Capital of Tibet / Lhasa
Lhasa, a City of Sunshine
|Location of Lhasa in Tibet
Lhasa means holy land in Tibetan. On the northern bank of Lhasa River, a tributary of Yarlung Zangbo River, it is 3,650 meters above sea level. It is famous for its long history. Lhasa is also famous as a city of sunshine for its sunshine of more than 3,000 hours a year. It is the capital city of the Tibet Autonomous Region and is a political, economic and cultural center of the region. It boasts many historical sites and scenic spots both in its urban areas and outskirts. The Potala Palace and Jokhang, Sera, Gaindan monasteries and Drepung Temple are well known at home and abroad
(Address: No. 19 Norbu Lingka Road, Lhasa; Tel: 0891-6835244; Open hours: 9:30-17:30 in summer and 10:00-17:00 in winter.)
Standing on the Red Hill on Beijing C. Road, Lhasa, the Potala Palace is the highest of its kind in the world. The palace was first built in the seventh century and was damaged in the eighth century. In the 17th century, it was rebuilt by the Fifth Dalai Lama in three years. Its 13-story main building is 117 meters high and is composed of the Red and White Palaces, with the red one in the middle. The main building consists of the Hall of Stupas of Dalai Lamas from various historical stages and halls of Buddhas. The White Palace is the residence of the Dalai Lamas and place for handling political affairs.
The Potala Palace houses great amounts of rare cultural relics including the Pattra-leaf scripture from India, Bak'gyur and the imperial edicts, golden seals and titles of nobility from the Qing emperors to the Dalai Lamas.
(Open hours: 8:00am-18:00pm As it opens for every day, but have to book the ticket guests one week before, otherwise very hard get it. Admission is 200 yuan per perosn, The admission for the Golden Summit and the Exhibition of Tibet Cultural Relics is 10 yuan per person. Picture-taking inside the halls costs 40-150 yuan, but some of halls not allow to take picture, if you have guide who will tell you, if you don't have guide you have to look aroud in the halls because there are attion aborad)
Located in the center of the ancient city of Lhasa, the Jokhang Monastery was built in the seventh century by Songtsan Gambo, the Tang Princess Wen Cheng and Nepalese Princess Bhrikuti. Its four-story main building demonstrates a combination of the Han, Tibetan, Indian and Nepalese architectural styles, as well as a mandala world outlook of Buddhism. With the Hall of Amitayus Sutra as its center, the monastery symbolizes the nuclear of the universe. The Hall of Sakyamuni is the essence of the monastery.
(Open hours: 9:30am-16:00pm The admission is 70 yuan per person. Photos can be taken in front of the monastery and on the top floor. Photos are taken for charges inside the halls. Charges are varied in different halls. It is unkindly to take a picture of Tibetans who stretch their body forward to pay their respects to the Buddha in front of them.)
Barker Street or Old Town
Barker Street is a shopping street around the Jokhang Temple. Being 500 meters long, it is also a way along which the pilgrims walk around the Temple while turning prayer wheels in their hands.
(Tourists should walk clockwise as pilgrims do. While buying articles, you should choose the best and cheaper one after comparison and bargaining.)
At the foot of the Wuze Hill in Sera to the north of Lhasa, the Sera Monastery is one of the three great monasteries in Lhasa and one of the six great monasteries of the Gelug Sect of Buddhism in Tibet. It had once harbored some 8,000 monks, though as a rule, ordained monks should be no more than 5,500. It was founded in 1419 by Jamchen Choje Shakya Yeshe, a disciples of Tsongkhapa. Ten Years earlier Tsongkhapa had been invited to the inland of China by Yong-le, the Emperor of the Ming Dynasty. Unable to go himself, Tsongkhapa sent Shakya Yeshe in his stead. The Emperor showed his appreciation of Shakya Yeshe’s teachings by giving him the title “ Jamchen Choje,” the compassionate Lord of the Dharma, the name by which he is best known today.
(Admission is 50RMB per person. Open hours: 9:30am-16:00pm)
On the slope of the Wuze Hill in Genbei five kilometers northwest of Lhasa, the Drepung Monastery was built in 1416 by Jamyang Choje, a disciple of Tsongkhapa. It is one of the largest of the monasteries of the Gelug Sect. It covers an area of 250,000 square meters. In its heyday, it had more than 10,000 monks. The monastery has trained a large group of talents for Tibetan Buddhism. The Fifth Dalai Lama lived here before he moved to the Potala Palace. It houses plenty of historical and cultural relics and Buddhist classics. In the exciting Shoton Festival, "Sunning the Buddha" by the monastery has been one of the most magnificent religious activities in Tibet.
