Alpine Tibet, which is formally a special administrative region of China, has been considered a sacred place for Buddhists and Hindus for many centuries: there are a huge number of monasteries, spiritual schools and “places of power”. The local Mount Kailash is called the center of the world in ancient scrolls, and for good reason: four major rivers, including the Indus and the Brahmaputra, take their source from its top at once.
According to WHOLEVEHICLES, the capital is Lhasa.
For a very long time, until 1984, Tibet was closed to foreigners.
All tourists other than Chinese must have a special permit to visit the area from the Tibet Tourism Bureau and be accompanied by a licensed guide daily. Getting individual permission is almost impossible, with groups (from 5 people) things are easier. In addition to this, from time to time foreigners are prohibited from entering the territory of Tibet at all – such periods can last a month or more.
How to get there
You can get to the Tibetan capital Lhasa by domestic flight from any major city in the country – however, this is strongly discouraged for tourists with poor health due to the sharp drop in altitude. Among the more gentle routes include the popular tourist route Kunming – Dali – Liyang with a gradual increase in altitude and subsequent flight to the capital of Tibet.
From Beijing to Lhasa, you can also arrive by train of the Qinghai Railway: such a journey will last about 2 days. Finally, Tibet can be reached by rented car or as part of an organized tour, usually in jeeps.
In Tibet, spiritual food always comes first, and then bodily food. However, no one will be left hungry here anyway. Tibetan food consists mainly of vegetables and meat (the most popular is yak meat), and the amount of spices and spices is minimal, only salt, onion and garlic. The most popular Tibetan dishes are lamb sausages and beef jerky.
The inhabitants of Tibet practically do not eat sweets and fruits, the only sweetness that can really be found here is brushwood with honey. Tibetans also treat alcohol rather coolly, because it is not combined with prayer. But you can still buy weak rice wine here.
Tea, by the way, in Tibet is often preferred to drink with butter and salt.
One of the main dishes of Tibetan cuisine is tsampa, which is made from egg flour, yak butter, tea and barley beer. In addition, it is worth trying shadpu and yachi cheese – churu.
In large cities of Tibet and some hotels where tourists often stop for lunch, the choice of dishes is usually quite diverse. In other places, everything is usually arranged much more ascetically – the menu is often limited to momo and tukpa. Momo are dumplings stuffed with meat or vegetables, while tukpa is a noodle soup stuffed with meat or vegetables. There are also rice and vermicelli dishes.
Sights of Tibet
If you managed to come to Tibet, but you didn’t manage to get a free month to explore local attractions, it’s better to make a clear plan for yourself in advance – there are so many different attractions here that upon arrival at the place, your eyes just run wide.
In Lhasa, on the Red Mountain, the most beautiful white-stone Potala Palace, called the Mystic Mountain, was built. It looks quite impressive – as if the mountain itself, shaking off the snow cover, turned into a palace. Its height is 115 m, 13 floors, the total area of which is more than 130 thousand square meters. m. Few people will be able to visit all the rooms of the palace, there are more than a thousand of them and each is surprisingly luxuriously decorated. The palace is staffed by monks who keep the palace clean and tidy.
Not far from Lhasa is the city of Gyangtse, which has retained its original Tibetan atmosphere due to the fact that it was one of the last to be influenced by China. It is the third largest city in Tibet.
Norbulingka, a park complex with summer palaces of the Dalai Lamas, is a great place for leisurely walks, reflections and meditations. The palace is open from morning until noon. On the territory of the complex there is an artificial lake, and not far from the palace there is a zoo of the same name.
The Jokhang Temple, a famous Buddhist pilgrimage site, was built in the 7th century BC. in order to place relics there – the image of Buddha Akshobhya and Jowo Shakyamuni. These relics were brought along with the dowry of the two wives of King Songtsen Gampo, a Nepalese and a Chinese princess. Both relics can be seen in the temple from 8:00 to 12:00. In front of the gates of the temple, the Tibetans perform prostrations, in the same place, on the square, there is a basement where a thousand candles are burning. The temple is active, services are held daily.
In addition, you can visit Sera Monastery and Drepung Monastery and make a ritual detour around Lake Manasarovar. Alpine lake Yamdrok is one of the most mystical lakes in Tibet, known for its magical properties.
One of the properties is considered to be the change in the color of the water in the lake – no matter how much you come there, it will always be different.
Sacred Mount Kailash
Another Tibetan relic of natural origin is Mount Kailash. It has a pyramidal shape, its faces are directed almost exactly to the cardinal points, at the top there is a snow cap. On the southern side of the mountain, a vertical crack once appeared, which is crossed approximately in the middle by a horizontal one, as a result of which a figure resembling a swastika came out. Four world religions consider Kailash a sacred place. Here you can make a bark – a ritual detour. It is believed that even by going around the mountain just once (which is as much as 53 km), a person gets rid of all life’s sins. Travel time takes from one to three days, there are many interesting sights around the mountain, and the view is beautiful. And don’t forget to make a wish before heading to the kora.