Asia Travel Destinations
One of the world’s most exotic and mysterious travel destinations, Tibet is the ultimate spot for climbers, trekkers, adventures and those interested in Buddhism. Located in the main part of the Qinghai Tibet Plateau, China’s southwest frontier, and covering an area of 463,320 square miles, at an average of elevation of 13,123 feet above seat level, Tibet is known as the Roof of the World for good reason. Isolated from the Indian subcontinent by the Great Himalayan, this fabled land is home to many of the world’s highest summits, with over 50 peaks that are more than 22,996 feet above sea level.
Although Tibetan history can be traced back thousands of years, the written history dates back to the 7th century when King Songtsan Gampo, who united Tibet, sent his minister Sambhota to India to study Sanskrit. On his return, Sambhota invented the present Tibetan script based on Sanskrit.
The majority of Tibet’s population is native Tibetan, with good numbers of ethically related minorities and smaller numbers of ethic Chinese, Mongol and Kazakh. An agrarian society, farmers make up 90 percent of the population.
Mahayana Buddhism is the predominate religion of Tibet, though Bon is still practiced. The Buddhist faith is deeply rooted and encompasses all aspects of life in Tibet and to its people.
Tibet’s Main Festival: Losar, Tibet New Year (February or March) is one of the most important festivals for Tibetans as it is a time for family reunions and to convey greetings and best wishes for the coming new year.
The Monlam Festival ( First to the 15th day of the first month of the lunar year ) is the largest religious gathering in Tibet. It was introduced by Tsongkhapa, founder of the Yellow sect, in 1490 AD. During the festival, Lamas from the three largest monasteries gather in the Jokhang to recite scriptures and prepare to take an examinations for their next degree.
Saga Dawa Festival (May or June) is the holiest of Tibet’s festival. It celebrates Buddha’s birth and his enlightenment.
Gyantse Horse Race & Archery Fest takes place in May or June. Horse racing and archery are popular in Tibet and Gyantse enjoys the prestige of being the birthplace of both activities in Tibet. Conforming to the lunar calendar, Gyantse’s Festival offers equestrian and archery contests followed by a few days of other activities.
Shoton Festival is in August. Shoton, the Yoghurt festival is Tibet’s largest festival. In times gone by, pious people went into mountain hermitages to do penance. On the last day of penance, as rewarded, yoghurt was served and followed by entertainment. Nowadays, it has evolved into a music festival that usually lasts for seven days.
Nakchu Horse Festival: In August, colorful tents are pitched around the Nakchu Race Course for the grandest gathering in Tibet’s northern plains. Each year, the Nachu Horse Festival attracts over 0,000 visitors from Lhasa and Nakchu, who come not only for days of horse racing and horsemanship, but also for traditional barter and folk dancing.
Tibet delights visitors with its beautiful and spectacular landscape, unique folklore, colorful festivals, and brilliant culture. It is a realm where mystical and inconceivable delights await one in every nook and cranny. You will be enthralled by the awesome majesty of its mountains and peaks covered with silvery snow glistening in the sun; its grasslands, rolling highland pastures, and pristine lakes and rivers. You will find unique cultural traditions unlike many others in the world, and meet people that are harmonious with their environment, warmhearted, robust and friendly – inviting you into their homes for food, drink and cheer. Tibet is truly a land of enchantment.