Tibet, a rich and beautiful land, is located at the main part of Qinghai-Tibet plateau, southwest frontier of China with an average altitude over 4000m above sea level. Tibet possesses more than fifty peaks above 7000 m. among which eleven are over 8000 m. Tibet borders with Sichuan, Yunnan, Qinghai and Xinjiang; to the south contiguous to India, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and Burma and bounded by Kashmir on the west. Tibet is rich in natural resources and owns a vast expanse of landforms. People living on this land have been creating a glorious culture since ancient times. There has a long history; majestic mountains and rivers, regular customs and habits, wonderful natural landscapes with monks clad in robes and yellow hats are seen everywhere.
Tibet lies at the centre of Asia, with an area of 2.5 million square km. The earth's highest mountains, a vast arid plateau & great river valleys make up the physical home & of 6 million Tibetans. It has an average altitude of 3963 meter (13,000 feet) above sea level.
Tibet is comprised of the three provinces of Amdo (now split by China in to the provinces of Qinghai, Gansu & Sichuan), Kham (largely incorporated into the Chinese provinces of Sichuan, Yunnan & Qinghai), & U-Tsang (which, together with western Kham, is today referred to by China as the Tibet Autonomous Region).
The Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) comprises less than half of historic Tibet & was created by China in 1965 for administrative reasons. It is important to note that when Chinese officials & publications use the term "Tibet" they mean only the TAR.
Tibetans use the term Tibet to mean the three provinces described above, i.e., the area traditionally known as Tibet before the 1949-50 invasion.
Despite over 40 years of Chinese occupat8ion of Tibet, the Tibetan people refuse to be conquered & subjugated by China. The present Chinese policy, a combination of demographic & economic manipulation, & discrimination, aims to suppress the Tibetan issue by changing the very character & the identity of Tibet & its People.
Inhabitants were in existence in Tibet since the latter part of the Palaeolithic Age, which is considered as the opening curtain of the Tibetan history. By the Neolithic Age these inhabitants had scattered to a wider range of circle whose result had gradually let to the Tibetan race of the present generation.
In the 7th century a famous Tibetan King names Songtsen Gampo united the whole of Tibet and established the Tubo Dynasty. In the 7th and 8th centuries respectively two princesses from the Tang Dynasty had married Tibetan kings.
In the mid 13th century Tibet became subject to the Yuan Dynasty, whose central administration, passed the power to the Sakya for the over-lordship of Tibet. In the latter part of the Yuan Dynasty, the Sakya's rule over Tibet tottered and the Kagyupa Sect overtook the power and established Pagdu Dynasty. At the end of the Ming Dynasty and at the beginning the Qing Dynasty, the 5th Dalai Lama by the help of the Mongolian prince, Gorshi Khan, became the ruler of Tibet and established the Ganden Podrang administration region.
GENERAL INFORMATION - TIBET
Overland tours to Tibet are of various types, the most popular being to Lhasa, through very rugged, high-altitude terrain, often snow-bound during the winter months - from December to March. On the Nepal side, the highway to Tibet is sometimes disrupted by landslides during the monsoons; July to September.
The 55-minutes duration flight to Lhasa from Kathmandu is one of the most beautiful in the world, where one gets glimpses of Mt. Everest and other Himalayan Peaks.
Individual visas are not issued for the Tibet region by the Chinese authorities. Those who arrive with a Chinese visa in Nepal, issued by the Chinese embassies in their countries, will not find it valid for entry into Tibet.
Tourists must buy a tour package from a travel agency, who will arrange visa clearance from Lhasa, following which the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu issues the visa on individual passports or on a sheet of paper listing the members of the group depending on each group size.
Nepal re-entry visas can be obtained upon arrival at Kathmandu Airport or at the Kodari border on payment of a visa fee.
Tibet is in the Himalayan rain-shadow and the place is quite dry and sunny year round. One as such need not worry about rainfall or snow. Tibet sees about 25 to 50 cm of rain and snow per year [up to 75 cm in the forested areas to the east and southeast borders.
Those with chronic health problems should consult a doctor before making plans. Most people visiting Tibet rarely suffer more than mild discomfort before getting acclimatised.
Money can be exchanged at Bank of China Branches in Zhangmu, Shigatse and Lhasa. All major credit cards are accepted at the Holiday Inn Hotel in Lhasa.
Regulations require all visitors to declare money and other valuables like jewellery and electronic goods. Any curios must be declared with proper receipts, available only from government shops, when leaving the country.
