Monday, October 7, 2013

Lhasa, Tibet

On September 6 we flew to Lhasa.

I was preparing myself for the altitude

Even the airport was pretty!

We got a traditional Tibetan welcome with these white scarves

The drive from the airport to the hotel was very scenic

It was a beautiful day

After settling into the hotel, we decided to take a walk around the area to get our bearings, find some water, and food. I was feeling pretty good before leaving the hotel but the altitude's effects crept up on me.

This is a supermarket

Walking around town

Lots of yak meat for sale and no, the meat was not refrigerated and yes, it was warm in Lhasa

I started to feel a bit off right around now

The doors were really cool

The next day, we visited the Potala Palace which was built in the 7th century. In the 17th century, the 5th Dalai Lama extended the palace to its present size. It also became the Dalai Lama's residing palace until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959. The palace is divided into two sections - the Red and White Palaces. It is 115.7 meters with 13 stories including living quarters, temples, funerals, stupas, and monk dormitories.

You know it's important when there's a stone inscribed with stuff on it
It was quite impressive

It was quite steep so we were in for a nice walk

Some cool doors along the way

Paul isn't affected by the altitude at all

The views were amazing though - I especially like the bank signs against the mountain range

We had to keep climbing

Got some good views of the mountains

It really was quite steep

Paul was enjoying the view

All the black curtains are made of yak hair

The black curtains are see through from the other side

This is one of the entrances to the White Palace 

Another captivating view

Walking down

Looking up

Bye bye Potala Palace

Local Tibetan walking by with a prayer wheel


Stationary prayer wheels

From afar - you can see the Red Palace in the center; the White Palace flanks it

We then stopped for some lunch and walked around town before our next stop.

Our view during lunch

Yam seller

Cool looking building

Paul + monks = Punks

After lunch we headed to the Sera Monastery, the second biggest monastery (covering an area of 114,964 square meters) in Tibet. Sera monastery was founded in 1419 by Jamchen Choje Shakya Yesh, a disciple of Tsongkhapa. It has an assembly hall, three colleges and 33 houses. Se ra means wild roses in Tibetan - the monastery got the name for where it was built - surrounded by wild roses.

Entering the monastery...hm, that's an odd hat...

Walking up and down

A painting of the wheel of life

Monks debating philosophical topics

The monk standing asks the question and the monk sitting retorts; the monk standing then claps to signify he's won the debate.

They really get into it

We did not understand what they were saying

But I'm convinced they were debating how Breaking Bad was going to end

This monk doesn't care

This monk likes to wear jerseys under his robe

It looks like the monk on the right recently watched the dance scene in Kickboxer

Leaving the Debating Courtyard

Still on the Sera Monastery grounds

Nice door

The scenery doesn't even look real! 

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