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Top 10 things to do in Tibet
Located on the roof of the world, Tibet is a wonderful tourist destination in the word. Tibetan Buddhism culture is the soul of Tibetan culture and the most important religion in this area. Every year, many travelers come to Tibet for learning more about this unique Buddhism culture and appreciate the natural plateau landscape. Here are the top 10 things to do in Tibet that are recommended to travelers, especially those who travel to Tibet for the first time.
1 Visit Famous Buddhist Monasteries in Tibet
Tibet, located on the roof of the world, is a mysterious place in the world. In Tibet, every Tibetan people believe in Buddhism. It is no exaggeration to say that Buddhist temples are everywhere in Tibet, and even there is a small temple in every village of Tibet. Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, has famous monasteries in Tibet such as prominent historical architects of Potala Palace, mystical Jokhang temple, sprawling Sera and Ganden Monastery.
Situated on the Hongshan hill in Lhasa, the Potala Palace means "the sacred palace of Buddhism" in Sanskrit. The Potala Palace is a sacred place of Tibetan Buddhism. Every day, many travelers and pilgrims visit it. It was originally built for Songzan Gambo, the king of the Tubo Dynasty to marry Princess Wencheng. After the reconstruction of the Dalai Lama in the fifth century, it became the residence of the Dalai Lama and the center of the unity of politics and religion. The main building is divided into the White House and the Red Palace. The thirteenth floor of the main building is 115.7 meters high. It consists of the Buddhist palace, the spiritual tower palace, and the monk houses. There are a large number of precious cultural relics and Buddhist works of art in Potala Palace. The most precious collection is the spiritual pagoda of the Fifth Dalai Lama and the murals, which record the life of the Fifth Dalai Lama and the process of Princess Wencheng entering Tibet.
Jokhang Temple combines Tibetan, Tang, Nepalese and Indian architectural styles and has a history of more than 1300 years. It’s the Spiritual center of Tibet, as it has the life-size statue of 12-year-old Sakyamuni, which was Princess Wencheng brought to Tibet in the Tang Dynasty. Whenever you visit it, you will always find many Tibetan people do a kora in front of Jokhang Temple. Taking the Jokhang Temple as the center, a large circle of Potala Palace, Chakpori Mountain and Ramoche Temple is called Lin Kuo The three rings from the inside to the outside are the famous kora routes for Tibetan people.
Sera monastery is one of the three largest Tibetan Buddhist Gelu temples in Lhasa, the other two temples are Drepung monastery and Ganden monastery. Tens of thousands of Vajra Buddha statues are preserved in the Sera monastery, mostly made by local Tibetan people. As one of the three major temples in Lhasa, the debating Buddhist scriptures activities in the Sera monastery are absolutely characteristic. Debating is a discussion of Buddhist knowledge, as well as a way of learning for monks. This is a challenging debate. Debaters often use various gestures to enhance the intensity of the debate. They either clap hands to urge each other to answer questions as soon as possible or pull the beads to show that they can defeat each other with the help of Buddha's power.
Ganden Monastery is one of the three largest Tibetan Buddhist Gelu temples in Lhasa, the other two temples are Drepung monastery and Sera monastery. The ancestor of Tsongkhapa's throne, as well as the successor of the Gelug sects, live in this temple. There are more than 90 spiritual pagodas of ancestors of Tsongkhapa's throne in the temple, and also there are many cultural relics and crafts since the Ming Dynasty. If you prefer, you can do about 2 hours trekking around Ganden Monastery, where has beautiful landscape.
Located at the foot of Nisri Mountain, Tashilhunpo Monastery is the largest temple in Shigatse. It’s seat to the Panchen Lama, the second most important spiritual leader of Tibet. The most magnificent building in the monastery is the Maitreya Hall and the Panchen Lingta Hall and Panchen Spiritual Pagodas Hall.
2 Visit Mount Everest and Himalaya ranges
Everyone has a dream of Himalaya ranges. If you travel to Tibet, your Himalaya dream would come true! Tibet and Nepal are located at Himalaya ranges and share the same Buddhist culture. In Tibet, you can drive to Everest Base Camp from Lhasa. It takes 4~5 days to go to Everest from Lhasa. Before that, you're suggested to stay 2 days in Lhasa for adapting to high altitude. On the way to EBC, you can far view the panorama of Himalaya. When you reach EBC, you will enjoy the stunning sunset or sunrise of Mount Everest, and enjoy a special night at Everest Base Camp tent. It’s definitely a highlight of your trip to Tibet!
3 Visit three holy lakes in Tibet
Located in Langkazi County, Shannan City, Tibet, Yamdroktso Lake is about 70 kilometers southwest of Lhasa. It’s well-known as the three sacred lakes in Tibet with Namtso Lake and Manasarovar Lake. It is the largest inland lake in the northern foot of the Himalayas. It covers an area of 675 km and the lake is 4,441 m above sea level. The turquoise Yamdroktso Lake is like a charming sapphire on Tibet plateau.