Best Season for Touring in Tibet
From April to October is the best season for touring Tibet. From June to September there are more rainfalls and the scenery is beautiful but the heavy rain may topple down mud and as a result the traffic will be affected.
Taking Some medicines
Drugstores in Lhasa sell medicines for preventing mountain sickness. The best way is to go to the doctor and take medicine recommended by the doctor according to your conditions. Also you can take the water with 30 grams of brown sugar every day (not white sugar) and pills of multi vitamins for three days in succession. It is helpful for decreasing the chance of having mountain sickness.
Necessities for Touring Tibet:
Heavy clothes – The weather has a bigh gap in the morning and evening. Even in June or July it it best to bring with you enough heavy clothes such as down coast and woolen sweater.
Sleeping Bag – It is necessary for those who enter Tibet through land or tour other places than Lhasa. Tibet has strong ultraviolet ray. In addition to sunglasses, it is useful to bring some sun blocks to prevent sunburn.
Solid food and drinks – It should bring enough high calorie solid food with you, such as cookie, chocolate, and candy. Also you should bring enough drinking water. In addition, you should be ready to meet landslide and car broken in you tours in Tibet.
Must for Adapting to Highland Climate:
1. Doing everything slowly and taking a good rest.
2. Drinking much more water.
3. Stabilizing the temperature of you body and not to catch cold.
4. Bringing some pain killers which don’t cause a heavy sleep.
5. Not take any smoke or wine.
NATURE - TIBET
Tibet is a most unusual and beautiful place. There are days, when dusty storms, heavy rainfalls or icy winds hide Tibet's natural beauty. It's important to plan your visit for the best time of the year.
If you are not into serious trekking, September and October, even November might be the best months to travel. Despite the seemingly never ending Tibetan plateau, where the majority of the territory rests above 4000 metres, with surrounding mountain ranges on three sides, the climate is relatively mild and not as harsh as many people might imagine. Though prepare yourself for sudden temperature drops and cold nights in these late autumn months.
The month of May, when temperatures are rising and when heavy summer rainfalls have not yet begun, might also be a good option.
The TAR (Tibetan Autonomous Region) covers 1,2 million sq. km, but Greater Tibet which encompasses parts of the former provinces Kham and Amdo, now Qinghai and Sichuan in the PR China, is of course much larger.
Once the entire region lay beneath the sea but as a result of a geological upheaval, the landmasses drove up and created two parallel ridges almost 3000 km long and in some parts almost as high as nine kilometres.
The Yarlung or Brahmaputra River in the southern part of Tibet is crossing from West to East almost the total length of Tibet, creating a fertile valley, where crops can be grown success-fully.
The area around Mt. Kailash is the source of three other great rivers: the Ganges, Indus and Sutley. But they all cascade out of Tibet and cannot be of use for the agricultural purpose in Tibet. From the eastern part of the plateau, Mekong, Salween and Yangzi transport their waters to the south and out of Tibet. Together with Yarlung, they create some of the deepest and remotest gorges in the world. An area of great beauty - but like everything in Tibet not easy to discover!
RELIGION - TIBET
Buddhism, with a history of some 1300 years since its penetration into Tibet, has shaped a unique form "Lamaism". Tibetan history, culture and religion are mixed together and infiltrated on every aspect of social life. Tibetan religious arts have distinctive style with adoption of Indian and Chinese Buddhist influence, thus forming itself a pearl of oriental Buddhist art Tibetan architecture is rich in shapes, sumptuous and full of noble aspiration. The Potala Palace is built on the top of a hill and penetrates its dome into the sky. It's the king of Tibetan architectural structures. These architectural buildings include wonderful sculptures, carvings, mural 'thangkas' and skilled butter sculptures, and a vast accumulation of historical monuments, which form a kind of religious art, which are developed into a school of Tibetan tradition.
SCIENCE & CULTURE - TIBET
Science and culture in Tibet include technology, medicine, grammar, logic, Buddhist philosophy, rhetoric, words and expressions, syntax, drama and astrology. Tibet is known as the sea of songs and dances' folk songs and dances are various in style, especially during the "Shoton" Festival in August each year, everywhere is a scene of jubilation.
Along with the development of Tibetan history, Tibetans have created a unique science and culture of their own. The voluminous and magnificent historical documents, and cultural relics, humanist and folk literature presently in existence is the fruit of labour and wisdom of the Tibetans. Great volumes of scriptures such as "Kagyur" (Translation of Commandments)," Tengyur" (Translation of Commentaries), "Four Tibetan Medical Tantras", " The Happy Feast of Sages". "Biography of Bhuton" and "Biography of Milarepa" have been translated into many languages.