Tibet is rightly termed as the ?Roof of the World? due to its sky piercing peaks. Visit here and get floored by its beautiful monasteries, wonderful high-altitude treks, eye-catching landscapes and myriad cultures all around. Charms of this highest plateau on earth are diverse. Take a trip here and get amazed by its pristine turquoise lakes, plains dotted with yaks, ruins of isolated hermitages and world?s wildest roads.
History & Culture History of Tibet goes back to 1950. Since then, it has developed a distinct culture which has influences from neighboring nations like China, India, and Nepal. Buddhism has strongly influenced Tibet which can be seen in all its aspects. Buddhism was introduced here in the 7th century which brought along arts and customs. The Tibetan language is spoken in a variety of dialects. While some of these are tonal like the Chinese language, there are many non tonal dialects too. Most of the locals here speak the Lhasa dialect, also called Standard Tibetan. Tibetan art is considered as sacred and can be seen in Thangka, ritual objects, coins, frescos, statues, ornaments and furniture found here.
Places to Visit
Start by visiting the astonishing castle Potala Palace standing 3,750 meters above ocean level. The castle represents Tibetan individuals and their convictions. Travelers visit here to walk down the memory lanes and explore various exhibits displayed here.
Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon
The beauty of Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Canyon is also worth cherishing. It is 496.3-meter-long and has a profundity of around 5,000 meters. Visiting this deepest canyon in the world is an experience of a lifetime.
For some mental solace, visit the Sakya Monastery where you can delve into richness of cultures here with tons of Tibetan wall paintings, Buddhist parchments and books as well as thangkas. Here you will find over 40,000 consecrated parchments.
Tashilunpo Monastery is also a great place to meditate and is counted as one of the Six Big Monasteries of Gelugpa in Tibet. This monastery is seat to the Panchen Lama, the second most significant religious leader of Tibet.
Apart from these, the beauty of Samye Monastery is also worth exploring. This is the spiritual place where Tibetan Buddhism was established. Today it houses many frescos, sculptures, and prayer wheels which narrate some unknown facts about Tibetan Buddhism.
Spirituality seekers must also visit the Jokhang Temple which stands for the 'Place of Buddha'. It remains the prime seat of the Gelugpa Branch of Tibetan Buddhism.
Other popular places to visit in Tibet include Yangbajing Hot Springs, Norbulingka, Namtso Lake, Lake Yamdrok, Barkhor Street, etc.
Shopping in Tibet
Tibet is a perfect destination if you love locally made items which looks simple yet unique. Exploring the local markets of Tibet is great fun as smiling locals greet you with great warmth and tell you some facts about the souvenirs they are selling. As Buddhism is deeply rooted here, do not miss buying traditional Scroll paintings from here. These paintings are adorned with embroidery, pearl inlayed, brocade as well as silk tapestry. Tibetan Carpets remain high in demand. These are hand woven and come in vibrant colors. Tibetan Textiles are also extremely rich. Woolen clothing is sold in all markets here. Women folk must pick Tibetan ornaments and jewellery made of copper, turquoise, gold, bamboo and wood. Masks play an integral role in Tibetan culture and make great souvenirs too.
Best Time to Visit
The best time to visit Tibet depends on your interest level. If you wish to see the most beautiful views of the Himalaya, including Mt Everest, then months of January and February and April thru early June are great. For enjoying a trek up to Mt Kailash, months from May thru October are perfect. For exploring Tibetan nomadic culture, June thru early September are great months. Tibet can also be visited during winter months. However, you cannot access some places like Nam Tso Lake, Mt Kailash, etc. due to heavy snow.
How to Reach
Lhasa Gonggar Airport is the airport serving Lhasa, the capital city of the Tibet. There are three main passes between India and Tibet, including Lipulekh Pass, Shipki Pass and Nathu La pass. Those visiting here from Kathmandu can take the Friendship Highway.
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