What to See in Tsetang and Shigatse (Tibet, China)

By | July 19, 2022

Tsetang (Tibet, China)

According to Simplyyellowpages, Tsetang is located near Lhasa at an altitude of 3550 m. The city itself is not very interesting. Tsetanga Monastery, founded in the middle of the 14th century, was completely destroyed during the “cultural revolution”. However, Tsetang is a kind of gateway to the valley of the Brahmaputra River (locally called Yarlung), on the banks of which it is located. The valley of this river is considered the cradle of Tibetan civilization. It was here in the middle of the III century. arose, according to Tibetan legends, the first Tibetan state. And in the 7th century. the ruler of this region, Sogtsen Gampo, united all of Central Tibet under his rule.

Near Tsetang is the mountain Gangpo Ri, sacred to all Tibetans.(Gangpo Ri) with a height of 4130 m, which, according to legend, is the birthplace of the first Tibetans. According to legend, on the slope of this mountain, in the cave, which is now called the Monkey Cave, the bothisattva Avalokiteshvari meditated in the form of a monkey. Here he was seen by the female demon Simpo, who managed to seduce the bodhisattva. As a result of this connection, six children were born, who became the ancestors of the Tibetan people. Trandruk Palace and Monastery is located

7 km south of Tsetang. It was built in 641 during the reign of Songtsen Gampo and is the oldest monastery in Tibet. Trandruk served as the winter residence of Songtsen Gampo and Princess Wencheng. The famous tanka (thangka is a picture of religious content on brocade, stretched between two sticks) is kept here, on which an image of the Buddha is composed of 29,000 pearls. The tank is 2 m long and 1.2 m wide.

A few kilometers to the south rises one of the most famous sights of Tibet – the tower of Yambulangang (Yumbulangang). Its foundation dates back to the reign of the first kings of the Yarlung dynasty. According to the general opinion, Yambulangang was built as a royal residence and its appearance at that time was significantly different from today. What can be seen today is of a later origin.

According to the legends, the first Tibetan Scripture descended from Heaven here. 40 km west of the city is the first monastery in Tibet, in which the monks lived – Samye Monastery. The approximate date of its foundation lies between 765 and 780. In the Western Temple (Jampa Ling) in 792-794. The “Great Debates” between the Indian Mahayanists and the Chinese adherents of Ch’an Buddhism took place, ending in a complete victory for the Mahayanists.

The main temple (Samye Utse), symbolizing the center of the universe (the mythical Mount Meru), is surrounded by four temples symbolizing the continents, eight for each subcontinent, solar in the south and lunar in the north. The main building has three floors. The first of them is built in the style of Tibetan architecture, the second – in the Han style, and the third – in the Indian style. The monastery bells are cast in bronze, and the outside of the building is decorated with marble lions and tablets with the history of Buddhism. Qingpu cavesĀ are located 15 km northeast of the monastery.(Qingpu Shandong). The caves were the retreat of Tibetan monks and the first monasteries. This place is one of the most popular among pilgrims. Rinpoche (Guru Rinpoche) preached here. He is credited with the footprint left on the Guruta rock. In one of the caves, the translator of Buddhist texts, Vairocana, spent 12 years. In the vicinity of the caves there is a small shop and you can set up a camp.

Shigatse (Tibet, China)

Shigatse (Shigatse) is the second largest city in Tibet, the center of the province of Tsang. About 50 thousand people live in the city.

Shigatse is located at an altitude of 3900 m, 250 km southwest of Lhasa. In the past, it was an important commercial and administrative center. King Tsang-a, who once made a lot of money on trade, lived and ruled from the fortress of Dzong. We can now judge the power of the king only by the ruins of his bastions, from which a wonderful panorama of the entire valley opens.

Like many Tibetan cities, Shigatse is divided into Chinese and Tibetan parts. However, almost nothing remained of the Tibetan part, except for the noisy city bazaar.

The main attraction is built in the middle of the XV century. Tashilhunpo Monastery, which was the seat of the second most important hierarch of the lamaist teachings – the Panchen Lama. Over time, the monastery became the largest center for the study of philosophy in Tibet. The monastery houses a unique 26-meter statue of Buddha Maitreya, made under the supervision of the ninth Panchen Lama in 1914. The statue took 300 kg of pure gold and four years of work of 900 workers. Shalu Monastery is located

20 km southeast of Shigatse. (Shalu), built in 1087. Its appearance combines elements of Tibetan and Chinese architecture. The monastery is known for its frescoes, sandalwood niches carved with scriptures, and vessels of holy water said to last for years.

Shigatse (Tibet, China)