Standing 307 kilometers away from Lhasa, Gyantze Dzong, which is also known as Gyantse Old Castle, is the center of Gyantse Town and it’s the highest building in the town. Different from other Buddhism sites in Tibet, Gyantse Dzong is famous for patriots.
This story took place in a fortress on a cliff with 125 meters high and an altitude of 4,020 meters. British army invaded Gyangtse in 1904, during the 30th years' reign of Qing Emperor Guangxu period. But invaders were resisted by brave and patriotic Gyangtse soldiers and civilians. They defended their hometown with undeveloped guns, cannons and even bows and arrows in the fortress. In order to fight against the army, people built a fence with stones which is 5 – 8 meters high and 4 meters wide. Other defenses also were built with the high terrain.
The early history of Gyangtse Dzong can be traced back to 9th century. Pelkhor-tsen, the lord of Gyantse, built a small palace on the top of Kashan Hill. Afterwards, it was expanded and rebuilt for many times. Travelers can still see the ruin of ancient walls today, as well as some Newari-style and Gyants-style murals in the ancient palace.
What to See
As a scenic site which holds history and culture of Tibet Dzong Culture, Gyantse Dzong is worth a visit. With important meaning and legend story, you can’t miss the choice to explore the spectacular fortress. After a 30-minute walk to the top of the Dzong, the view of old town, Palcho Monastery, Kumba and Nyang Chu Valley will also impress you. It should be noted that walk at a place which is located at 4000 meters above sea level is much hard than walk in places with low altitude. Walk slowly, and be careful of the slippery steps.
Jump Off Cliff
This sign is not a suggestion. The tough guardian lasted for three months, and defenders ran out of supplies at last. Brave Tibetan warriors jumped from Zongshan Mountain north cliff and never surrendered to the British invaders. A monument was established at the cliff to remember them.
Where Tibetan soldiers resisted British invaders. The cannon they used to fought again British army was manufactured more than 100 years before the war.
Ambans’ Stone Tablet
It is stone tablet carved in Qing dynasty, during the reign of Emperor Qianlong. This stone recorded the diary of amban Song Yun and amban He Ning, who perambulated Gyantse region from the central government of Qing Dynasty.
Gyantse Dzong Government Chamber
You can see statues of ancient Gyantse Dzong government officers which reappear the scene of handling official affairs in this hall. There also exhibits some precious ancient relics.
It is an ancient Tibetan monastery built in the Ming Dynasty, which is also called Dharma Temple. Inside the hall, there are many relics as the evidence of British army’s invasion.
Recommended Tour Itineraries Including Gyantse Dzong
The first station is to visit Qinghai Lake, the largest inland and salt lake in China. Then take the train from Xining to Lhasa, which will take you around 22 hours. You can enjoy the most beautiful landscape of Qinghai-Tibet Railway along the way. Short stay in Lhasa, you will visit Mt. Everest and Namtso Lake to enjoy the breathtaking natural scenery.
The tour will take you to some great cities in Tibet and show you the dreamy natural views and the origin of Tibetan Buddhism. After a 4-day visiting in Lhasa, you will head to the east and discover the symbols of the Tibet culture then enjoy the two of top three holy lakes.
Lhasa - Tsetang - Nyingtri -Pomi - Nyingtri - Lhasa - Lake Namtso - Ali - Darchen - Mt.Kailash - Lake Manasarovar - Saga - EBC - Shigatse - Gyantse - Lhasa
This exciting tour covered most of the tourist attractions in Tibet. It’s a great chance to gain insights into the beautiful views, culture and Tibetan Buddhism of the holy land. As a long adventure on the high Plateau, this journey is for warriors who are strong-willed and fearless.