Tibet at Glance
Cold and dusty is the description many people who have visited Tibet use. The trip to Tibet is not easy but it is an adventure! Tibet was opened to tourism in 1985. Before this, it avoided influence from the Western World, allowing the country to develop its unique culture and religion independently. Governed by spiritual leaders, spiritual institutions were the backbone of power, with their importance and prestige reflected in the scale and magnificence of the architecture. Tibetan Buddhism contains many elements of the older religion ‘Bon Po’, which worshipped the sky, moon, sun, fire, soil and an evil spirit. The monasteries, rich in unique statues, paintings (Thankas), religious and historical books, could take weeks to explore. These monasteries, crowded with pilgrims often travelling long distances to fulfill their vows, are testament to the importance religion still plays in the daily life of the Tibetans. Tibet is an extraordinary destination, where adventure lurks around every corner.
With an average altitude of 4,000m above sea level, Tibet is located at the main part of Qinghai Tibet Plateau, south west of China. Tibet has an area of 1.2 million sq. km and borders with Sichuan, Yunnan, Qinghai, Xingjiang to the south and contiguous to India, Nepal, Bhutan, Pakistan & Burma. Tibet has more than 50 peaks above 7,000 m out of which 11 are more than 8,000m.
For centuries, Tibet has fascinated mankind. This land beyond the mighty Himalaya on the highest plateau of the world, was hardly accessible to the out side world and has always been a challenge to all mortal beings. This “land of mysteries”, a “forbidden land”, forbidden not only by man but also by nature, appeals to so many explorers, scholars, pilgrims and adventurers in the past, hoping to find probably a real “SHANGRILA” . In the past, Lhasa, the capital and centre of Tibetan culture, religion and Lama theology, was so far from anywhere and the journey to it so ardous, from any direction, that only the hardiest souls, impelled by the strongest motive or curiosity, penetrated to the holy city. Now fortunately there is an opportunity to visit Tibet.
Almost all practice, Mahayana Buddhism and belief in present day religious reincarnate teachers. There are few followers of pre Buddhist Bon Po and also Islam.
Tibet has low humidity, moderate rainfall and an average of 10 hr of sunshine daily. With more than 3000 hrs. of sunshine annually, Lhasa is famed as “The city of Sunshine”. Contrary to popular belief, winter is the best time to visit Tibet. Night temperatures seldom drop below -5 degree centigrade in Lhasa and it rarely snows in the Lhasa valley.
Passport & Visas of Tibet:
Only tour groups are officially allowed to enter into Tibet. But another option to enter Tibet you need a valid Chinese visa and align travel permit. You won’t obtain the Chinese visa if you apply to go to Tibet (state any place except Tibet in the visa application form). You want to go to China, and need a valid visa to China. If you are willing to obtain your visas in Kathmandu also possible, you should arrive in Kathmandu at least a week prior to departure to Tibet. The visas can also be arranged within a day paying emergency charge. Please be sure that the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu will open for visa application from 10 to 11 AM only 3 days in a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday).