Tibet Destination

Attraction of Lhasa

Lhasa, a city of sunshine
Lhasa means Land of Gods in Tibetan. The northern bank of the Lhasa River, (a tributary of Yarlung Tsangpo River) is 3,650 meters above sea level. The City is famous for its long history. Lhasa is also famous as a city of sunshine (more than 3,000 hours a year). It is the capital city of the Tibet Autonomous Region and is the political, economic and cultural centre of the region. It boasts many historical sites and scenic spots both in its urban areas and on the outskirts. The Potala Palace and Jokhang, Sera and Ganden monasteries, and Drepung Temple are well known both at home and abroad.

Potala Palace
Standing on the Red Hill along Beijing C. Road, the Potala Palace is the highest building of its kind in the world. The palace was first built in the seventh century, only to be damaged in the eighth century. In the 17th century, it was rebuilt by the Fifth Dalai Lama over a period of three years. Its 13-story main building is 117 meters high and is composed of the Red and White Palaces, with the red one situated in the middle. The main building consists of the Hall of Stupas of Dalai Lamas (from various historical epochs) and halls of Buddhas. The White Palace was the residence of the Dalai Lama, and the place for attending to political affairs.

The Potala Palace houses a large number of rare cultural relics including the palm-leaf scriptures from India, the Kagyur and the imperial edicts, golden seals and titles of nobility sent from the Qing emperors to the Dalai Lamas.

Jokhang Monastery
Located in the centre of the ancient city of Lhasa, Jokhang Monastery was built in the seventh century by Songtsen Gompo, the Tang princess Wen Cheng and Nepalese princess Bhrikuti. The four-story main building displays a combination of Han, Tibetan, Indian and Nepalese architectural styles, as well as the mandalaic world view of Buddhism. With the Hall of Amitayus Sutra as its centre, the monastery symbolizes the concentric design of the universe. The Hall of Sakyamuni is the most sacred part of the monastery.

Barkhor Street
Barkhor Street is the shopping street around Jokhang Monastery. Its 500 meters is thus the way along which pilgrims walk around the monastery.

Ganden Monastery
Ganden is located 60 kilometres to the east of Lhasa. It is one of the three great monasteries of the Gelugpa sect. Ganden means ‘happiness’ or ‘contentedness’ in Tibetan. Ganden Monastery was built in the early 15th century under the supervision of Tsong Khapa, the founder of the Gelugpa sect. The main buildings include the Coqen Hall, the Chamber of Tsong Khapa and the College of Yangbajian.

Drepung Monastery
Drepung Monastery is situated on the slope of Wuze Hill, five kilometres northwest of Lhasa. It was built in 1416 and is the largest of the monasteries of the Gelugpa sect. It covers an area of 250,000 square meters. In its heyday, it had more than 10,000 monks. The monastery has trained a large number of talented exponents of Tibetan Buddhism. The Fifth Dalai Lama lived there before he moved to the Potala Palace. It houses many historical and cultural relics including the Buddhist classics. The exciting Shoton Festival (Sunning the Buddha) held in the monastery is one of the most magnificent displays religious fervour in Tibet.

Yangbachen is situated 87 Kilometres from Lhasa in Damsung County. It is rich in geothermal resources and is famous for its geothermal museum. The widely known Yangbachen Geothermal Power Station is located here. There are countless hotsprings, whose water spurts dozens of meters high. When the valves are opened one can enjoy a magnificent scene.

Yaowang Hill
On the hill opposite the Potala Palace originally stood the Yaowang (Medicinal King) Temple of the College of Tibetan Medicine. The senior monks in the temple were doctors who served the Dalai Lamas. In the 1960s, the college was merged with the Hospital of Tibetan Medicine to the west of Jokhang Monastery. The temple is now in ruins.

Dragon King Pond
To the rear of the Potala Palace there is a pond. This pond got created itself into the crater left while digging out earth for the construction of the Potala palace in the mid-17th century. The Sixth Dalai Lama, Tsangyang Gyatso, built a three-story octagon pavilion in the middle of the pond and took rests in it. The pavilion is named after the statue of the Dragon King in it.

The Lower Tantric College
This college was established in 1433 by Jizun, a disciple of Tsong Khapa, for the study of Tantrism. It is located in the northern part of Lhasa. The main hall has four stories. On the first floor is the Great Hall of Buddhist Sutras. On the other floors contains some 70 rooms.

Tsurpu Monastery
Built in 1187, Tsurpu Monastery is located 70 Kilometres away from Lhasa. It is the main monastery of the Black Cap group of the Karma sect. The system of granting succession to reincarnation was originated here and spread to other sects of the Tibetan Buddhism.

The Tibet Museum
This museum is located at the southeast corner of Nurbu Lingka Monastery in Lhasa. It is the first modern museum in Tibet. It covers an area of 53,959 square meters and has a floor space of 23,508 square meters including an exhibition area of 10,451 square meters. The museum displays a magnificent style of traditional Tibetan architecture combined with salient features of modern architectural art.

The museum houses a rich collection of cultural relics including handwritten Tibetan classics, colorful thangkas, music and ritual instruments, unique handicrafts and pottery. Visitors can gain a feel for Tibet’s history and profound culture and art.

Outside the exhibition hall are green lawns and shade trees. There is also performance area for modern cultural and outdoor activities, a garden setting for local customs and folk culture, and a manor house. The museum itself has a cultural gallery, handicraft shop and other service facilities. The museum thus offers people many opportunities to relax while visiting its exhibitions.

The Lhasa River
A tributary of the Yarlung Tsangpo, the Lhasa River draws many people to the banks, particularly in the seventh month of the Tibetan Calendar. During the so-called Bathing Festival participants enjoy their bathing and washing clothes from Garmagun in the east to Sahu in the south and at Rainbow Spring at the foot of Sera Monastery. A legend says that during this period the Lhasa River changes into holy water. One can join the local people in bathing in this holy water. From the southern bank of the river one can see a clear reflection of the Potala Palace in the river. Photographers and other wait with great anticipation for this wonderful scene to appear.