Tibet General Introduction

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1>General Introduction
Locked in by towering mountains, Tibet on the southwestern border lies in the main part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, the highest in the world, at an average altitude of 4,000 meters. Set up as an autonomous region in 1965, it has an area of more than 1.2 million square kilometers and a population of 1.85 million, of which 15 per cent live in the cities and 85 per cent in the rural areas and 1.65 million are Tibetans, the predominant nationality there, and the rest Huis, Moinbas, Lhobas and Hans.

The Himalayas in the south of Tibet have an average of 6,000 meters, the highest range on the earth. Their main peak, 8,848-metre Mount Qomolangma on the Sino-Nepalese border, is the summit of the globe. In the north are the Kunlun range and its branch, the Tanggula Mountains; in the middle the Gangdise range; and in the east the Hengduan range with numerous canyons and imposing mountains. North of the Gangdise range and south of the Kunlun range is the vast Northern Tibet Plateau. The Southern Tibet Valleys between the Gangdise and the Himalayas, crossed by the Yarlungzangbo River from west to east, are the principal farming and pastoral area of Tibet.
Tibet's major rivers include the Yarlungzangbo, Nujiang, Lancang and Jinsha. The Tibet Plateau, one of the regions in China with the greatest number of lakes, has numerous salt lakes, the largest being Nam Co. In all, lakes cover a total area of some 30,000 square kilometers on the plateau. Tibet ranks second in the country in hydroelectric power potentials.

Tibet has a highland climate, with lower temperature and less precipitation than most parts of China. It has thin air, long hours of sunshine and intense solar radiation. There is great difference in climate between the north - where the Northern Tibet Plateau has a mean annual temperature of -2ºC. and is covered with snow half of the year - and the south where the Southern Tibet Valleys are much more temperate and humid. Lhasa, for example, has a mean annual temperature of approximately 8ºC.

The first phase of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway was completed in the early 1980s and is now carrying both cargo and passengers. Running 846.9 kilometers from Xining, the capital city of Qinghai, in the east to Golmud in western Qinghai, the line is built at more than 3,000 meters above sea level on average, rising to 3,700 meters at its highs. After the completion of the Qingzang (Qinghai-Tibet) rail line, the trip to Tibet has been much easier.
Today, a 22,000-kilometer highway network radiating from Lhasa consisting of 15 main highways and 315 subsidiary roads has been formed. Most important are the Qinghai-Tibet Highway runs 2,122 kilometers from Xining to Lhasa. The Sichuan-Tibet Highway covers 2,413 kilometers from Chengdu to Lhasa. The Xinjiang-Tibet Highway, from Yecheng to Gartok, runs for 1,179 kilometers. The Yunnan-Tibet Highway, from Xiaguan to Markam, is 315 kilometers long, while the Chinese section of the Sino-Nepalese Highway stretches 736 kilometers from Lhasa to Zhamu entry/exit port.
The Lhasa Airport has scheduled fights to Beijing, Chengdu, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chongqing, and Kathmandu, capital of Nepal. The distance by air from Lhasa to Chengdu is more than 1,100 kilometres. Each year more than 100,000 passengers and 1,600 tons of goods fly this route. The Gonggar Airport outside Lhasa now allows access to large passenger aircraft like Boeing 767. The 250-million-yuan Banda Airport, the world's highest, was completed in September 1994.

Generally the period from March to October is the best time to visit Tibet. Since Lhasa is located at such a high altitude it is wise to be prepared before starting your journey. Generally speaking, due to the large temperature differences during any given day in Tibet, warm clothes should be taken to keep away the cold. However, because it also receives a great deal of sunshine, sunglasses, suntan oil, and a sun hat are indispensable items if you're traveling anywhere in Tibet.
1. Taking the plane is a comfortable and timesaving option, but offers little time for you to acclimatise to the altitude; this may cause sickness.
2. Taking the bus along one of five highways that have been opened-up for tourists' use. This will take longer but will enable you to see the amazing scenery en route. Furthermore, taking extra time allows for a more gradual acclimatization to the altitude.
3. Taking the train, is a fabulous new option, giving the opportunity to see hitherto unseen mountain scenery. With the operation of Tibet Railway from July 1st, 2006, more and more tourist have swarmed into Tibet via the great Tibet train.'
One word of warning: although there is a gradually increasing tourism industry in Lhasa, it is a city with many difficulties yet to be overcome due to its unique location and geography. Please bear in mind that traveling in Lhasa, as well as in Tibet on the whole, is more challenging than in any other part of China.
Despite this more and more people from every corner of the world are being attracted towards this vibrant city with its mysterious culture. Its unique scenery, long history, exotic culture, mystical religion and spectacular monuments will ensure your stay is unforgettable.

