Lhasa City is located in the central part of Tibet Autonomous Region and the north shore of Lhasa which is on a branch of the Yarlung Zangbo River. It is the capital of Tibet Autonomous Region and the center of politics, economy, culture, religion and traffic. This city is an ancient plateau with over 1,300-years of history. In 1951, Lhasa was liberated peacefully. In 1960, Lhasa was established as a city. Now the urban zones cover seven counties with a population of over 110,000. Lhasa city is located in the Tibetan plateau, whose elevation is about 3,500 meters. There’s no fog with plent of sunlight throughout the year. So it is well-known as “Sunlight City”.
Lhasa is the most unique and fascinating city in the world. The first reason is its elevation. It’s about 3,700 meters above the sea level, which makes some people feel dizzy. The second reason is Lhasa’s cultural relics and religious atmosphere.
In the middle of the seventh century, Songtsan Gampo (松赞干布), a tribal leader of Tibetan, began to start his undertaking here. In 641AD, Songtsan Gampo got his achievement and then married Wencheng (文成公主), a princess in Tang Dynasty. After arriving in Tibet, Wencheng advised him to use white goats to back the soil to fill the lake and build a temple. Therefore, people considered the initial temple (Now named “Jokhang Temple”) as “Resa (惹萨)”, whose meaning is “goat back (山羊背上)” in Tibetan language. Finally, “Resa” was translated into “Luoxie (逻些)” and gradually became “Lhasa (拉萨)”. During thousands of years, Lhasa was used as a political and religious center. So Lhasa has become a veritable “sacred land”.
Lhasa Tourism and Travel
In Lhasa city and its suburbs, there are numerous scenic spots and historical sites. Some of them are already well-known in China and abroad, such as the Potala Palace (布达拉宫), Jokhang Temple (大昭寺), Drepung Monastery (哲蚌寺), Sera Monastery (色拉寺) and Ganden Monastery (甘丹寺). In addition, other attractions have Tibetan King Tombstone, Tsurphu Monastery, Dazha Lugong Monument, Lhasa Mosque, the Dragon King Lake, Norbu Lingka, Qugong Sites, Tibet Museum, Ramoche Monastery, Chakpoti Hill and so on.
Jokhang Temple (大昭寺)
Jokhang Temple lies in downtown of Lhasa City. It was built in the Zhenguan 21st year of Tang Dynasty. The statue of Sakyamuni, the main worship, was brought into the Lhasa by Princess Wencheng, which is why Lhasa is called the “sacred land”.
Jokhang Temple has four levels decorated with golden roof and brackets, which is built like the Han style. The watchtowers and carved beams are the Tibetan pattern. The second and third storeys of the main building display 103 pieces of woodcarvings, which are Nepal and India style. Inside the temple, there are two Tibetan murals nearly 1,000 meters long: “Princess Wencheng arrives in Tibet” and “The construction Map of Jokhang Temple”.
Chakpoti Hill (药王山)
Chakpoti Hill means “the corner of hill”. It is located on the right of Potala Palace of Lhasa City. The elevation is about 3,725 meters. There is a path to reach the peak.
In the end of 17 century, Diba Sangjie Jiacuo - a Tibetan doctor - set a medical center named Menba Zhacang on the top of the hill, selecting some of Lama from each temple to study medicine knowledge here. In this medical center displays the statue of God of medicine, so Han people called this place “Chakpoti Hill”.
Around the cliff engraved with different shapes of the Buddha statues and the statues of gods. There is a grotto on the southeast of slope, containing dozens of vivid stone sculptures. They are Tibetan stone carving art. Now Chakpoti Hill has developed into a tourist attraction.