Tibet
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Tibet is a region in southwestern China lying to the north of India and Nepal. It consists of very high Himalayan plains with an average elevation of 16,000' (4,900m) and is often referred to as the Roof of the World.  The name "Tibet" comes from the Arabic "Tubbat" which derives from the Persian from a word meaning "the heights".

Since 1951, Tibet has been incorporated as an Autonomous Region in China, however, prior to that, Tibet was a theocratic entity governed by the Dalai Lama. Its capital and major population center is Lhasa, one of the most featured and dreamt-about cities in the world. This is not only because of its remoteness; its impressive heritage of over a thousand years of cultural and spiritual history has helped to create the romantic and mysterious Tibetan religion. The region's population is approximately  2.6 million people (about the same as  Kansas, USA).

Locator Map for Tibet

Click on any picture to enlarge it.

An Overview of Our Trip to China and Tibet

This is an approximate overview of our trip. We flew from Chengdu to Lhasa, and then, several days later, to Chongqing where we boarded a Yangtze River Boat.

Lhasa is dominated by the 1000-room Potala Palace. Built in the 17th Century for Tibet's 5th Dalai Lama, the Palace has been home to all subsequent Dalai Lamas. From 1653 to 1889, the Potala Palace was the world's tallest occupied building. It is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet   Potala Palace at Night, Lhasa, Tibet

Steps at the Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet   Climbing the Steps at the Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet   Admission Ticket to the Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet

Getting to the top of the Potala Palace is no easy matter. There are hundreds of steps, none easy in the oxygen-starved altitude in excess of 12,000 feet. I am the center climber in the (R) picture with the cityscape in the background. Last, our admission ticket to the Potala Palace.

One of the many ornate portals in the Potala Palace.

   Ornate Portal in the Polata Palace

Golden Stupa of the 5th Dalai Lama, Potala Palace, Tibet   Golden Descending Stupa of the 13th Dalai Lama, Potala Palace, Tibet

There was an eye-popping amount of golden artifacts in the Potala Palace. (L) The stupa of the 5th Dalai Lama, Lobsang Gyatso (1617-1682), uniter of all Tibet, contains 110,000 taels of gold [~4100kilograms or about 9000 pounds], (R) the "descending" stupa of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso (1876-1933). It contains 18,870 taels of gold [~703 kg or ~1550 lbs].

These pictures are from the roof of the Jokhang Temple, the holiest in the Tibetan world. It is over 1300 years old. (L) we see some of the gold ornaments and (R) we see the Potala Palace in the background.
 
 picture Jerrold Patz Naimah "Jerrold Patz"  

Gold Roof Details at the Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, Tibet   Roof View of the Potala Palace from the Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, Tibet

Naimah Spinning Prayer Wheels, Lhasa, Tibet

Here is Naimah spinning some prayer wheels at the Jokhang Temple. Spinning the wheels is the equivalent of reciting all of the prayers.

We spotted these carvings on the road to Lhasa. They were newly re-painted for the new-year celebration.

Mountain Carvings, Lhasa, Tibet   Mountain Carvings, Lhasa, Tibet

Debating Monks, Lhasa, Tibet   Admission Ticket to the Sera Monastery, Lhasa, Tibet

Tibetan Buddhist monks in a formal debating session at the Sera Monastery, one of Tibet's three great institutions .

Our hotel room was fitted with an oxygen hookup, (which we did not have to use). Due to its elevation, Lhasa's air contains about 33% less oxygen than that at sea level.

Oxygen Equipment at our Lhasa Hotel

Hacking Yak Heads in Lhasa, Tibet   Yak Dung

Two unusual pictures to westerners but totally familiar to Tibetans: (L) restaurant workers hacking up yak heads and (R) yak dung patties piled high to dry. The latter is used for fuel for heat and cooking, the former as a food.

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Here is a montage of additional pictures.

Mouse over any picture for a description. Click on any picture to expand it into a larger view.

 

"Roof of the World"  "jerrold patz"     " jokhang temple"   "potala palace"      potala yak    Lhasa   lhasa beer label  nobulingka summer palace jokhang temple Ping