[ Tibetan Buddhism ]
Also known as the Lamaism, the Tibetan Buddhism was introduced to Tibet from the mainland and India in the seventh century. The Tibetan Buddhism consists of four major sects, the Ge-lug-pa (Yellow) Sect, the Nying-ma-pa (Red) Sect, the Saturday-kya-pa (Variegated) Sect, and the Ka-gyu-pa (White) Sect.
[ Tourist Attractions ]
Lhasa meaning "Holy-Land" in Tibetan language, Lhasa is located along the northern bank of the Lhasa River, a tributary of the Yarlung Zangbo River. Sitting 3,700 meters above sea level, Lhasa is a cultural city with a history of more than 1,300 years. It is also known as the solar city because it has longer time of sunshine. It is the capital as well as the center for politics, economy, and culture of the Tibet Autonomous Region, with many world-famous places of interest.
Potala Palace Located in downtown Lhasa, the imposing Potala Palace was set up in the seventh century during the reign of King Songtsen Gampo and covers an area of 41 hectares. The 13-story main building, 115,703 meters in height, consists of the White and the Red palaces with 1,000 rooms, such as bedrooms, scripture rooms, stupas, and rooms for monks. It is the headquarters of the Dalai Lamas, and is a treasure house of traditional Tibetan culture. It is a relic under the state protection, and has been put on the List of the World Cultural Heritage.
Jokhang Monastery (Dazhao Si)Located in the old district of Lhasa, the monastery is a building complex and was built in the mid-seventh century. Facing west, it is a four-story building in the Tang style, but also incorporates features of Nepalese and Indian architecture. Its golden canopy glows under the sun. It enshrines the statue of Sakyamuni, which was said to be brought to Tibet by Princess Wencheng. The ceremony for the reincarnation of the Dalai Lamas and the Panchen Erdeni is held in front of the statue of Sakyamuni. There are murals depicting legendary figures and telling Buddhist stories in the corridors and the halls. The monastery also enshrines the statues of King Songtsen Gampo, Princess Wencheng, and Princess Bhrikuti Devi.
Sera Monastery The Sera Monastery lies at the foot of a mountain on the northern outskirts of Lhasa. It was built in 1419 by one of the eight disciples of Tsongkhapa, founder of the Ge-lug-pa Sect. Covering an area of 114,964 square meters, the structure is imposing, picturesque in disorder, and splendid in green and gold. It is a typical of Tibetan architecture.
Tashilhunpo Monastery Located in the city of Xigaze, Tashilhunpo is the largest monastery in Ulterior Tibet, and one of the four main monasteries of the Ge-lug-pa Sect. It covers nearly 300,000 square meters in area and was built in 1447 by the Tsongkhapa's disciple Gedun Truppa, who later became the first Dalai. The main building includes the Tsochen Hall, and halls housing the stupas containing the remains of the fourth to the ninth Panchen Lamas, and the 10th. The monastery enshrines a gilded-bronze Buddha of Qiangba, the largest of its kind in the world. It is a relic under the state protection.
Lake Yamzhog Yum Flowing through Nanggarze County on the one side and Konggar County on the other in Shannan, Yamzhog Yum is one of the three holy lakes in Tibet. It has an area of 638 square kilometers and is 4,000 meters above sea level. The lake area is a scenic spot with snow-capped mountains, islands, pasture land, hot springs, wild animals and plants, and monasteries. It is where the Yamzhog Yum Pumping Station, the highest of its kind in the world, is located. The lake teems with a scaleless fish, known as the naked carp, hence enjoying the reputation of the Storage of Fish in Tibet. It is also a home for water birds.
The Great Gorge Located on a bend in the lower reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River, it winds with Mt. Namjagbarwa and stretches 196.3 kilometers, at average depth of 5,000 meters. It is the longest and deepest gorge in the world. The Grand Canyon of Corolado in the United States thus becomes subordinate in importance. The Great Gorge was discovered by scientists of several generations, and is another wonder on the Roof of the World. This discovery has aroused world attention.
Mount Qomolangma Towering 8,848.13 meters in the middle section of the Himalayas in Tingri County, Xigaze, Mt.Qomolangma teems with snow-capped peaks and glaciers. It boasts four peaks above 8,000 meters high, and 38 peaks above 7,000 meters high, thus reputed as the Third Pole on the Earth. Glaciers of modern era are found at the foot of the mountain, and deep caves and snaking ice rivers present a magnificent view around the Qomolangma.
[ Major Festiuals ]
Tibetan New Year The current Tibetan calendar was begun in 1027. The Tibetan New Year is one of the most important festivals, a festival for family reunion and to convey greetings and best wishes for the coming new year.
The Monlam Festival The Monlam Festival, lasting from the first to the 15th day of the first month of the lunar year, is the largest religious gathering in Tibet. The festival was introduced by Tsongkhapa, founder of the Yellow Sect, in 1409. During the festival lamas from the three largest monasteries gather in the Jokhang, reciting scriptures and attending an examination for the gexi degree.
The Birth of the Buddha The 15th day of the fourth month on the Tibetan calendar is said to be the birthday of Sakyamuni, and the day when he died and became nirvanic. During this period, hundreds of thousands of people turn their prayer-wheels on the street in Lhasa, and then row boats in the Dragon King Pool, sing and dance in the afternoon.
Horse Racing Festival, Gyangze Horse racing and arrow shooting are very popular in Tibet. Horse racing appeared in the form of sports in 1408. Apart from horse racing, arrow shooting, and shooting arrows on horseback during the festival, there are also cultural and commercial activities.
Xuedun Festival The Xuedun (Fermented Milk) Festival is one of the major festivals in Tibet. In the past, Buddhists cultivated themselves in mountains. After the cultivation, their family would come, bringing with them fermented milk, On their way home, they drank the milk, sang and danced. Beginning in the 17th century, the Xuedun Festival was renamed as the Tibetan Opera Festival. Every year, famous Tibetan opera troupes perform in Norpulingkha near Lhasa.
Ghost-Exorcising Festival To drive away evil spirits and to welcome the New Year, the Ghost-Exorcising Festival is held on the 29th day of the 12th month in the Potala Palace, Lhasa. Such activities as sorcerer's dances in a trance are also held in monasteries in Tibet.