September 1, 2009

Tashilunpo Monastery was founded in 1447 and is the largest Yellow Hat sect monastery in Tibet. Shigaste is Tibet抯 2nd most important city and Tashilunpo was the seat of the Panchen Lamas. Tashilunpo contains chortens, temples and the Panchen Lama’s palace. At its peak, Tashilunpo had more than 4,000 monks in its 4 monasteries. Upon the death of a Panchen Lama, it was the 4 abbots of these monasteries that would lead the search for his infant reincarnation.
The monastery is a striking red, white and black Tibetan structure with a golden roof. Within the monastery there is a 5 story temple, which contains a 26 meters (86ft) sitting statue of the Maitreya Buddha. The statue was cast from 6,700 ounces of gold and over 115,000 kg of copper, making it the biggest copper Buddhist statue in the world.
The massive Thangka wall at Tashilunpo can be clearly seen from most points in Shigaste. The wall is used for displaying enormous Thangkas – religious painted banners – for only a few festival days each year.

 

September 1, 2009

The Palgor Chorten (Palkhor Monastery ) is a kind of typical Tibetan Buddhism monastery architecture combined stupa and temple, with temples in the stupa, stupas in the temple. The stupas and temples stay harmoniously and bring out the best in each other. Its architecture fully represents a typical style of monasteries from thirteenth century to fifteenth century in Later Tibetan area, which is also the unique monasteries with both the temple and stupa being kept well today. So it is reputed as a monument of architecture period. The Palkhor Monastery(The Palgor Chorten ) (meaning lucky and happy monastery) has a Chinese name Baiju Monastery. It has two features: there are three classes of Buddhism (Sakys, Gedang and Gelugpa) existing harmoniously this monastery. Those three classes of Buddhism had experienced repulsion and rivalry for a long time, peaceful with each other. So both the oblation and the architecture style in the monastery embrace and adopt good points from all quarters. Palkhor also features its “Bodhi stupa”, or “Kumbum” in Tibetan. Deemed as the symbol of the monastery, the spectacular “stupa” consists of hundreds of chapels in layers, housing about a hundred thousand images of various icons. These icons include Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Vajras, Dharma Kings, Arhats, Disciples, great adepts of different orders in Tibetan Buddhist history, and outstanding figures in Tibetan history such as Songtsen Gampo and Trisong Detsen.

 

September 1, 2009

 

Yamdrok Lake is one of the three largest sacred lakes in Tibet. It is over 72 km (45 miles) long. The lake is surrounded by many snow-capped mountains and is fed by numerous small streams. The lake does have an outlet stream at its far western end. Around 90km to the west of the lake lies the Tibetan town of Gyantse and Lhasa is a hundred km to the northwest. According to local mythology, Yamdrok Lake is the transformation of a goddess.
Yamdrok Lake, has a power station that was completed and dedicated in 1996 near the small village of Pai-Ti at the lake’s western end. This power station is the largest in Tibet.
The lake with an area of 621 square kilometers and the unknown depth is fan-shaped, spreading to the South but narrowing up to the North. The mountainous lake has a dozen of islands, the largest of which is about 3,000 square kilometer. The lake freezes up in winter. Like mountains, lakes are considered sacrosanct by the Tibetan people, the principle being that they are the dwelling places of protective deities and therefore invested with special spiritual powers.
There are shoals of fish living in Yamdrok Yumtso lake. From April to October, fish caught from this lake are sold at markets in Lhasa. Besides, the lake’s islands serve as rich pasture land to local herdmen.

