery murals.

Ruins of the Guge Kingdom -
The ruins of the Gege Kingdom is a 300-meter hill on the southern bank of the Xiangquan River in Zanda County. It was built in the 10th century and became an imposing palace in the 16th century. It has undergone may times of re-construction. The ruins consists of a palace, temples, and cave dwellings. Walls and underground courses form the defense structures.


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