Trekkers and anyone who likes to get well off the beaten track will enjoy this excursion to Tibet's largest nunnery, Shugsheb Nunnery. Set in a large natural bowl, about 65km south of Lhasa and home to over 280 nuns, Shugsheb Nunnery is a favourite of bird-watchers.

From the far end of the drivable road it's a steep 45-minute hike up to the village-like Shugsheb Nunnery. The central hall contains a three-dimensional mandala of Drolma and statues of Guru Rinpoche, Dorje Semba, whire Tara and several old lamas. Both Nyingma and Dzogchen schools are represented here. stairs to the right lead upstairs to a chapel with a statue of Machik Labdronma (holding a double drum), the famous 11th-century adept who opened up the valley. There is also a B&W photo of one of her reincarnations.

You can hike up the hill, following the slectric poles, for abt 45mins to the Gangri Tokar shrine, where Longchenpa, an important 14th-century Dzogchen lama, once meditated. The chapel has a cave shrine and a sacred tree stump in front of a rock image of the Dzogchen deity Rahulla.

From here fit and acclimatized hikers can climb for a couple of hours up past medication caves (marked by prayer flags) to the ridgeline behind. The views of the Kyi-chu Valley are fantastic from here and if the weather is clear you'll get views of the snowcapped 7191m Nojin Kangtsang and other Himalayan peaks to the south. From the ridgeline you can continue northwest across a boulder field for 15mins to a small hill topped by a chorten that offers epic views northwards as far as Lhasa. alternatively you can continue east along the ridge to summit the bowl's main peak.

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