Top Ten Tibetan Attractions

Top Ten Tibetan Attractions

File:Flag of Tibet 1920-1925.svg

       Tibet is a plateau region in Asia, north-east of the Himalayas. It is the traditional homeland of the Tibetan people as well as some other ethnic groups such as Monpas, Qiang, and Lhobas, and is now also inhabited by considerable numbers of Han and Hui people. Tibet is the highest region on earth, with an average elevation of 4,900 m (16,000 ft). Indian-controlled areas claimed by the People’s Republic of China as part of Tibet Tibet emerged in the 7th century as a unified empire, but it soon divided into a variety of territories. The bulk of western and central Tibet were often at least nominally unified under a series of Tibetan governments in Lhasa, Shigatse, or nearby locations; these governments were at various times under Mongol and Chinese overlordship. The eastern regions of Kham and Amdo often maintained a more decentralized indigenous political structure, being divided among a number of small principalities and tribal groups, while also often falling more directly under Chinese rule; most of this area was eventually incorporated into the Chinese provinces of Sichuan and Qinghai. Following the collapse of the Qing dynasty in 1912, Qing soldiers were disarmed and escorted out of Tibet. The region declared its independence in 1913. The region maintained its autonomy until 1951 when, following a military conflict, Tibet was incorporated into the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the previous Tibetan government was abolished in 1959 after a failed uprising. Today, the PRC governs western and central Tibet as the Tibet Autonomous Region while eastern areas are mostly within Sichuan and Qinghai provinces. There are tensions regarding Tibet’s political status and dissident groups are active in exile. The economy of Tibet is dominated by subsistence agriculture, though tourism has become a growing industry in Tibet in recent decades. The dominant religion in Tibet is Tibetan Buddhism, in addition there is Bön which was the indigenous religion of Tibet before the arrival of Buddhism in the 7th century AD (Bön is now similar to Tibetan Buddhism) though there are also Muslim and Christian minorities. Tibetan Buddhism is a primary influence on the art, music, and festivals of the region. Tibetan architecture reflects Chinese and Indian influences. Staple foods in Tibet are roasted barley, yak meat, and butter tea.

  1. Lhasa
    File:Bundesarchiv Bild 135-KA-07-089, Tibetexpedition, Mönche mit Blasinstrumenten.jpgFile:Norbulinka. August, 1993.JPGFile:Barkhor in Lhasa 20007 (Detail) Dieter Schuh.JPG
    Lhasa is the administrative capital and a prefecture-level city of the Tibet Autonomous Region. It is the 2nd most populous city on the Tibetan Plateau, after Xining, and at an altitude of 3,490 m (11,450 ft), Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world. The city contains many culturally significant Tibetan Buddhist sites such as the Potala Palace, Jokhang temple and Norbulingka palaces, many of which are located in Chengguan District, the city seat.
    Links:
  2. Potola Palace
    File:Snow Lions protect the entrance to the Potala Pallace.jpgFile:The quiet and peaceful park, pond, and chapel behind the Potala.jpgFile:White Palace of the Potala.jpg
           The Potala Palace is located in Lhasa and named after Mount Potalaka, the mythical abode of Chenresig or Avalokitesvara. The Potala Palace was the chief residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to Dharamsala, India, during the 1959 Tibetan uprising. Lozang Gyatso, the Great Fifth Dalai Lama, started the construction of the Potala Palace in 1645 after one of his spiritual advisers, Konchog Chophel, pointed out that the site was ideal as a seat of government, situated as it is between Drepung and Sera monasteries and the old city of Lhasa. It may overlay the remains of an earlier fortress, called the White or Red Palace, on the site built by Songtsen Gampo in 637. Today, the Potala Palace is a museum. The building measures 400 meters east-west and 350 meters north-south, with sloping stone walls averaging 3 m. thick, and 5 m. (more than 16 ft) thick at the base, and with copper poured into the foundations to help proof it against earthquakes. Thirteen stories of buildings – containing over 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines and about 200,000 statues – soar 117 meters (384 ft) on top of Marpo Ri, the “Red Hill,” rising more than 300 m (about 1,000 ft) in total above the valley floor. Tradition has it that the three main hills of Lhasa represent the “Three Protectors of Tibet.” Chokpori, just to the south of the Potala, is the soul-mountain (bla-ri) of Vajrapani, Pongwari that of Manjushri, and Marpori, the hill on which the Potala stands, represents Chenresig or Avalokiteshvara.
    Links: Palaces, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potala_Palace,
  3. Xining
    File:Xining 2008.png
           Xining is the capital of Qinghai province in western China, and the largest city on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. It has 2,208,708 inhabitants at the 2010 census whom 1,198,304 live in the built up area made of 4 urban districts. The city was a commercial hub along the Northern Silk Road’s Hexi Corridor for over 2,000 years, and was a stronghold of the Han, Sui, Tang, and Song dynasties’ resistance against nomadic attacks from the west. Although long a part of Gansu province, Xining was added to Qinghai in 1928. Xining holds sites of religious significance to Muslims and Buddhists, including the Dongguan Mosque and Ta’er Monastery. The city lies in the Huangshui River valley, and owing to its high altitude, has a cold semi-arid climate. It is connected by rail to Lhasa, Tibet and Lanzhou, Gansu.
    Links: Cities, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xining,
  4. Drepung Monastery
    File:Ganden Phodrang.JPGFile:Young monks of Drepung.jpgFile:Monks in the great assembly hall at Drepung Monastery, Tibet.jpg
           Drepung (Rice Heap) Monastery, located at the foot of Mount Gephel, is one of the “great three” Gelukpa university monasteries of Tibet. The other two are Ganden and Sera. Drepung is the largest of all Tibetan monasteries and is located on the Gambo Utse mountain, 5 km from the western suburb of Lhasa. Freddie Spencer Chapman reported, after his 1936-37 trip to Tibet, that Drepung was at that time the largest monastery in the world, and housed 7,700 monks, “but sometimes as many as 10,000 monks.” Since the 1950’s, Drepung Monastery, along with its peers Ganden and Sera, have lost much of their independence and spiritual credibility in the eyes of Tibetans since they operate under the close watch of the Chinese security services. All three were reestablished in exile in the 1950’s in Karnataka state in south India. Drepung and Ganden are in Mundgod and Sera is in Bylakuppe.
    Links: Top Ten Monasterieshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drepung,
  5. Sera
    File:Keutsang Hermitage.jpgFile:Stone-Sera16.JPGFile:MG 5813.JPGFile:Sera Mey.jpgFile:Tsongkhapa.jpgFile:Sera Mey monks in the main temple.jpg
           Sera Monastery is one of the ‘great three’ Gelukpa university monasteries of Tibet, located 1.25 miles (2.01 km) north of Lhasa. The origin of the name ‘Sera’ is attributed to a fact that the site where the monastery was built was surrounded by wild roses (se ra in Tibetan language) in bloom. The original Sera monastery is located in Lhasa, Tibet, about 5 km (3.1 mi) north of the Jokang and is responsible for some 19 hermitages, including four nunneries, which are all located in the foot hills north of Lhasa. The Sera Monastery, as a complex of structures with the Great Assembly Hall and three colleges, was founded in 1419 by Jamchen Chojey of Sakya Yeshe of Zel Gungtang (1355–1435), a disciple of Tsongkhapa. During the 1959 revolt in Lhasa, Sera monastery suffered severe damage, with its colleges destroyed and hundreds of monks killed. After the Dalai Lama took asylum in India, many of the monks of the Sera Monastery who survived the attack moved to Bylakuppe in Mysore, India. After initial tribulations, they established a parallel Sera Monastery with Sera Me and Sera Je colleges and a Great Assembly Hall on similar lines to the original monastery, with help from the Government of India. There are now 3,000 or more monks living in Sera, India and this community has also spread its missionary activities to several countries by establishing Dharma centers, propagating knowledge of Buddhism. The Sera Monastery in Tibet and its counterpart in Mysore, India are the best locations to witness the “Monk Debates” on the teachings of Buddha and the philosophy of Buddhism. Sera Monastery developed over the centuries as a renowned place of scholarly learning, training hundreds of scholars, many of whom have attained fame in the Buddhist nations.
    Links: Top Ten Monasterieshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sera_Monastery,
  6. Ganden
    File:Ganden monastery.jpgFile:Gandendebate.jpgFile:Ganden15.JPG
           Ganden Monastery (also Gaden or Gandain) or Ganden Namgyeling is one of the ‘great three’ Gelukpa university monasteries of Tibet, located at the top of Wangbur Mountain, Tagtse County, 36 km ENE from the Potala Palace in Lhasa, at an altitude of 4,300 m. Its full name is Ganden Namgyal Ling (dga’ ldan rmam rgyal gling). Ganden means “joyful” and is the Tibetan name for Tuṣita, the heaven where the bodhisattva Maitreya is said to reside. Namgyal Ling means “victorious temple.”
    Links: Top Ten Monasteries, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganden_Monastery,
  7. Shambhala

