The highlights in Lhasa are the palace of the Dalai Lama (the Potala), the Jokhang (the most revered temple in Tibetan Buddhism), and the Summer palace of the Dalai Lama (the Norbulingka). Just outside is the Drepung Monastery, once the worlds largest monastery with some 10,000 monks. The Potala Palace is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
A fortress near the airport of Lhasa. It was destroyed by the Chinese when they invaded Tibet in 1952. (874k) A Buddha statue with the Bhumisparsha Mudra carved out of a wall. It is from the 11th century. It is on the road from the airport to Lhasa. (819k) These arrangements of sticks and prayer flags can be seen everywhere in Tibet. (1200k) A view of Barkhor Square with the Jokhang in the background. (717k) The Jokhang, the holiest of Tibetan Temples, viewed from Barkhor Square. (849k) One of the big incense burners in front of the Jokhang. (812k) Yak butter lights in a prayer room in front of the Jokhang. (637k) Barkhor Square with the incense burners in front of the Jokhang going full blast. (550k) View of the Barkhor Kora, the pilgrimage circuit around the Jokhang. This is the most important pilgrimage circuit in Tibet. It is full of stalls of various vendors. (1020k) The Potala, the palace of the Dalai Lama. (846k) View of the Potala from Potala Square. (970k) The Potala over modern downtown Lhasa. (1.8M) View of the Norbulingka, the summer palace of the Dalai Lama. (947k) A huge prayer wheel on top one of the buildings of the summer palace. (597k) A small temple in the park around the summer palace. (1305k) View over the Drepung monastery. (1220k) The main building in the Drepung monastery. Note the mirrors in the yard. (773k) A closeup of one of the mirrors. They are used to collect sunlight to heat water for tea. (688k) Roof decoration in the Drepung monastery. These little towers can be seen in many monasteries and temples. (652k) A view of a chörten (stupa), prayer drums and a pilgrim in the Drepung monastery. Notice the Yak butter lubrication dripping down from the prayer drums. (877k) Prayer drums in the Drepung monastery. (852k) Some very old prayer drums in the Drepung monastery. (860k) The interior of a temple in the Drepung monastery. It is usually fairly dark, since the Yak butter lamps don't give much light. (535k) Interior of the Drepung monastery. Note the colorful decorations. (856k) Painting of a Lama in the Drepung monastery. He is from the Yellow Hat sect of Buddhism. (976k) Colorful Buddha statue in a temple in the Drepung monastery. (1238k) Hundreds of Buddha statues in the Drepung monastery. Many temples have these arrays of Buddha statues. (1227k) Prayer books, neatly stacked in the Drepung monastery. They are pages, connected with fabric, and folded together. The stack of pages is then folded in cloth. This room held hundreds of these prayer books. They can be found in every temple. (759k) Yak butter candles in a temple in the Drepung monastery. (492k) A worshiper in the Drepung monastery. If one prayer wheel is good, two must be even better. (534k) A worshiper reading Buddhist scrolls like the one stacked in the temple. (790k) View of the mountains behind the Samye monastery. About 2/3rd up the mountain on the left side is the 8th century Chim-puk Hermitage. (562k) The main building of the Samye monastery. (773k) The blue stupa in the Samye monastery. (1070k) The green stupa in the Samye monastery. (995k) The white stupa in the Samye monastery. (1069k) The red stupa in the Samye monastery. (806k) Wall paintings in the main building of the Samye monastery. (913k) Details of the Buddha paintings in the Samye monastery. (770k) Tomb of the Kings in the Chongye Valley. One of the tomb from around 1000 CE. (854k) Yumbulagang Monastery, high on a cliff. (594k) Getting closer to the monastery. It was well worth the climb. (898k) Interior of the Yumbulagang Monastery. (803k) Buddha statue in the Yumbulagang Monastery. (1112k) Buddhist scrolls in the Yumbulagang Monastery. (853k) Prayer drums outside the Yumbulagang Monastery. (633k) Main temple in the Tandruk Monastery. (578k) Entrance to the Tandruk Monastery with two huge prayer drums, each over 3 m (10 ft) high. (860k) Huge prayer drum in front of the temple in the Tandruk Monastery. (652k) A well in the Tandruk Monastery. The monks were drawing water while we were visiting. (595k) Decorations on the windows on the outside of the Tandruk Monastery. (775k) A huge wood carved altar in the Tandruk Monastery. My guide said it is the largest wood-carved altar in the world. I somewhat doubt that, but it certainly is a masterpiece. (1307k) Detail of one of the Buddha statue with the Dhyana Mudra in the wood-carved alter in the Tandruk Monastery. (1080k) A mask in another one of the temples in the Tandruk Monastery. This was the only monastery where they had masks and masked statues. (628k) A veiled Buddha statue in the Tandruk Monastery. (945k) A fortress on a hill overlooking Gyantse. It was destroyed by the invading Chinese and is only now being restored. (563k) Gyantse Kumbum, the largest chörten (stupa) in Tibet. (847k) Monks in a temple in the Pelkor Chöde monastery in Gyantse. They are making decorations from Yak butter. (751k) A monk making Yak butter decorations. (711k) Buddha statues on a Lotus