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Destinations in Tibet


Zhangmu (7,000ft.) better known by its Tibetan name, Khasa, is a small settlement clinging to a hillside 10 km inland from the Friendship Bridge across the Bhotekoshi river. After the closure of the China/India boarder from Gangtok, Zhangmu has become the major trading post between Tibet and Nepal. The climate is quite different from the hinterland. The hills around Zbangmu are heavily wooden wit h innumerable waterfalls in the summer and frozen 'icicles' during the winter. It has a bank, a post office, a government store, and is presently undergoing a construction to meet the demands of trade and tourism.

Nyalamu(12,200 ft.), Known as 'Kurti' to Nepalese traders, used to be an important trade post tuncked into a fertile valley. Nowadays, barrack style Chinese communes surround the typical old, flat roofed, mud-brick  houses. Although vegetation is sparse, one can see an abundance of alpine fauna on the hillside during the summer months.

Gutsuo(14,200 ft.) is a military base camp situated at the start of the plateau, after passing through the Thongla pass (16,400 ft.) from where a most  panoramic views of Mt. Everest and its neighbouring peaks can be seen from the road at Gutsuo. Accommodation here would be in tented camps or at the barracks itself.

Xegar (13,800 ft.) is a new Chinese commune built at the foot of the ruins of Xegar Dzone, and is 7 km from the main road. With a population of 3,000, its importance lies in the fact that it is the centre of this large and remote country and also a base from where expeditions to Mt. Everest and other peaks are launched. 

Lhaze (13,100 ft.) is situated at the cross roads from where the road turns westwards towards Mt. Kailash and Mansarovar Lake. During the short summer season, the whole valley is covered with green barley fields and bright-yellow mustard meadows, and is a welcome change after the barren lands of the Tibetan pleateau. There is also a small, hot spring located a few kilometers away.

Xigatse (12,600 ft.)is most famous for its Tashihunpo Monastery. The seat of the Panchen Lama, who is regarded as the reincarnation of the Buddha of Endless Enlightenment. Items of interest inside this monastery built in 1447 by the first Dalai Lama are: the relics of Sakyamuni, the Hall of Maitreya, and a mind-boggling collection of Thankas, frescoes and statues. There is a 'free Market at the foot of the ruins of the Xigatse Fortress where one can buy local handicrafts, embedded with coral and turquoise, Tibetan daggers, Chinese porcelain and yak butter.

Gyantse (13,050 ft.) is a small agricultural town famous for its wool carpets and the Phalkor Choide Chorten. Amongst the Lamasery and the fort, this unique structure built in 1414 consist of five storeys representing the five steps to enlightenment Towards Buddhahood. There are 108 halls inside, each with frescoes and Buddha Shrines, the frescoes showing strong Indian influence. Before 1959 traders coming from Kalimpong and Gangtok (India) used to enter Tibet through Yanddong and then to Gyantse, enrouted to Lhasa.

Nagarje (14,300 ft.) is a settlement by the shores of Yamdrok Lake.  This freshwater lake, unlike other Tibetan lake, is sweet and non-saline, extending for 624 sq. Km., in the shape of the two pincers of a large scorpion. During summer, it is turquoise green in colour, but durng winter, it has thick crust of ice.  It is abundant in fish and migratory birds can be seen in its vicinity. At a mountain pass at of 16,000 ft. enroute Nagarje one can see, even in summer, the holy pin-pointed glacier.

Lhasa (11,850 ft.) was, and still is, the religious, cultural and economic centre of Tibet. Places of interest include the Potala, and 13 storey, 1000 room palace of the Dalai Lama; the monasteries of Drepung and Sera, the summer palace of the Dalai Lama, Norbulinka; and the Jokhang, the holiest shrine of Tibet. The circular Barkhor Street with innumerables shops and wayside peddlers intermingle with the devotees walking clockwise around the Jokhang enfusing the magic that is Tibet.

Seara Monastery: Sera means Hail stone in Tibetan. Set on the foot of the Wudu hill to the north of Lhasa city, Sera comprises of a great sutra chanting hall, a college and 32 sections.

Jokhang Temple: Jokhang temple built in 647 A.D. is the spiritual centre of Tibet and the hotiest destination for Tibetan Buddhist pilgrams. It houses the sitting status of Sakyamuni when he was 12 years old.

Barkhor Bazaaris the oldest street of ancient Lhasa city, circling the Jokhang Temple.

Potala Palace located on the Red Hill, was built in 640 A.D. during the reign of Songtsen Gampo. The original Potala palace was destroyed in the 9th century but was rebuilt in the 17 the century, during the reign of the 5th Dalai Lama.

Drepung Monastery is situated to the west of Lhasa city and founded in 1417 by the one of the disciples of Tsong Khampa. It was the largest and richest of the three major yellow sect monasteries in Lhasa.