Tibet is nick-named the “Roof of the World” for its geographical significance. The average elevation is around 4,900 meters. Today, it is known as the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. The Tibetan plateau is signified by its vast arid landscape and deserts. Due to harsh weather and altitude, the vegetation remains scare throughout the region.
It has managed to intrigue foreigners for ages. Ever since, it opened for the tourists, the place has seen many social and economical advancements.
Lhasa is the capital of Tibet. A forbidden city during primeval time, Lhasa was completely inaccessible by the foreigners. News journalists and photographers could never make it inside the city despite crossing the border and entering Tibet.
Because of its discreet nature, the city rarely made any contact with the modern world for thousand of years. One couldn’t fly or ride to Lhasa before but walk. The first theater in the country was build at the time of 14th Dalai Lama.
By the 17th century, Lhasa became a home of not only native Tibetans but migrants and traders from Greater Indian subcontinent and mainland China, forming a community of Muslims, Hindus along with Han Chinese. It was only after the Chinese occupation, that Lhasa was opened for tourists.
Facts about Tibet
- Following the coup by Chinese government in the 1950s, the city of Lhasa was occupied by the Red Army and kept under strict supervision for decades. It was finally opened for international tourists in the mid 1980s.
- Tibet remains closed during February and March. May, June, July, August, September and October remains the best time to visit.
- Care to carry extra layers of clothing during winter.
- You must obtain Tibet Permit before entering the region. A Chinese VISA won’t be enough to visit Tibet.
- The country is wide and huge. You won’t be able to map each region and corners during your visit, thefore, keep only important places in your check-list.
- Due to its sheer altitude, the oxygen level throughout the area remains around 40%. Trouble in breathing and heart-rate fluctuation is common.
- Mount Kailash and Mansarovar are parts of the Tibet. These two constitute as the major pilgimage site for both the Hindus and Buddhists throughout South Asia. Thousands of pilgrims make a journey to Kailash on foot every year.
Guidelines for Tourists
- Do not wear a hat inside the Jokhang, Potala or other sacred sites. Please no short pants or tank tops. When visiting shrines it is customary to leave a small money offering, especially where you do not have to buy a ticket!
- Circumambulate stupas and other sacred objects in a clock-wise direction.
- Do not climb onto statues, mani stones or other sacred objects.
- Avoid eating garlic before visiting a temple. Tibetans find the garlic breath in a temple disrespectful.
- Photography is NOT allowed inside the Potala Palace. You can take photos in the Jokhang temple. Some monasteries will allow photography upon payment of a small donation or fee. Monks begging will often allow a photograph after you make a small contribution. When in doubt, ask before snapping your camera.
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