Journey to the Heart of Tibet

Tibetan monks

The world is truly a magical and infinite place, with no human being able to discover all its wonders during a lifetime. All we can do is try to see and do as much as we can with the time given to us. Among the places that people travel, some of them bear a greater significance than other, being more than just a regular tourist destination. These places also hold deeply spiritual significance, offering unique experiences that are both unforgettable and insightful. One of these places is the capital of Tibet, the autonomous region in southern China. Although one of the most difficult places to reach for tourists, especially with all the political troubles in the area, this is city is truly amazing, offering much more than your usual travel experience.

The Potala Palace in Lhasa.

Located at an altitude of almost 3,500 meters, tourists will surely struggle to deal with this characteristic, but the journey is more than worth the effort. The city has a history that spans a millennia, much of this time being the center of the Tibetan religion, with its most prominent figure being the Dalai Lama. The roots of the city come from the 7th century, when Songtsan Gampo became the leader of the Tibetan Empire, moving its capital to what is today Lhasa. The first important structure of the city was the Potala Palace on Mount Marpori. After being converted to Buddhism, the leaders of the Tibetan Empire built many more temples and palaces in their capital, making it one of the most magnificent cities of medieval Asia. Along the years, the site also became the most important for the Tibetan Buddhist religion, one of the most mystical aspects of Lhasa.

Today, the city of Lhasa is a perfect blend of modern and traditional, with both ancient temples and monasteries, as well as hotels, shops and restaurants. There are plenty of things to see in the city, the most important ones being the old palaces and temples. The Jokhang Temple was build in the 7th century and houses some of the most important and praised statues in all of Tibet. The Potala Palace is a sacred place for all Tibetans, being both the living and the resting place of Dalai Lama along the centuries. The palace also houses the most valuable and interesting artifacts of Tibet. The Norbulingka Summer Palace is a more recent addition to the city, from the 18th century, being the summer residence of the Dalai Lama. Other important attractions of Lhasa include the Drepung and Sera monasteries, the Tibet Museum and many others.

About the Author

World Footprints co-host Tonya Fitzpatrick with a lot of monkeys on her back.

Tonya Fitzpatrick is the co-founder of World Footprints Media.  A self-described “recovering attorney”, she found her purpose as a cultural connector.  Tonya shares a life full of adventure, dark chocolate and champagne with her husband and business partner, Ian.   She has a deep love for animals and would be happy owning a zoo if she weren’t traveling. 

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