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Shigatse, Tibet

Information about Shigatse
Shigatse also known as Xigatse is the second largest city in Tibet. Situated at the junction of the Yarlong Tsangpo (Brahmaputra) and Nyangchu River, Shigatse literally means "fertile land". shigatse is located around 300 km west of Lhasa, at an altitude of 3800 meters above sea level. This 600 year old city was earlier the capital of Tsang province and now is the capital of Shigatse prefecture. It is an important stop between Lhasa and west Tibet for pilgrims and tourists. The city has hit the top in the count of tourist and adventurers that come here to witness the

Shigatse Tibet

might and grandeur of the highest peak in the world, Mt. Everest. Shigatse has a population of over 80,000, of which 97% are Tibetan. It holds famous Tashilhunpo Monastery which is the traditional seat of the Panchen Lama, who is one of the two prestigious spiritual leaders in Tibet.

Climate in Shigatse
Shigatse shows different climatic conditions in summer and winter. The summer is usually mild and wet, and brings most of the annual rainfall, but quite pleasant. Winter is cold, dry and windy. The best time to travel to Shigatse is from May to July, when the temperature is neither too high nor too low.

Shopping in Shigatse

Shigatse, over the time has undergone several face lifts and now is one of the most advanced cities in Tibet. The place is a treat for people who like to shop till they drop. Shigatse is right place to shop original Tibetan handicraft items. The markets in the area absolute brims with varieties of unique items. The specialty of this city are the handicrafts. The national handicraft industry produces items completely unique in style and quality. You can also look for the locally made carpets, traditional wears, Tibetan knives, gold and silver ware, silk covers for cushions, traditional bracelets, unique boots that become a kind of necessity during Tibet travel as these are stitched suited to Tibetan terrain.

Trekking in Shigatse

Shigatse has become the favorite spot of adventurers because of Mt. Everest that stands tall on this land. The routes around Mt. Everest are the most challenging in entire Tibet, probably in entire world. Darchen to Mt. Everest is the most favored trek route of all.

Tourist Attractions in Shigatse

Shigatse has a lot to offer to the tourists with its high snow capped peaks, wonderful monasteries and colorful markets that are filled with amazing Tibetan stuff. The city is dotted with some of the most sublime and important monasteries like Sakya Monastery and Tashilhunpo Monastery apart from the grand Mt. Everest which is the highest peak in the world. The most popular site of the city, Tashilhunpo Monastery is the biggest monastery of Gelugpa or yellow hat sect in Tibet. Apart from shopping and adventure, you can also enjoy number of live performances of Tibetan opera, which is a specialty of Shigatse city.


Tashilhunpo Monastery
Tashilhunpo Monastery is located at the west part of the Shigatse city and about 250 km away from the capital of Tibet Lhasa. Situated on the foot of Drolmari or Tara’s mountain, it is one of the huge Monasteries of Gelugpa (or Yellow Hat Sect) in China and the biggest Tibetan Gelugpa Buddhism monastery in back Tibet area. Standing on a whooping area of around 300,000 sq. m it is also called the Heap of Glory. It is known as a seat of the Panchen Lama who is considered to be the second most important religious leader of Tibet. Founded by the first Dalai Lama in the year 1447 the monastery significantly expanded by the fourth and successive Panchen Lamas. The Monastery covers an area of nearly 300,000 square meters. The main structures found in the Monastery are The Maitreya Chapel, The Panchen Lama's Palace and The Kelsang Temple. Tashilhunpo is the seat of the Panchen Lama since the Fourth Panchen Lama took charge in the monastery, and there are now nearly 800 lamas. When seen from entrance the gran d building

