- Last Updated: 2018-11-22
Lhasa literally means "place of the gods". It is considered by the Tibetans as their holy land. Lhasa also sparks the interest of nature lovers and culture and history buffs. Nature and religion, the 2 pillars of this city will surely not disappoint you and it might just bring a new light to your life at best and could give you a good rest and relaxation moment.
Lhasa city is located in the west of the Peoples' Republic of China. With a population of about 225,000 and with 3 major nationalities (Tibetan, Han, Hui) speaking Tibetan, Mandarin and Jin( a Chinese dialect from Hohhot region), it is guaranteed that a genuine oriental diversity will be experienced, being able to immerse yourself in not just a single culture in Tibet but also it is an eye-opening experience to anyone. You will be surprised that how vast the world can be and how a person's lifestyle differs from yours.
The history of this majestic town dates back to ancient times, in the 7th century to be exact, leading by Songtsän Gampo, the third Tibetan king, who is the highest person in the Tibetan Empire at that time. His empire was making its rise up in the Brahmaputra River after they occupied the Zhangzhung kingdom from the west, and did a bold move of moving the capital from Chingwa Taktsé Castle in Chongye County to Rasa (now known as Lhasa). The astonishing leader nurtured the land and even built the first structures in the territory which is now known as the Potala Palace on top of Mount Marpori in CE 683. He later conquered the whole Tibetan region, and made ties with Nepal and the Imperial Tang Court. He then converted into Buddhism and built 2 temples, the Jokhang (or Rasa Trülnang Tsulagkhang) and Ramoche Temples to house 2 Buddhist statues the Akshobhya Vajra (depicting the Buddha at the age of eight) and the Jowo Sakyamuni (depicting Buddha at the age of twelve. The city had suffered greatly during the 9th century during the rule of Langdarma but was later on brought back to its former glory during the rise of the 5th Dalai Lama.
Aside from its amazing history, Lhasa city also has some breath-taking views that can equal its history when it comes to beauty, with five UNESCO world heritage sites, each one is worth a visit and a must if you really want to commit to your trip and experience a maybe once in a lifetime visit. On the top of this list is the Potala Palace named after the mount it is resting on; Mount Potala. It is the main residence of the Dalai Lama, the living God for Tibetans. Now it turned into a Museum after its restoration when the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959 in order to escape the Tibetan uprising. The site was a favorite of King Songtsen Gampo, the first leader of Lhasa, to meditate and relax himself. The site was renovated from 1989, 5 years and $ 6.857 million later, it became one of the UNESCO heritage sites. After a trip to the Potala Palace, heading towards the "iron mountain", Chokpori will surely empower your soul, it’s one of 4 holy mountains around Tibet, it was also the former site of the Tibet Medical School founded in 1413. Go down a sacred path! Lingkhor, the outer pilgrim road in Lhasa who happened to have a twin, which is the inner road: Barkhor. The Inner road, stretching 8 kilometers (5.0 miles) surrounds old Lhasa, the twin Potala and Chokpori hills, it was once covered with pilgrims both men and women, young and old, the rich and the beggars as they march on towards the city walking in lush willow covered paths that doubles as picnic grounds for Tibetans during the summer. The Jokhang, planted on the old town section in Lhasa, on Barkhor Square. It is the most hold of all grounds for Tibetans, and along with Potala Palace, it becomes the most known duo to visit when in Lhasa, both are UNESCO world heritage sites and as a result of the nurturing and growing of Lhasa from the olden times.
In conclusion, Lhasa city is an amazing place to relax and reconnect with the soul, but always keep in mind to respect local customs and traditions when traveling. Here are some to do notes for you to pay attention to. Firstly, it is better to ask for permission when taking pictures or filming any locals, especially the elders. Second, do not wear clothes that are inappropriate or clothes, which are too revealing, especially when visiting holy places. Lastly, kindly offer some small amount of money when you are visiting shrines, it is a small price to pay for a lifetime of experience. Lhasa is a paradise waiting for you and we hope that you would be a part of your trip. Travel safe and have a wonderful time!
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