           In Tibetan Buddhist and Indian Buddhist traditions, Shambhala is a mythical kingdom hidden somewhere in Inner Asia. It is mentioned in various ancient texts, including the Kalachakra Tantra and the ancient texts of the Zhang Zhung culture which predated Tibetan Buddhism in western Tibet. The Bön scriptures speak of a closely related land called Olmolungring. Whatever its historical basis, Shambhala gradually came to be seen as a Buddhist Pure Land, a fabulous kingdom whose reality is visionary or spiritual as much as physical or geographic. It was in this form that the Shambhala myth reached the West, where it influenced non-Buddhist as well as Buddhist spiritual seekers, as well as popular culture.
    Links: Top 100 Mandalas, Top Ten Spiritual Destinations on Earthhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shambhala,
  8. Sagarmatha (Mount Everest)
    Mount EverestMount Everest1Mount Everest2Mount Everest3Mount Everest4Mount Everest5Mount Everest6
    Sagarmāthā, “Holy Mother,” known to the west as Mount Everest, is the world’s highest mountain, with a peak at 8,848 m (29,029 ft.) above sea level. It is located in the Mahalangur section of the Himalayas. The international boundary runs across the precise summit point. Its massif includes neighboring peaks Lhotse (8516 m), Nuptse (7855 m) and Changtse (7580 m). In 1856, the Great Trigonometric Survey of British India established the first published height of Everest, then known as Peak XV, at 29,002 ft. (8,840 m). In 1865, Everest was given its official English name by the Royal Geographical Society upon a recommendation by Andrew Waugh, the British Surveyor General of India. Waugh named the mountain after his predecessor in the post, Sir George Everest. Although Tibetans had called Everest “Chomolungma” for centuries, Waugh was unaware of this because Nepal and Tibet were closed to foreigners. The highest mountain in the world attracts many well-experienced mountaineers as well as novice climbers willing to hire professional guides. While not posing substantial technical climbing challenges on the standard route, Everest presents dangers such as altitude sickness, weather and wind.
    Links: Top Ten Nepali Attractions, Top Ten Mountains, Top Ten Tallest MountainsExplorershttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mt._Everest,
  9. Links: Top Ten Dalai Lamas, Buddhistshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tibet,

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