Located in the center of Tibet, Namtso lake is the first sacred lake of Bon - native religion in Tibet. Its southeast part is annual snow-covered Nyainqntanglha Mountains, and in the north and west, it leans against the gentle and continuous plateau hills. The vast grassland surrounds the lake. The heaven Lake is like a huge mirror, embedded in the grassland of northern Tibet.
Located in the south of Mount Kailash, Lake Manasarovar is about 35 kilometers east of Pulan County in Ngari Area. It’s one of the three holy lakes with Yamdroktso Lake and Namtso lake in Tibet. It is said that Manasarovar Lake is the holiest lake in Tibet, which can wash away the troubles and obstacles in the human mind. It’s the lake with perfect soul, the Shangri-La of the gods as well as the home of Shiva by Hinduism.
4 Trekking around Mount Kailash
Located at Ngari area, Mount Kailash( 6638m) is the main peak of the Gangdise Mountains. It was recognized as the center of the world by Hinduism, Tibetan Buddhism, Bon religion, Jainism. Indians also believe that this is the center of the world because Shiva, who is the most powerful and most important of the three main gods in Hinduism, lives here. Mount Kailash is not the highest mountain in the region, but only its snow-covered peak can shine in the sunshine. For centuries, Mount Kailash has been the place of pilgrims and explorers, but no one has ever been able to climb this sacred mountain or dare to touch the center of the world. It is said that pilgrims can wash away their sins for a lifetime by trekking around Mount Kailash. If you’re a fan of trekking or a Buddhist enthusiast, doing 3-day trekking around Mount Kailash and Manasarovar Lake is a good choice. You will explore the real Buddhist culture and find yourself here.
5 Experience Qinghai-Tibet Train journey, the World’s Highest Railway
Qinghai-Tibet Railway is the first railway to the hinterland of Tibet and the longest plateau railway in the world. As Xining is the starting point of Qinghai-Tibet Railway, many travelers choose to take a train tour to Lhasa from Xining. Besides, you can also take a train to Lhasa from other cities in China, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Xi'an, Guangzhou, Lanzhou, and Chongqing. Along the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, you will appreciate the charming Chaka Salt Lake, the beautiful Kekexili, the snow-capped Nianqing Tanggula Mountains, the vast Qiangtang grassland and the stunning Namsto Lake.
6 Visit the Haven of Wildlife
The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is well-known as the roof of the world. Its unique natural landscape and various climatic types give birth to extremely rich wild animals and regional national culture. Wild Tibetan antelopes, wild donkeys, and wild yaks are always seen in Qiangtang Plateau and Hoh Xil area. On the way to Everest Base Camp, you can see groups of black-necked cranes flying on the grassland. Around Yamdroktso Lake, you can take a picture with Tibetan Mastiff.
7 Visit Tibet during festivals
There are many ethnic characteristic festivals will be held in Tibet every year. When you travel to Tibet during a festival in Tibet, you can participate in those festivals to have a better understanding of Tibetan Buddhist culture and folk custom. There are famous Tibetan festivals, such as Saga Dawa Festival(June 17th), Tashilhunpo Thangka Festival(from July 14th to July 16th), Ganden Thangka Festival( August 15th), Shoton Festival(August 30th), Damxung Horse Racing Festival( August 20th).
8 Taste delicious Tibetan food
Tibetan people mainly eat cattle, mutton, and dairy products. Barley Zanba has become an important food for catering to travelers. In religious festivals, Tibetan people also throw Zanba in the sky as a blessing. Tibetan beverages include butter tea, sweet tea, barley wine, etc.. Butter tea and sweet tea made of butter, milk or milk powder plus tea. In Tibet, it is an ancient Tibetan tradition to treat guests with butter tea. Whether you walk into a herdsman's tent or a Tibetan cottage, the owner will always make mellow butter tea for you to taste.
9 Visit a local Tibetan family
When traveling to Tibet, visiting a local Tibetan family is a good way to learn about the characteristic Tibetan customs. It’s a very interesting thing for you to chat with a local Tibetan people, who are very enthusiastic and kind.
10 Visit Tibetan Impression Show- Princess Wencheng show
With the background of Lhasa's natural mountains and rivers, this Princess Wencheng show applied the dance of Tang Dynasty and the historic opera and dance of Tibetan, told the historical story of Princess Wencheng married to Songtsen Gampo, the first king of Tibet. The total building area of the venue is 24611.8 square meters, which can accommodate more than 4000 people to watch the performance at the same time. The performance lasts from Monday to Sunday at 21 p.m. This show will make you feel the mystery of Tibet and understand the culture of Tibet.
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