Lhasa11,850 ft above sea level Lhasa was and still is the religious, cultural and economic centre of Tibet. Places of interests include the Potala Palace, the 13 storey – 1000 rooms winter palace of the Dalai Lama; the monasteries of Drepung & Sera; Norbulingka, the Jokhang Temple, the holiest shrine in Tibet. The circular Barkhor street with innumerable shops & wayside pedlars intermingle with devotees walking clockwise around the Jokhang shrine.
xigatseMost famous for its Tashilhunpo monastery – the seat of the Panchen Lama, is 12,600 ft. above sea level. Places of interest include the relics of Sakyamuni Buddha, the hall of Buddha Maitreya and mind-boggling collection of old and rare thankas, etc. built in 1447 by the first Dalai Lama. There is also bustling “free” market at the foot of the ruins of the Xigaze fortress and one can buy local handicrafts embedded with coral and torquoise, chinese porcelain and yak butter etc.
Gyantse_FortressThis small agricultural town is at 13, 050 ft above sea level and is famous for its wool carpets and palkhor choide chorten. At the lamasery it is the unique structure built in 1414 of five storeys representing the five steps to enlightenment, topped by the thirteen rings which symbolise the stages of achieving. There are 108 halls inside, ‘buddhahood’ each with frescoes and buddhist shrines.
ZHANGMUThis town is 7,000 ft above sea level and is known by its Tibetan name Khasa and is a major trading town enroute Tibet from Nepal border through Friendship bridge. The hills around Zhangmu are heavily wooded with inumerable waterfalls in the summer and frozen ‘icicles’ during the winter.
xegar13,800 ft. Above sea level, this is a new chinese commune built 7 kms of the highway at the foot of the ruins of xegar dzong. With population of 3000, it is the centre of a large and remote country and also the base for the expeditions to mt. Everest and other peaks.
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