September 1, 2009

 

 

Shigatse connects with three countries of Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim in the south, Ngari in the west, Nagqu in the north and Lhasa and Shannan in the east. It occupies an area of 176,000 square kilometers, the latitude being between 82’E and 92’20”E and longitude between 27’23”N and 31’49”N. It is 800 kilometers from east to west and 220 kilometers from north to south, with a border of 1,354 kilometers.Historically, Shigatse was called Tsang, which was an important administrative district of Tibet. During the reign of the Tubo Kingdom, the ruling class divided its central part into two divisions of Wei and Tsang,according to geographic conditions.Tsang,with Shigatse as its center, was again divided into Yeru (present-day Nyang Qu River area) and Rulha(present-day upper reaches of the Yarlung Zangbo River). The area extends to Gamba La Mountains in the east and Kangdese Mountains in the west. Because Tsang is located mostly along the upper Yarlung Zangbo River, it was also called Houtsang, a name still used today. In the 13th century, the Yuan Dynasty divided Tibet into thirteen 10,000 household units, and Shigatse had six namely, Qoimai, Xalhu, Jigmei, Lhadoiqain, Lhadoilho and Xangba. During the reign of the Pagmo Zhuba Kingdom, this organizational system in Tibet was abolished and replaced with 13 zongs (counties).Shigatse had also set up counties like Rinbung, Shigatse, Bainang and Gyangze. Early the last century, the Tibetan government promoted Shigatse to the level of gyizong (district), which had under its jurisdiction 16 counties and 30 or so independent shikas(manor). After the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet in 1951, two branch Working Committees were established in Shigatse and Gyangze, respectively. In 1956, an administrative office at the district level was established. In 1959,the Prefectural Commissioner’s Office was set up in Shigatse and Gyangze, respectively. In 1964, the two offices merged into one and was named Shigatse Prefectural Commissioner’s Office, and renamed in 1978 as Shigatse Administrative Office.Under the jurisdiction of Shigatse Administrative Office are the city of Shigatse at the county level, 17 counties of Gyangze, Bainang, Kangma, Yadong, Rinbung, Namling, Xitongmoin, Larze, Sagya, Kamba, Dinggye, Tingri, Nyalam, Gyilung, Ngamring, Saga, Zongba, and Zham port, the largest State trade port in Tibet. In the district are 218 townships (including 12 towns), 1,752 villagers committees and 28 urban residents committees.Included in a population of 609,228 in 1997 were 554,704, or 91.1 percent farmers and herdsmen. Tibetans formed 97 percent of the population, and the other 3 percent was composed of Han Chinese and other 15 ethnic groups, such as Hui, Monggol, Tu, Manchu, Miao and Zhuang. There were 1,875 Xia’erba people. The population in Shigatse forms one-fourth of the population in the Tibet Autonomous Region, and the density of population is 3.3 people per square kilometer. Most of the people live in the Yarlung Zangbo River area, and the western pastoral area is sparsely inhabited.Shigatse is located mostly between the middle of the Himalayas and the middle of the Kangdese-Nyainqentanglha ranges. The southern and northern terrains are high, while the South Tibet Plateau and the Yarlung Zangbo River constitute the low-lying middle area. Formed basically of high mountains, wide valleys, lakes and basins, this land has a varied topography with an average elevation of more than 4,000 meters.The Himalayas, which stretch across southern Shigatse, is the youngest and highest mountain range in the world, with an average elevation of more than 6,000 meters. In that area, five peaks are more than 8,000 meters high namely, Mount Qomolangma (8,848.13 meters), Mount Lhoze(8,516 meters),Mount Kab(8,463 meters), Mount Qowowuyag (8,201 meters) and Mount Xixabangma (8,012 meters). Mount Qomolangma, located on the border between Shigatse and Nepel, is the world’s highest peak, the roof of the world. In addition are 14 peaks that stand more than 7,000 meters above sea level. Besides those mentioned above are high mountains such as Karru La, Gyaco La, Ma La, Zom La, Lhagyi and Mari La. All these mountains are spectacular natural views ideal for sightseeing, exploring and conducting scientific investigations.The upper southern Tibetan basin along the Yarlung Zangbo and Nyang Qu rivers is the largest grain production area in Shigatse. It consists of two parts of the densely populated Larze-Rinbung valley and Gyangze-Shigatse plain. Other plains include the Penqoi River valley on the southern Tibet Plateau at the northern foot of the Himalayas and some sparsely scattered small river valleys. These plains sprawl on gentle slopes, with thick soil, temperate climate and plentiful water. With natural conditions suitable for growing crops, they form the major farming areas in Shigatse.