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Places to see in Tibet

Potala Palace
Potala Palace is located on the mountain of northwest Tibet Lhasa covering an area of over 130,000 square. It was built by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in 637 and served as the Royal Palace. Later in 1645 Lozang Gyatso, the great fifth Dalai Lama reconstructed the Potala Palace and then became the residence of Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India during the 1959 Tibetan uprising. Now it has turned into museum and is open for the visitor. Potala palace was enlisted in UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994 and in 2001, the State Tourism Administration rated it as 4A tourism spot on the national level. The palace situated at an elevation of 3700m consists of many houses, towers, chapels and due to its marvelous architecture style, it is considered as one of the most beautiful architectural building in the world. Potala palace consists of the two palaces, Red palace and White Palace. The Red Palace is the central member of the Potala and is in crimson color which contains the principal halls and chapels and shrines of past Dalai Lama. The White Palace contained the living quarters, offices, the seminary and the printing house of the Tibetan government, governmental assembly halls, and other official offices. The Potala Palace houses the articles and artifacts from Tibetan history, religion and culture along with the statues of Buddha, centuries old murals and antiques.

Jokhang Temple
The Jokhang Temple (House of the Lord) is located in Barkhor Square in Lhasa. It is considered the sister temple of Ramoche Temple. However, Jokhang Temple is the most important temple in Tibet. The king Songsten Gampo built Jokhang Temple for his two brides: the Tang Princess Wencheng and Nepalese Princess Bhrikuti. The temple was enlisted in UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. The temples architectural style combines Chinese Tang Dynasty design and Nepalese design. There are four stories of the building, the roofs are covered with gilded bronze tiles. Basically, the architectural style is featured by its Indian vihara design, with a style blend with Nepali and Tang Dynasty, consisting statues of two golden deer at roof top flanking a Dharma wheel. The interior of Jokhang Temple is an atmospheric labyrinth of chapels dedicated to various gods and bodhisattvas, illuminated by votive candles and thick with the smoke of incense. The four storey timber complex is full of thousands of Buddhist statues and images that were brought as dowries by two princess Bhrikuti and Wencheng. This sacred temple is pilgrimage destination for Tibetan Buddhist, pilgrims from aal corners of Tibet come here to offer their prayer.

Barkhor Street
Barkhor Street is located in the old city of Lhasa, the famous specialization and commercial center, which has preserved the ancient city full of traditional outlook and lifestyle. The street is just a single pilgrimage road around Jokhang Temple. The Tibetans called it Holy Road. Barkhor Street is a lively combination of marketplace, pilgrim circuit and ethnic melting pot. The 20-minute hexagonal circuit, running clockwise around the Jokhang Temple and other structures, is always busy, especially at dawn and dusk. There are more than 120 handicraft shops and 200 stalls on the street with 8,000 kinds of goods, including religious articles such as copper Buddha, prayer wheels, scriptures, and prayer beads, and Tibetan handicrafts such as Tibetan wool, snuff bottles, and Tibetan knives. Generally speaking, Barkor Street is a market place for visitors. It has many small shops, small stalls, cheap restaurants on both sides of the street. The shops sell all kinds of hand-made souvenirs, such as: Buddhist Thangkas, prayer flags, statues, prayer wheels, butter lamps, incense, beads and more. A wide selection of Tibetan house wares, such as: cushions aprons, leather bags, handmade quilts and carpets, knives, hats, and local style dishware can be found on the shops.

Norbulingka Palace
Situated in the western outskirt of Lhasa, Norbulingka Palace was built in the middle of the 18th century during the reign of the 7th Dalai Lama and served as the Summer Palace of Dalai Lamas where they handle political affairs, practiced religious activities and spent holidays. Traditionally the Dalai Lamas would leave the Potala Palace every spring and spend the summer in Norbulingka. Lingka in Tibetan means a beautiful place with trees and lawns, and Norbu means treasure. In addition to its beautiful environment, Norbulingka owns many palaces, pavilions, various kinds of flowers as well as a lake and a zoo. In the past, Norbulingka was heavily guarded, with access allowed only to a few with special permission but now it is open to the public. During the Shotun Festival also known as yogurt festival which starts on July 1 of the Tibetan calendar, the park is crowded with people who come to sing, dance and picnic for the celebration. In December 2001, Norbulingka Park was enlisted into the World Heritage List as a part of the historical assemblage of Potala Palace.