(Admission is 50RMB per person. Open hours: 9:30am-16:00pm,Photos are taken for charges inside the halls, Charges are varied in different halls.)
To 60km northeast of Lhasa, Ganden was the first Gelugpa monastery and has been the main seat of this major Buddhist order ever since. The monastery was founded in 1409 by Tsongkhapa, the revered reformer of the Gelugpa order, after the first Monlam festival was performed here. Gaden means “joyous” in Tibetan and is the name of the western Paradise(also known as Tushita) that is home to Jampa. Today it is the scense of extensive rebuilding, but this dose not disguise the ruin that surrounds the new structures. Former there were 2000monks at Ganden ; today there are just 360.
(Admission is 45RMB per person. Open hours: 9:30am-16:00pm,Photos are taken for charges inside the halls, Charges are varied in different halls.)
The Norbu Lingka
Norbu Lingka means a lovely garden in Tibetan. Located in the western suburbs of Lhasa, it has been a palace for the Dalai Lamas to stay to escape the summer heat. It was built in 1755 and covers an area of 36 hectares. It was once a place of bathing and recuperation of the Seventh Dalai Lama. The Qing minister stationed in Tibet built the first palace here. Since then, the eighth, 13th and 14th Dalai Lamas built their own palaces here too. Continuous expansions in the past 200-odd years have turned it a large-scale and Tibet-style palace complex and garden. On festivals and holidays, the local people in their splendid attires come here with food and tents to sing and dance overnight.
(It can be reached on foot from the city center or take mini-bus and get off at the College of Tibetan Medicines stop. Also it costs four yuan by tricycle. The admission is 65 RMB per person. Open hours: 9:30-18:00 and closed on Sundays.)
Drigung Til Monastery
Drigung Til Monastery and Tidrum Nunnery, around 120km northeast of Lhasa, are popular destinations for travellers looking for a short trip near the Tibetan capital. The steep-sided valleys are only a few hours’ drive from the capital but offer a glimpse into rural life in Tibet But change is coming to the region: towns are being developed, rivers dammed and hillsides mined. Despite these intrusions many locals carry on as usual and there are plenty of opportunities to stop off at remote villages as you monastery-hop your way through the region.
In Damxung County, Lhasa, Yangbajain contains rich geothermal resources and is famous as a geothermal museum. The well-known Yanbajain Geothermal Power Station stands here. It has hot springs everywhere and when the valve is switched on, hot water spurts several meters or even dozens of meters high, constituting a magnificent scene.
(Yangbajain is 100 kilometers away from Lhasa proper. It can be reached by taking the long-distance bus in Lhasa. Around the Yanbajain Transport Station there are guesthouses for your stay.)
On the hill opposite the Potala Palace, originally there was the Yaowang (Medicinal King) Temple or the College of Tibetan Medicines. The senior monks in the temple were doctors who served the Dalai Lamas. In the 1960s, the college was merged with the Hospital of Tibetan Medicines to the west of the Jokhang Monastery. The temple is a ruin now.
Dragon King Pond
At the rear of the Potala Palace, a pond was left after the earth was collected for the construction of the palace in the mid-17th century. The Sixth Dalai Lama Tsangyang Gyatso built a three-story octagon pavilion in the middle of the pond and took a rest in it. The pavilion has the name for a statue of Dragon King in it. (Admission is three yuan.)
The Lower Tantric College
This college was established in 1433 by Jizun, a disciple of Zonggaba for the development of Tantrism. It is located on the northern side of Beijing E. Road, Lhasa. The main hall has four stories. On the first floor is the Great Hall of Buddhist Sutra. On the other floors are some 70 rooms.
Located at the southeast corner of Norbu Lingka, Lhasa, it is the first modern museum in Tibet. It covers an area of 53,959 square meters and has a floor space of 23,508 square meters including an exhibition area of 10,451 square meters. The museum demonstrates a strict and magnificent traditional Tibetan architectural style. Also it reflects a salient feature of modern architectural art. (Admission free)
The museum houses a rich collection of cultural relics including various kinds of cultural relics of pre-history, handwritten Tibetan classics, colorful Thangka pictures, music and ritual instruments, unique handicrafts and pottery. From the exhibition, the visitors can see the long-standing history and profound culture and art of Tibet.
Outside the exhibition hall are green lawns and shadowy trees. Also there are a performance area for modern cultural and physical activities, a garden of local customs and folk culture and manor houses. In addition, the museum has a cultural gallery, handicraft shop and other service facilities. It is a good place for people to relax while visiting the exhibition.