Capital of tibet-lhasa

Author:sichuan Source:crystalinks time:2006-4-1


Lhasa, capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region, covers an area of 544 square kilometers and is "The Land of Gods" in Tibetan, sits on the north bank of River Lhasa, a tributary of the Yarlung Tsangbo River, at an altitude of 3,700 meters. It has a history of over 13 centuries. With more than 3,000 hours of sunshine annually, Lhasa is famed as " the City of Sunshine". It is the capital of Tibet Autonomous Region and the center of Tibet's political, economic, cultural and religious activities. There are many historic sites and famous relics in the city proper and its suburbs, among which the Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple, Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery and Gandan Monastery are world famous.

Before the mid-seventh century when Lhasa, later a central town of Tibetan region, was yet to come into being, the area called Wotang was a marshy land of wildness, frequented by antelopes. On one bright summer day, Songtsan Gampo, leader of the Tubo tribe that had risen to power in the Yarlung River Valley, was struck by the perilous position of an area flanked by two steep mountains, while bathing in the Lhasa River, and decided that this was to be the home of his kingdom. This ambitious Tibetan king moved the center of his rule to Wotang and ordered the construction of his residence on the hilltop of Potala.


Tibet Lhasa Shigatse Mt.Everest 10days tourIn 641 A.D., Songtsan Gampo who by this time had conquered the whole Tibetan region wedded Princess Wencheng of the Imperial Tang Court. When the princess arrived, she became convinced that Lake Wotang was a devil's heart to be overpowered by the construction of a grand temple after filling up the lake with earth. The princess further suggested that the earth be carried by white goats. This imposing grand temple became a symbol of the kingdom. The temple, later known as Jokhang, was initially named Lhasa, "the Sacred Land" in Tibetan. Over the centuries, Lhasa became a political and religious center of Tibet. Administrative orders were issued from the myriad of imposing palaces; the great temples and monasteries were home to omnipotent liturgical establishment and witnessed the rise of many religious leaders and endless religious ceremonies. The faithful composed the population of the town and Lhasa became a true "Mecca" of Tibet.



Tibet Lhasa Shigatse Mt.Everest 8days tourPotala Palace, symbol of Lhasa, is on the top of the Potala Hill. The palace, 117 meters tall and 40 meters wide, has towering buildings with golden roofs and a group of huge castle palaces, which is divided into white and red palaces for the color of their walls. The white palace used to be a place where the living Buddha, Dalai, Tibet¹s religious leader, handled government affairs and lived. The red palace is further divided into the Hall of the Buddha, Scripture Hall and Memorial Hall, each with a dozen or scores of rooms. The Hall of the Buddha houses gold-traced portraits of Sakyamuni and deceased Dalai Lamas. The Scripture Hall keeps in it a large number of early copies of Buddhist sutras; and the Memorial Hall contains stupas of the 13 late Dalai Lamas.

Potala Palace is also a world of murals, which are painted in hundreds of halls and corridors. It is a huge treasure house for Tibetan history, religion, culture and arts.

Norbu Lingka Park, or "Treasured Garden", is located in the west of Lhasa. With a layout similar to imperial gardens in the Chinese interior, the park was a summer resort for Dalai Lamas. In the garden, colorful, exotic flowers are shaded by towering rare trees, and golden buildings and the lake add radiance and beauty to each other.

Tsetang (Zetang), the birthplace of earliest Tibetans, sits on the south bank in the middle section of the Yarlung Tsangbo River with a moderate climate at an altitude of 3,600 meters. The nearby Yarlung River scenic area is a national scenic park with Samye Monastery, Yumbu Lhakang Palace, burial site for Tsampos and Traduk Monastery spotting the region.

About Jokhang Temple

Author:sichuan Source:china-panda time:2006-5-20

Jokhang Temple is the spiritual center of Tibet. Everyday, pilgrims from every corner of Tibet trek a long distance to the temple. Some of them progress by prostrating themselves throughout their journey until they reach the threshold of the temple. Pilgrims kindle butter lamps with yak butter, or honor the deities with white scarves (Kha-btags or Hada) while murmuring sacred mantras to show their pieties to the Buddha.

The temple lies at the center of the old Lhasa. Built in 647 by Songtsen Gampo and his two foreign wives, it has a history of more than 1,300 years. It was said that the Nepalese Princess Tritsun wanted to build a temple to house the image of Jowo Sakyamuni brought by Chinese Princess Wencheng. Princess Wencheng reckoned according to Chinese astrology that the temple should be built on the pool where the Jokhang is now located. She contended that the pool was a witch's heart, so the temple should be built on the pool to get rid of evils. The pool still exists under the temple.

The construction took 12 months. However, the original structure was small. Large scale reconstruction and renovation took place under the reign of the Fifth Dalai Lama.

The temple is the product of Han, Tibetan and Nepalese architectural techniques. Visitors will be treated to the sight of various exotic and sacred sculptures. It also houses many invaluable cultural relics. The most famous and valuable of these is the sculpture of Jowo Sakyamuni aged 12. It is one of the very few sculptures of its kind making it even more precious. The image is flanked on both sides by the altars of Songtsen Gampo and his two wives who introduced Buddhism into Tibet.

The murals in the main hall depicting the procession of Princess Wencheng arriving in Tibet and other murals depicting Jataka stories are also worth seeing.The golden decoration on the roof, the Jokhang Temple, Lhasa, Tibet Two thangkas portraying Yamantaka and Chakrasamvara from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) still remain in perfect condition. The gold bumpa (a vase) upon which the reincarnations of Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama are decided, musical instruments brought into Tibet by Wencheng and other important artifacts are also kept here.

Every year, the Great Prayer Festival is held in the Temple. Initiation rites into lamahood of the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lamas are also held in this monastery.