5>View Spots
As the "Roof of the World," Tibet has long been a favored destination for tourists from around the world. It offers fabulous monastery sights, breathtaking high-altitude treks, stunning views of the world's highest mountains and one of the world's most grand peoples and cultures.
Religion here has a strong Tibetan cultural flavor, while keeping the original basic doctrines of Buddhism.
Tibetan Buddhism has a great influence in the daily life of the Tibetan people. There were many different schools of the Tibetan Buddhism in history.
From Lhasa, the capital of Tibet Autonomous Region, to the pastoral villages spread throughout the grasslands, there are many temples with golden roofs shinning under the sun.
Another important symbol of Tibetan Buddhism are the pilgrims who prostrate themselves every nine steps on their way from their hometowns to the holy city of Lhasa. Pilgrims can also be seen throughout Tibet visiting religious sites to erase their sins and accumulate virtue.
The monasteries are also the places where monks study Buddhism and where religion, art and customs have coalesced into one whole in Tibet.
The Shoton Festival, also known as Tibetan Opera Festival, is one of the major festivals in Tibet. Its origin is derived from a rule set by Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelug (Yellow Sect of Buddhism), which decreed that Buddhists should cultivate themselves only indoors during the summer, to avoid killing other creatures carelessly. This was because creatures are most active in summer. This rule must be carried out until the seventh lunar month. Then Buddhists go outdoors, accept yoghurt served by local people, and have fun. Generally summer is the best time to go to Tibet.

Zuglakang Monastery
Located midway along Octagonal Street, Zuglakang Monastery (the name means 揳ssembly place?in Tibetan) is where lamas gather to lecture on Lamaist doctrines in the first month of the lunar calendar each year. With its round golden roof and two golden goats holding glittering wheels at the top of the main gate, the four-story hall is a magnificent sight.
Zuglakang Monastery was built over 1,300 years ago. Legend has it that soon after King Songtsan Gampo and Princess Wen Cheng were married, they joined others to select the site and design the monastery. As a symbol of the cultural exchange between the Tibetan and the Han, it was built jointly by Tibetan workers and the artisans brought along by Princess Wen Cheng from inland China.
The overhall architectural style of the monastery imitates Tang architecture, especially in the style and arrangement of columns and crossbeams, upturned eaves, and corbel brackets. However, it also contains architectural characteristics of Nepal and India. For example, in the inland temples, statues of Buddhas are usually places in high platforms, where worshippers cannot see them unless they raise their heads. The platforms her are rather low, however, making it easy for worshippers to touch the statues of Buddha and ask for blessing.

Vegetation in the High Mountains
On the towering mountains in Tibet are endless stretches of primitive forests. On the northern slopes of the mountains, there is luxuriant growth even though the soil is frozen all year long. The average yield per hectare is one thousand and two hundred cubic meters of dragon spruce and fir, and in some cases even three thousand cubic meters. Some of the trees are over five hundred years old and more than one meter in diameter. The southern slopes of the mountains are the home of larch and some herbal plants, such as saffron and Chinese caterpillar fungus.

Mount Qomolangma (Mount Everest) - The Summit of the Globe
Qomolangma is a transliteration from Tibetan, meaning "goddess of mountain." The 8,844.43-meter Qomolangma is the main peak of the Himalayas. Situated on the border between China and Nepal, it is the highest mountain in the world. This majestic peak has long attracted mountaineers, scientists, and ordinary tourists.
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Last Updated ( Monday, 22 June 2009 11:44 )  

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