Namtso Lake
Namsto Lake is the largest lake in Tibet Autonomous Region which is located 5 hours north from the Lhasa. Namtso is also the second largest salt water lake in China. It has surface area of 1,920 square kilometers measuring about 70 kilometers long and 30 kilometers broad. It is called as heavenly lake in Tibet. Namsto is at an altitude of about 4718 meters. The lake is surrounded by the snow covered Nyenchen Tanglha Range, the highest mountain in north Tibet. Namsto is regarded as the holy lake by Tibetan Buddhists. Namtso maintains its levels from rainfall and melted snow flowing from high mountains. Namtso consists of five islands, among which the largest one is Liangduo island. During the year of the Sheep in the Tibetan calendar believers make a pilgrimage to Lake Namsto. It is the highest saltwater lake in the world. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and open grassland, with crystal clear water, Namtso is regarded as the most beautiful places in Tibet. Due to the higher elevation one can easily get problem of altitude sickness while visiting Namtso so one needs to acclimatize at Lhasa before visiting Namtso. Many pilgrims from Tibet and other countries visit here to circle the whole lake which takes about 20 to 30 days.

Yamdrok Lake
Yamdrok Lake is a freshwater lake in Tibet, it is one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet. It is over 72 km long. Standing at an elevation of 4,441 meters above sea level, the lakes average depth is 20 to 40 meters with the deepest point at 60 meters. The lake is surrounded by many snow-capped mountains and is home for numerous small streams. The lake has an outlet stream at its far western end and means turquoise in English due to its color. Yamdrok Lake is known as jade lake in Tibet and a barrier lake since glacier mud-rock flows blocked the river way millions of years ago. Lake Yamdrok helps Tibetans find the reincarnated soul of the Dalai Lama. The senior monks pay visit to Yamdrok Lake after the demise of Dalai Lama to get the reflection of the specific location of the Dalai Lamas Soul. The spectacular view of turquoise lake can be seen from a distance, up on a mountain and lake gives panoramic views of different colors such as blue, light blue and sapphire with the changes in the angle of the suns rays. The Lake Yamdrok serves as the largest habitat for migration bird in Southern Tibet during the time of migration that is in autumn and winter, the lake bank and the islands offers the spectacular sight of numerous birds and their offspring.

Mount Kailash
Mount Kailash known in Tibet as Kang Rinpoche or Precious Jewel of Snow is the most sacred peak in Tibet. It is located in far western Tibets Ngari prefecture, more than 1200 kilometers from Lhasa. The 4 grand rivers: Shiquan River, meaning Lion Fountain, known as Indus in the lower reaches; Maquan River, meaning Horse Fountain, the origin of Yarlung Tsangpo River; Xiangquan River, meaning Elephant Fountain, known as Sutlej in the lower reaches; Konhqu Rier, meaning Peacock Fountain, the origin of Ganges River is the outcome of Snow capped Mount Kailash which is situated at an elevation of 6,656 meters above sea level. Mount Kailash is the holiest peak in Tibet, every year thousands of Buddhist and Hindus do the 52 kilometer pilgrimage circuit around the mountain. Pilgrims of several religions believe that circumambulating Mount Kailash on foot is a holy ritual that will bring good fortune. Hindus and Buddhist performs the circumambulation in the clockwise direction while Jains and Bonpos perform in a counterclockwise direction. Hindus worship Mount Kailash as the throne of Lord Shiva. Bonpos believe the sacred mountain to be the place where the founder of the Bon religion landed when he descended from the sky. Buddhist believes that Mount Kailash is the abode of Chakra Samvara and Guru Rinpoche, who brought Buddhism to Tibet and beyond.