throne in a temple in the Pelkor Chöde monastery. (1016k) Buddha statue with the Karana Mudra holding a lotus flower in a temple in the Pelkor Chöde monastery. The colors, texture and design of this one was especially appealing to me. (1019k) View of the Pelkor Chöde monastery in Gyantse. (808k) Mound with prayer flags over the Pelkor Chöde monastery. (551k) Monks in the Sakya monastery. (862k) Roof and window decorations in the Sakya monastery. (939k) Tomb of one of the Dalai Lamas in the Sakya monastery. (1109k) View of the Tashilhunpo monastery in Shigatse. (1049k) In the Tashilhunpo monastery. (807k) Inside the Tashilhunpo monastery. (1020k) Swastika floor inlay in the Tashilhunpo monastery. (980k) View of one of the temples in the Tashilhunpo monastery. (722k) View of one of the temples in the Tashilhunpo monastery. (942k) View of a wall covered with wall paintings. (956k) Buddha wall paintings in the Tashilhunpo monastery. (1015k) Wall paintings of Protectors in the Tashilhunpo monastery. (1034k) Closeup of one of the protector paintings. (979k) Closeup of one of the Buddha paintings with the Buddha on a Lotus throne. (879k)
People in Tibet
A Tibetan woman in Lhasa. (583k) Local woman. This was the typical dress that women in the cities and villages wore. (576k) A couple of local men watching us try to fix the car, one of them with a prayer wheel. It seems as if they are using prayer wheels even in regular local life. (795k) A family in front of the Sakya monastery. (715k) In China you often see men relaxing like this. You have to be used to sitting down like that with your feet flat on the floor. (1207k) School kids. (562k) School girls in uniform playing in the street. (700k) Local street scene with pool tables outside. (1.7M) Bottles stored in a bar. Notice the Budweiser and Pabst Blue Ribbon. The bottles lying in the rack are beer bottles, not wine bottles. (1.9M) Local family in one of the high valleys. (909k) Local nomads in one of the high valleys. (873k) Life stock herd in one of the high valleys. (933k) Yak herd and local nomads in a high mountain valley. (769k) Farm work. Notice the colorful decorations on the animal. (961k) Local passengers waiting for their bus to continue. (630k) Local man waiting for the bus to continue. He was of a different ethnic background. (728k) A pilgrim in Lhasa with a prayer wheel. (607k) Another pilgrim. This seemed to be from a different ethnic group than most Tibetans. (514k) An older worshiper in Lhasa. Some of the prayer wheels are very elaborate. (759k) An old woman, praying with her prayer wheel on her walk around the Jokhang. (706k) A group of Tibetan monks with prayer wheels. (752k) A Buddhist monk with an elaborate prayer wheel. (758k) Beggars in Lhasa. (690k) Buddhist monks asking for alms. (669k) A Tibetan monk, with a plastic shopping bag. (556k)
Roads and Transportation
A bicycle rickshaw in Lhasa. (893k) Hauling sacks on a hand-drawn cart. A lot of transportation is done by hand. (1.9M) A street vendor in Lhasa selling vegetables and spices. (870k) Bicycle transport, fully loaded. (1461k) Local transport. (1492k) Local transportation means. (891k) Street scene in Lhasa. (1.5M) Pabst Blue Ribbon was one of the most common imported beers in Tibet, with lots of advertising. (807k) A street sign with directions in Tibetan, Chinese, and English. (596k) A utility vehicle, colorfully decorated. (875k) A local truck, colorfully decorated like many local vehicles. Notice the swastikas on the roof. (775k) Local transport. (1135k) Overland bus at a rest stop. (649k) A bus on its way to the mountain pass. The peak ahead was the highest peak we saw, over 7,000 m (23,000 ft). (756k) Our Toyota Landcruiser broken down in the middle of the road. (852k) This is the main road along lake Yamdrok-tso. This is representative for the road conditions in that area. (723k) Trucks on the main road. Traffic on that road was pretty atrocious. (744k) Switchback road leading up to the Kamba-la pass. (567k) Top of the Kamba-la mountain pass in the clouds. (632k) Prayer flag mound on top of Kamba-la. (674k) Snow on the road up to one of the mountain passes. (486k) Prayer flags on a mountain pass. (854k) Prayer flags on top of the highest mountain pass that I drove over at 5,200 m (17,060 ft). (669k) This truck rolled down the mountain while trying to get by oncoming traffic on a one-lane mountain pass. (1424k) Closeup of the truck that rolled down the mountain. (904k) Traffic jam on a one-lane mountain pass road. It took hours to get through the oncoming traffic. (855k) This was the worst part of the road. This hole caused the hour long traffic jam. (853k)
Local village with road construction in the foreground. There was lots of road construction going on. (2M) A local store. (1466k) A local house. (806k) Local house. (1.6M) A typical Tibetan house. They are one-storied, have few windows on the outside and are build around a courtyard. (853k) Another local house in a different style. (1015k) A house with prayer flags on the roof. (637k) House decorations, including a swastika, a symbol of good luck. (557k) Tibetans use everything that their cattle provide, including cow dung. They put the cow patties on the walls of their houses to dry. They are used as fuel for heating and cooking. (1182k)