TIBET THE WONDERLAND
‘a huge and vast country stands on top of world highest and largest plateau’
Tibet the wonderland, a country with vast territory and landlocked in between mainland China, Nepal, Bhutan, and India. As well close to Pakistan in the southwest extends far towards Myanmar in the southeast.
A country of great fascination with its ancient history, age-old culture, and colorful custom with ancient temples and beautiful monasteries. Including a huge towering fortress known as Dzong, guarding its fabled cities and town from invaders in the early days.
Tibet stands high as the ‘Roof of the World’ covering its huge territory of 1,228 million sq. km. about 463,320 sq. miles. The country with the most world highest peaks Mt. Everest, Cho-Oyu, and Mt. Shisapangma which is wholly in Tibet.
The great Himalaya Mountain straddles the border between Tibet and Nepal and a few with Bhutan, towards the southeast of the country.
Tibet, located on the highest and largest tableland of the world, is known as a plateau with deep valleys, high eroded hills, and canyon. With huge summer pastureland for cattle and Yak grazing ground, where the native nomads or Drokpa camps are found.
Since early 1965, Tibet became the Autonomous Region Republic of China, the country has changed over the years, especially the city areas. With modern high buildings and networks of motor roads and highways, but still retains its past glory of ancient history.
History-Religion and Culture:
Tibetan Religion and culture are related to the background, with its beautiful and large landscapes, and way of ancient traditional farm life and raising livestock.
Tibet, also a country with great wonderful cities where the most important monasteries and religious sites of great cultural interest are located.
The ancient religion of Tibet before Buddhism took over was Bon, and still exists around Tibet Far South West. Spread as far towards western Nepal and Bhutan, The worship of Mother Nature and natural spirits linked to five important elements.
Which is the sky, fire, water, vegetation, and earth, the practice of Bon slowly fading around main cities and towns. As the country was largely dominated by Buddhist religion with few Tibetan Moslem, who entered Tibet main cities for trade. Taking the ancient silk route from Turkestan, and other Islamic countries that borders with Tibet.
At present five main order and sects of Tibetan Buddhism are in practice, the oldest with many followers is Nyingma. Established in the 7-8th centuries by great saint Padamasamba / Guru Rinpoche who traveled from India via Nepal to Tibet.
Likewise, the Gelugpa sect founded by Tsong Khapa in the early 14th Century, and the Kagyu of the 11th Century with Sakya sects in 1073 A.D. and minor followers of Kadam sects found around rural areas of Tibet.
Tibetans are highly religious following the path of Buddhism as per the order of high gurus and priests of a different sect of Buddhism. In Tibet various religious festivals and events are held all around the year, the most important is Saga Dawa. Related to the birth anniversary of Lord Sakyamuni Buddha falls at the end of April or the first week of May, as per the Buddhist Lunar calendar.
The other major festival is the Tibetan New Year takes place during the cold winter months of February, the Tibetan calendar. That consists cycle of animals and birds or creatures birds likewise a year of Hare, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Ape. Includes Bird, Dog, Pig, Mouse, Bull, and a Tiger, as per English or Gregorian calendar 2020. It was the year of a Rat or Mouse, from this February 2021 onward year of an Ox, celebrated with pomp and joyous ceremony.
Tibet places of interest:
Lhasa, the largest city and the capital of Tibet at the height of 3,660 m high, is listed as one of the world's highest city. As well one of the busiest place in Tibet a blend of modern and old, where magnificent Potala Palace is located. It stands high right in the heart of the city square, one of the highlights and landmarks of Tibet.
Lhasa draws thousands of Tibetans from all around Tibet as a place with many important religious sites with beautiful monasteries. A great place of worship for all Tibetan pilgrims and Buddhist followers, as well as for other visitors.
Where one can visit Drepung a huge university for Buddhist scholars turned into a great monastery. In the early days, a resident for many Dalai Lama before Potala Palace was built by the order of the 5th Dalai Lama. Who soon passed away shortly a year after the palace was fully completed in 1645 A.D.
Another great place of interest the Shera Monastery founded in 1727 A.D. a great place to observe young monks practicing debates. The most important Buddhist shrine of Lhasa is Jokhang Temple, located amidst busy Barkor Market, one of the oldest Buddhist shrine. Built-in 7th Century during the time of famous and wise king Songsten Gampo who had two queens. The Chinese princess Wen Chen and Bhrikuti princess from Nepal, wives of both neighboring countries to maintain peace with both nations.
Ganden Monastery, located east of Lhasa on a high hill at 4,300 m, was built in 1409 A.D. by great saint Tsong Khapa. As well a founder of the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism, a great monastery within a beautifully scenic location.
It was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution in the midst of the 1950s and has been rebuilt in its present shape and position.
Namtsho Lake is another scenic place situated northeast of Lhasa on Golmud Highway crossing high Largaen-La Pass at 5,189 m. To reach Namtsho Lake a length of 113 k.m is considered a huge salt lake.
South and close to Lhasa at Gongar town, located Tibet International Airport near to the bank of Brahmaputra River. In Tibetan known as Yarlung Tsangpo flows from the source of Mt. Kailash glacier situated in South West Tibet.
Just opposite of the river stands a beautiful large Samye Monastery, construction started by king Dritsen in the late 7th Century. The son of great Songsten Gampo but completed with the help of great saint Padamasamba known as Guru Rinpoche by Buddhist followers.
Further east where the old Yarlung kingdom of Tibet is located near the town of Tsedang, the first major capital ruled by king Drigum Tsenpo in the very 1st century of B.C. and later the kingdom shifted in Lhasa by Songsten Gampo in the early 7th Century.
Various places of interest beyond Lhasa, like Gyantse a city in the early 18th century a major commercial hub for trade. Where strong trade used to take place between India, Nepal, and Bhutan, the city with famous Gyantse Dzong (fort).
Includes Pelkor Chode Monastery and Kumbum Stupa- a landmark of Gyantse few-hour drive lies the 2nd largest city of Tibet. The Shigatse city, with famed Tashilumpo Monastery and its huge complex and the seat of great Panchen Lama, the second head after Dalai Lama.
Besides various Buddhist sites of monasteries and monuments within Tibetan cities and towns, Tibet is famous for the holy Mt. Kailash. Including the sacred Lake Manasarover located far South West of the country, the main worship hub for four main religions. That is Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, and Bon where pilgrims pay homage and for circumambulation or circuit around Mt. Kailash.