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Tibet spans the world’s largest and, with average heights of over 4000 mtrs, also is the world’s highest plateau, thus Tibet if often referred to as the “Roof of the World”. Some parts of the region are so remote, that they remain uninhabited even till this day. The Tibetan plateau is bounded by two mighty ranges comprising of the world’s highest peak Mount Everest, situated from the south to the west and Thanggula ranges in the north alpine terrain.


In the mid 7th century, Songstan Gampo established the Unified Tibetan Empire and married two princesses, one from China and one from Nepal. Tibet and Tang China fought repeatedly and there was continuous turmoil until the mid 17th century when the Dalai Lama invited the tribe from Mongols to intervene. The Mongols provided military and government leadership, however in the 18th century Tibet was again embroiled in turmoil and the once again the Dalai Lama invited the Mongols, but this time, the emperor of Qing China was very unhappy with this arrangement, and an invasion was ordered by him. Thereafter the Mongols were expelled, however Tibetans and Chinese tried to maintain a healthy relationship until the end of the Qing dynasty. The British invaded Tibet in 1904, and after the overthrow of the Qing dynasty in 1911, Tibet declared independence from China under the authority of the 13th Dalai Lama and remained an isolated independent nation for over 30 years till 1949 when Communists turned their attention towards Tibet as they wanted to gain control over the Qing dynasty territories. IN 1950 the People’s Liberation Party invaded and in 1951 Tibet was considered to be part of China in accordance with the UN agreement. However, communist reforms and the high handed approach of the People’s Liberation Party led to tension and turmoil, consequently the Dalai Lama and several of his followers went into exile in India, setting up a Government in Exile in Dharmashala, India. Tibet being an autonomous region now. the situation in Tibet has calmed in recent years and this has resulted in a gradual increase in the number of travelers who visit Tibet.

India’s architectural grandeur

Tibet Is a huge land and roughly divided into five tourist areas comprising of Lhasa, Eastern Tibet, Western Tibet, Northern Tibet and the Yalong Valley. Entering Tibet makes one feel as though you have entered an entirely different world of Tibetan culture that remains alien to the world outside. A traveler needs to apply several days in advance to obtain permits and visas. Northern Tibet, known as Amdo is traditionally the nomadic part of Tibet with huge grasslands, and rich culturally with many interesting monasteries - Kumbum near Xining, Rebkong or Labrang near Lanzhou. Eastern Tibet known as Kham comprises of mountains with deep valleys where the rivers Brahmaputra , Salween, Mekong and many others run through. The Tibetan culture survives deeply in the Kham area, than the other modern cities like Lhasa. Lhasa which means “Land of the Gods” and is over 1300 years old is situated in a valley next to the Lhasa River. In the eastern part of the city near the Jokhang Temple and Barkhor neighbourhood, the Tibetan culture is very strong and you will see many Traditionally dressed Tibetans engaged in a Kora (a clockwise circumambulation or walk around the temple). The western part of Lhasa is more ethnically Han Chinese in character, quite similar to modern Chinese city. Shigatse, the second largest city, located 3800 mtrs above sea level is a popular tourist destination renowned for the Tashilhunpo Monastery, the traditional seat of the Panchen Lamas, with the world’s largest gilded bronze statue of Buddha, and the Free Market and Gift market in Old Town and the ruins of the Shigatse Fortress. Gyantse, located beside the Nyang Chu River, was formerly a major centre for trade with India till the invasion of the British in 1904. The town is small and most the sites can be visited on foot. The Yellow Hat Monastery – Pelkor Choede, the Gyantse Dzong – the fort with its museum are some of the major attractions. While in Gyantse, you could visit some residential zones and watch the people still living in their traditional style.

Tibetan cuisine :

Tibetan cuisine includes the culinary traditions and practices of Tibet and its people many of whom reside in India and Nepal. The cuisine reflects the Tibetan landscape of the mountains and plateaus influenced from the neighbours (including India and Nepal) and Tibet is known for its use of noodles, goat, yak, mutton dumplings, cheese, butter, yoghurt and many soups. Due to the difficulty of growing vegetables in the Tibetan region due to the high altitudes and the extreme climate, Vegetarian meals is scarcely available. The most important crop that grown in Tibet is Barley, and flour milled from roasted barley called “tsampa” is the staple food of the Tibetans as well as “Shaphaley” (meat and cabbage in Bread) is normally eaten for breakfast or lunch. Mustard seeds are cultivated in Tibet, and hence features heavily in its cuisine. Tibetan cuisine is generally served with bamboo chopsticks.


Tibet has a rich variety of local Tibetan arts and crafts available in many shops across the major tourist destinations. Just walk around the famous Barkhor street in Lhasa for mainly traditional items or any department store or supermarkets for other needs in Lhasa or any other cities, you could find Tibetan carpets, carvings, Buddhist items and local Tibetan cloth. Tibetan crafts are normally crafted from gold, silver, copper, wood, bamboo as well as bones, and are aesthetically very pleasing. Tibetan silver ornaments make use of precious stones like agate, rubies and sapphires and are usually carved with Sanskrit. You could also buy Thangkas, a Tibetan scroll painting that has strong ties to Buddhism and features distinctive ethnic flavor, which have been popular in Tibet since many centuries. Some Thangkas are portraits of Buddha, some are colourful representations of Tibetan customs, and some are portraits of history of Tibet. Tibetan carpets, which are woven with bright and harmonious colours are durable and very beautifully crafted. The handwoven Tibetan woolen Pulu cloth comes in many colours and is used for making clothes, shoes and caps. Tibetan knives, an integral part of Tibetan’s daily lives is an important adornment, but one should refrain from buying knives in Tibet.

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