LHASA UNVEILED

Being part of the Tourism Industry now for some years I have always been very curious by Tibet, eminently called the roof of the world and sharing about 3400 kms of international border with Nepal, India, Bhutan, Nepal and Myanmar. It has always appeared veiled to the western world and I just wanted to unveil it a little bit.

So here goes,

Lhasa, at an altitude of 3,490 meters is one the highest cities in the world, an object of devout pilgrimage and heart and soul of Tibet. It is also the provincial capital of Tibet Autonomous Region. It is an ancient city with a history of over 1300 year as it became important as a vital administrative centre in the 7th century AD, when Songtsen Gampo a local ruler in the Yarlung Valley trying to unify the tribes of Tibetan Plateau, moved his capital to Lhasa and built a palace on a site called Patola. The temples of Ramoche and Jokhang, which are now exceptional Buddhist religious complexes, were established one by one to house Buddha images brought to Tibet as the dowries of Songtsen Gampo’s Chinese and Nepali wives.

Lhasa became the prime house of power and saw a lot of prosperity in its time, but later became a back-bencher as the power changed hands amongst different leaders until the fifth Dalai Lama (1617–82) in support of Qing government, defeated the Shigatse kings and moved his capital to Lhasa. He rebuilt and expanded the Patola Palace. In 1642, Lhasa was again the seat of the central government, a position it held into the until 1959, after which direct Chinese administration was imposed.

Despite all the modernization over the past few years Tibet has reserved the charm of its past, such as the fascinating Gompas, ancient markets, ever-smiling and fun-loving Tibetans and its beautiful turquoise lakes. Experience the grand architecture of the Potala Palace built on a Red Mountain in the centre of Lhasa Valley,  was the main residence of the Dalai Lama until 1959 or visit of the monasteries and experience Tibetan culture first hand as the monastery’s door open and you hear the music of gongs and strident trumpets mixed with the sound constantly swirling prayers wheels. The repetitive sound of chants fills the air inside the temples where the monks worship Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha.

Spirituality, a world that Tibetans believe can be reached through meditation and devotion. People here believe the mountains and lakes are homes for gods & goddesses and rocks have spirits. Circling around these holy mountains and lakes are believed to clean your sins, opens your minds and make you generous. Experiencing the tranquility of the sacred Lake Namtso on the foothills of the snow clapped mountains with fluttering wishing flags all around or light up the traditional butter lamps in the temples to spread brightness in your heart and others.