Sera Monastery
Sera monastery is located at the southern slope of the Serawoze Mountain in the northern suburbs of Lhasa. It was built by Sagya Yeshes, one of the 8 disciples of Zongkapa, founder of the Gelug Sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The complex encompasses 28 acres of land and houses several institutions. The Sera Monastery has a rich collection of cultural relics. The main attraction of the complex are the Coqen Hall also called as Great Assembly Hall, three Zhacangs or colleges and Kamcum or dormitory. The Ganggyur enshrined in the Coqen Hall is the most precious. Each great volume is protected by wooden boards in ted lacquer and golden thread. The text is written in Tibetan, with their Chinese titles on the ridge of the wooden board. There is a big festival known as the Sera Bengqin Festival in Sera Monastery which is held on the 27th day of the twelfth month of the Tibetan calendar. The architecturally impressive complex houses unique, wonderful collection of sacred art among which a 15th century statue of the Buddha also called as Miwang Jowo catches the eyes of everyone. During a visit to Sera Monastery one can see monks debating inside the shady courtyard behind the main temple. The great monastery once housed more than 5,000 monks but now it is home for few hundred Buddhist monks.

Lake Manasarovar
Lake Manasarovar or Mapaham Tum Tso in Tibetan is Tibets most scared lake. It is among the worlds highest fresh-water lakes at an elevation of 4,583 meters and covers the area of 412 square kilometers. The lake is located in the Burang County, 20 km southeast of the Mount Kailash. Manasarovar means invincible lake in Tibetan Language. It is believed that a dip in the Manasarovar are said to wipe off the sins from the last 7 births. It is also said that one circumambulation of the lake wipes off your sins for forever and if one carries 108 circumambulations then one can attain Nirvana or Salvation. Throughout the year, numerous pilgrims and visitors are attracted to the holy Mt. Kailash and the Lake Manasarovar. In Hinduism, Lake Manasarovar is a manifestation of purity, and one who drinks water from the lake will go to the abode of Shiva after death. The person is believed to be cleansed of all their sins committed over even a hundred lifetimes. Buddhists believes Mansarovar as the legendary lake where Queen Mayadevi conceived Buddha.

Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon
Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon is the longest, the deepest and the highest Grand Canyon of the world. The Grand Canyon occupies an area of 64,300 square kilometers and is 504 km in length and 6009m in depth having the average depth of about 2268m. Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon is the biggest the water vapor channel of Tibetan plateau. According to Scientific research, it is formed by Himalayas move and rivers rush. Stretching 505 km (314 miles), the Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon starts from Daduka Village, Mainling County at an altitude of 2,880 meters (9,450 feet) in the north to Pasighat Village, Medog County at an altitude of 115 meters (377 feet) in the south. The Yarlung Tsangpo originates near Mount Kailash and runs east for about 1700 km, draining a northern section of the Himalayas before it enters the gorge just downstream of Pei, Tibet near the settlement of Zhibe. The Canyon area houses rare and unique plants and wildlife animals such as king cobra, leopards, red pandas, musk deer, monkeys, tigers and forests. Due to the variety in wildlife the Canyon is also known as the Gene Pool of Biological Resources.

Ganden Monastery
The Ganden Monastery is situated on the Wangbori Mountain which resembles a reclining elephant to the northeast of the Dagze County, at an elevation of 3,800 meters above sea level. It is 60km from Lhasa City and was built in the early 15th century. Together with the Sera Monastery and Drepung Monastery which were built later, they became to known as the three Large Monasteries in Lhasa. The monastery houses more than two dozen chapels with huge Buddha statues among which the largest chapel accompanied 3,500 monks. The 14th Dalai Lama took his final degree examination in Ganden in 1958. The three main sights in the Ganden Monastery are the Serdung, which contains the tomb of Tsongkhapa, the Tsokchen Assembly Hall and the Ngam Cho Khang the chapel where Tsongkhapa traditionally taught. The spectacular monastery encompasses more than 50 buildings, which are composed of Tsochin (the main assembly hall which can accommodate 3300 monks), Tsongkhapa sleeping chamber, Yangbajian Sutra Hall, Tsongkhapa Stupa Hall, Jamze Dratsang, Xaze Dratsang and 23 Khangtsengs, and 20 Myicuns. The Ganden Monastery became a State important cultural relic protection unit in 1961.

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