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Travel to Shigatse in Tibet

07-09-2010 08:59 BJT

BEIJING, July 8 (Xinhuanet) -- Most of today was spent travelling as our minibus sped through the windy mountain roads from Lhasa to Tibet's second largest city, Shigatse.

Photo taken July 7, 2010 shows view from the road from Lhasa to Shigatse. (Photo: CRI / Dominic Swire)
Photo taken July 7, 2010 shows view from the road from Lhasa to Shigatse. 
(Photo: CRI / Dominic Swire)

Located at around 3,900 metres above sea level, Shigatse has a population of 80,000 and lies approximately 250 kilometres southwest of Lhasa. The city is county level and serves as administrative centre for Shigatse county.

(Shigatse is sometimes known as Rikaze or Xigaze.) The city is also known for the Tashilhunpo Monestery, the traditional seat of the Panchen Lama. We intent to visit this place tomorrow.

However, today the travel proved more interesting than the destination. We took the mountain road from Lhasa climbing around countless hairpin bends as the strong sun thumped down on the valleys and peaks of the barren mountains. The scenery was amazing but we stopped at a couple of places that were truly beautiful.

The first was Yamdrok Lake, one of the autonomous region's three most holy lakes. The expanse of pristine blue water covers over 600 square kilometers and a length of over 70 kilometres. All around mountains surround the site, some with a sprinkling of snow on the top. There were a number of other tourists that had stopped at the same place as us - and the Tibetans cater for them by arranging dozens of stalls of jewelry, and opportunities to take a picture with Tibetan dogs, sit on a huge horned yak, or even wade into a small flock of sheep. This bustling modern day popularity makes it somewhat difficult to appreciate that the lake is considered divinatory and is often visited by pilgrims coming to worship.

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