Tashilhunpo Monastery Shigatse

of monastery enchants the visitor with its golden roofs and white walls. The Thangka Wall built by the First Dalai Lama in 1468 is outstanding with its nine floor high structure. The wall displays the images of Buddha on the 14th, 15th and 16th of May every year following the Tibetan Lunar Calendar. The west side of the monastery holds Maitreya Chapel, which houses the biggest statue of a sitting Maitreya Buddha. The statue stands 26.2 meters (86 ft) high and is adorned with gold, copper, pearl, amber, coral, diamond and other precious stones. About nine hundred artisans handcrafted this statue in nine years. The Maitreya chapel has been divided into five floors. There is wooden staircase in the chapel that is used to visit the different floors of the chapel. One can more clearly see the statue from the upper floors of the chapel. In the east of the chapel lies the Stupa-tomb of the Tenth Panchen Lama. Built in 1993 and enclosed by 1,354 pounds (614 kg) gold, 868 precious stones and 246,794 jewels, the Stupa-tomb is the most splendid and expensive mausoleum in China since the 1950s. The Panchen Lama's Palace built during the reign of the Six Panchen Lama stands nearby the Stupa-tomb, but it is not opened for visitors. To the east of the Panchen Lama's Palace lies the first stupa-tomb of Tashilhunpo. This stupa-tomb belongs to the Fourth Panchen Lama who is one of the most famous Lamas in Tibetan history. He was also the teacher of the Fifth Dalai Lama. Ornamented with gold and silver this magnificent stupa-tomb was built in 1662.

In addition to the majestic palace and gigantic statues, the Tashilhunpo Monastery also treasures distinctive murals. These murals are notified for their variety of shapes, brilliant colors and fine painting and are considered to be another masterpiece of Buddhist art. Monastery also houses some rare sutras, thangka, china and glass services of the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Thus, Tashilhunpo Monastery helps you to explore the history and society of Tibet.

Mt. Everest
The highest and the most celebrated peak in the world, Mt. Everest leaves no stone unturned in overpowering your senses. The Everest, also called as Qomolangma in Tibet, has its tip covered with snow throughout the year. This peak is virtually worshiped by all mountaineers as climbing to the top of this mountain is the biggest challenge and the ultimate goal in any mountaineer's life. You as a tourist can also get the same fun, ecstasy and feel the same rush of blood but in an easy way, just stand on the foot of this prodigious part of earth. It is advisable that you choose a time when the rains are away to visit Mt. Everest, possibly in April to July.

Palkhor Monastery

The monastery is famous for it's unique architecture and the 'Bodhi Stupa' or 'Kumbum'. Built in the year 1427, the monastery has gained the position as the Lord of Tibetan Stupas. The Palkhor monastery is a classical example of age old Tibetan monasteries as it houses both, a temple and a Stupa. What you would find most interesting can be the mural paintings on the wall that depicts stories of Buddha. You will notice that the painting style in this monastery is quite different from paintings that one seen in other monasteries. Visit the monastery on 15th of April according to Tibetan calendar Saka Dawa festival is celebrated, the birthday of Sakyamuni. An absolute gala, to say the least. The monastery is open from 9 in the morning till 4 in the evening.

Sakya Monastery

Sakya Monastery is the first monastery of Sakyapa Sect. Like other monasteries, this one is also famous for its uniqueness. The monastery is more than 900 years old and has the collection of few of the most valuable pieces of Tibetan history. Most important of all are the handwritten sutras of about 3000 in number. The main attraction of the monastery is the central hall called Lakhang Chenmo Hall. The name of the monastery means 'Grey Soil' because of its surroundings heavily dominated by grey colour. The monastery is open from 9 AM to 12 noon and reopens at 2 PM till 6.30 PM.

How to Reach Shigatse
By Road

Shigatse is fairly developed city and well connected with all major cities of Tibet by highways. Transportation in and out of Xigatse hugely depends on road travel and buses are the main mode of transportation on highways. Apart from privately run buses, you can hire Taxis that are the most convenient way of traveling inside the city. And since Shigatse is not a huge area, one can also walk through the narrow lanes of the city, though it is not advisable for people with health problems as the city is at a high altitude.


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