Now an autonomous region of China, Tibet is an intriguing and mysterious land of snow high up in the Himalayas that borders Nepal, Bhutan and India. For centuries, it was a dream destination for scientists, adventurers and missionaries and once almost inaccessible, it was a blossoming yet hidden kingdom.
Lhasa, the ‘holy city’ and ‘place of the gods’ is the capital of Tibet and also its largest city. The Jokhang Temple was originally built as a shrine for a special Buddha statue. In the 7th century, the statue was a valuable wedding gift from the Chinese Emperor to Princess Wen Cheng who had it transported to Lhasa. Around 7 kilometres west of Lhasa’s city centre is the old summer residence of various former Dalai Lamas.
The Norbulingka, Garden Of Gems, has been deserted since the end of the 1950s because in 1959, the last Dalai Lama was forced into exile by the Chinese. A pilgrim trail leads up to Drepung Gonba that was built in 1416 by a scholar of Je Tsongkhapa who was the founder of the Gelug Order.
The Gelug Academy is the earliest of the four main doctrines of Tibetan Buddhism and the followers of this order are also known as Yellow Hat sect.
Lhasa is a city of gods on the roof of the world and is undoubtedly one of the last mysterious locations on Earth.