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History

According to ancient mythology the Yarlung valley - not Lhasa - is the homeland of the Tibetan people. The first Tibetan king stepped off a heavenly ladder onto earth not in Lhasa, but here. The Yarlung valley was also the kingly seat of the first Tibetan kings as well as their burial site. This being the case, why is Tibet's capital at Lhasa rather than in the Yarlung valley?

As with many aspects of Tibet's culture, the answer lies in her religious life. For Tibet's original Buddhist temple, dating from the seventh century was Lhasa's Jokhang Temple, still found today pulsating at the heart of the Old Quarter. This institution, contemporaneous with the first Potala Palace, heralds Buddhism's first insemination and dissemination in a flourishing Tibetan empire stretching from western China to Nepal, Bhutan and northern India. Though its political fortunes would wax and wane, Lhasa - "the place of the Gods" - would forever thus be associated with the birth of Tibetan Buddhism. It is this birthright that would maintain Lhasa's prominence through subsequent centuries of bitter regional and religious conflict.

So it was that in the fifteenth century the ascendant Gelug monastic sect, leading a puritanical Buddhist revival in Tibet, established its three stronghold monasteries, Ganden , Drepung & Sera , in the vicinity of Lhasa. The scholarly achievements and political savvy of this sect eventually pushed Lhasa once more to center stage. Two centuries later, under the leadership of the new paramount leader of Tibet, the Great Fifth Dalai Lama, Lhasa was instituted the religious and political capital of Tibet. In 1645 the Potala Palace was re-constructed on Red Hill and the Jokhang Temple greatly expanded. Although some wooden carvings and door lintels of the Jokhang Temple date to the seventh century, the oldest of Lhasa's extant buildings, such as amidst the Potala Palace, the Jokhang and some of the monasteries and properties in the Old Quarter date to this second flowering in Lhasa's history.

The Potala Palace, uniting the political and religious roles of the Dalai Lama, neatly symbolizes the symbiotic relationship of Lhasa's religious and secular roles. This inter-dependent mapping is also seen in the routes of the city's kora or pilgrimage routes. The innermost pilgrimage route or Nangkhor is a circuit along the inside perimeter of the Jokhang Temple. The Barkhor , the best known, follows the circumference of the Jokhang Temple past other monasteries, temples and incense burners of the Old Quarter. And the last, the Lingkhor , circumambulates the city's former outer limits.

Although the Yarlung valley is indeed the mythological and historical root of the Tibetan nation, the primacy of Buddhism within the fabric of Tibetan culture has ensured that Lhasa supersedes it as the spiritual and political capital of Tibet.

Other Travelers' Questions

The questions raised by our past customers can help you get a more clear picture about tours to Tibet, read them or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side, our specialists will reply you within 24 hours.

user portrait Mr. gene raymond kinne from: 7 Days Lhasa to Kathmandu Tour via Everest Base Camp
how much walking is there per day.  can a older man over 70 years old in good shape do the walking
Answered by Nancy

Dear Gene Raymond Kinne,

Greetings from Nancy Chung at BTT. For the 7 Days Lhasa to Kathmandu Tour via Everest Base Camp, there will not be much walking daily as you will be driven to each place and dropped off there. And please no worry about your age, ha-ha… we had clients who were 83 years old taking this tour before without problem, and I think you will be ok too. best regards to you.

Email to Nancy about any question or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side

user portrait Mr. Meena Vyas from: 15 days Tibet Mount Kailash Trekking plus Mt. Everest Base Camp
Hi
I am interested in 15 day Kailash-Mansarovar tour probably in Late Oct 2018 so that I will have enough time to obtain visa etc. Which aitrport you expect people to arrive at. Do you help with booking airfares. Does tour include walk around Mt Kailash?
Thanks
Answered by Nancy

Dear Mr. Meena Vyas,

Greetings from Nancy Chung at BTT. We will have 15 days Tibet Mount Kailash Trekking plus Mt. Everest Base Camp on 15th Oct. and I am sure you will have enough time to apply your China visa. Normally people will arrive in Lhasa Gongga airport(LXA), then our guide will be there to meet people and transfer to downtown with 3 times daily. There will be 3days for trekking around Kailash included, so you will have enough trekking if you will take this tour. I will send you more details by email. Best wishes to you.

Email to Nancy about any question or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side

user portrait Ms. Barbora from: 15 days Tibet Mount Kailash Trekking plus Mt. Everest Base Camp
Aloha,
I would love to attend your 15 day Kailash tour. I am rather restricted by time, leaving Honolulu Sept 8 or 9 (plus 2 days) arriving Lhasa probably sept 10 or 11; and need to return between Sept 25-28; do you have any availability?
Thank you,
Barbora
Answered by Nancy

Dear Ms. Barbora,

Greetings from Nancy Chung at BTT, ha-ha…we have 15 days Tibet Mount Kailash Trekking plus Mt. Everest Base Camp on 12th Sep. and it is confirmed to depart on time. As this tour will be from 12th Sep to 26th Sep. which will be exactly your time. And I will send you the details by email. Best regards.

Email to Nancy about any question or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side

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7 Days Lhasa to Kathmandu Tour via Everest Base Camp