Area 664 sq km; Alt 3,590m; STD code (86)-891; Main languages Tibetan
    and Chinese; Distance from Gongkar Airport 96 km; Temperature Jan:
    max 10C, min -8C, July: max 25C, min 10C; Oxygen 68%; Annual
    precipitation 1,462 mm, of which 90% falls in summer and early autumn
    (July/Sept). Kyi-chu run-off approximately 16-19 litres/second/sq km.
    Population 160,000; Han immigrant population 29% (excludes mobile
    unregistered Han population of approximately 80,000). Literacy 66%.
    Birth rate 18:1,000. Infant mortality rate 129:1,000. Death rate
    14:1,000. Religion (Buddhist 73%, Muslim 2%, Atheist 25%).
     J   F   M   A   M   J
    -7,9 | -6,9 | -1,13 | 4,16 | 7,20 | 11,23 |
     J   A   S    O   N   D
    11,22 | 10,21 | 7,21 | 2,17 | -4,11 | -7,7 |
    BEST TIME: mid-March -- mid-Novmember
    The holy city of Lhasa (Ch Lasa Shiqu) is the historic capital of
    Tibet, situated on the N bank of the Kyi-chu River, where the valley
    opens out to its fullest extent. To the N of the city lies an
    impenetrable 5,200m range, extending from Mt Gephel Utse (above
    Drepung in the W) to Mt Dukri Tse (above Pawangka) and Mt Sera Utse
    (above Sera in the E). To the S, on the far bank of the river, is the
    Chakyak Karpo range. Smaller hills are located within the valley; the
    most prominant being Marpori ('Red Mountain') on which the Potala
    Palace is constructed, Chakpori (where Tibet's medical college and
    temples once stood, now dominated by a radio mast), and Bonpori
    (surmounted by a Chinese temple dedicated to Ling Gesar). The Kyi-chu
    River at Lhasa meanders past several island sandbanks, among which
    Kumalingka ('Thieves' Island'), the best known and an adjacent island
    are now partly owned by a Hong Kong business consortium, intent on
    constructing casinos and creating a Himalayan Las Vegas! The principal
    tributaries of the valley, ie those of Dongkar, Lhalu, Nyangdren and
    Doke, have all been integrated into the Chera irrigation system.
    The Lhasa valley extends from the Dongkar intersection, near the
    Kyi-chu at its western extremity, as far as Ngachen and the hill top
    ruins of Dechen Dzong, which overlooks the roads to Yerpa and Ganden
    in the extreme E. Access is by road from the SW (Gongkar Airport,
    Zhigatse, Gyantse, Tsetang), from the N (Ziling, Damzhung, Yangpachen),
    and from the E (Chamdo, Kohgpo and Meldro Gangkar). Recommended
    itineraries: 1,3 (also 4-7).
    Most buildings of Lhasa may conveniently be assigned to one of three
    distinct phases of construction (although older sites have undergone
    extensive renovations in subsequent centuries). The earliest phase
    coincides with the construction of the Jokhang and Ramoche temples
    along with the first Potala Palace during the 7th century; the middle
    phase with the building of the great Gelukpa monasteries, the new
    Potala Palace and Norbulingka Palace during the 15th-18th centuries;
    and the third phase with the recent expansion of the city under
    Chinese rule.
    Neolithic potsherds and implements of bone and stone which were
    excavated at Chogong near Sera in 1984 suggest that the Lhasa valley
    was a place of human habitation thousands of years before Songtsen
    Gampo unified Tibet and established his capital there. However, it
    was in the 6th century that Songtsen Gampo's grandfather, Takri
    Nyenzik, gained control over most of the 12 petty kongdoms into which
    Tibet had been divided. He did so by overthrowing his own
    brother-in-law, Tri Pangsum of Phenyul, who had usurped power from
    Takyawo of Nyenkar (Meldro) and tyrannized the clans of the Upper
    Kyi-chu valley (those of Wa, Nyang, Non and Tsepong). Takri's son,
    Namri Songtsen later succeeded to the throne and gained complete
    control over the Kyi-chu valley, thereby establisheing the framework
    of the Tibetan Empire; and it was the latter's son, Songtsen Gampo,
    who became the first king of unified Tibet. He subjugated the ancient
    kingdom of Zhangzhung in the W, and then moved his capital from
    Chingwa Taktse in Congye to Rasa, founding the first Potala Palace on
    Mt Marpori in 637, and the Rasa Trulnang (ie Jokhang) temple in 641.
    Following the construction of the Jokhang temple, the original name
    of the city, Rasa, was altered to Lhasa or Lhaden.
    King Songtsen Gampo's building activites were influenced by his
    Buddhist consorts: in his early years, the Newar queen Bhrkuti had
    the Jokhang temple contructed at the centre of a geomantically
    important network of temples around the country. In his later years,
    the Chinese queen Wengcheng constructed the Rawoche temple; and his
    Tibetan queen Monza Tricham founded the temple at Dra Yerpa, N of the
    city. Other significant constructions from the period included the
    9-storey Pawangka tower/hermitage; and the temples of Mer Nyingba,
    Tsamkhung, and Drak Lhaluphuk. Lhasa flourished as the capital of the
    Tibetan Empire until the assassination of King Relpachen by Langdrama
    in the 9th century resulted in the fragmentation of the country, and
    the desecration of the sacred sites.
    The next major period of development began in 1409 when Tsonkhapa
    instituted the Great Prayer Festival at the Jokhang temple, and the
    three great monasteries of the Lhasa region were founded: Ganden in
    1409, Drepung in 1416, and Sera in 1419. The Jokhang temple was also
    renovated and augmented during this period through the patronage of
    the kings of the Phakmodru Dynasty. Eventually, in 1642, Lhasa was
    restored as the capital of Tibet, following the defeat of the armies
    of the king of Tsang by the Mongol forces of Gushi Qan. With the
    latter's assistance, Dalai Lama V established a theocratic form of
    government (chosi nyiden) which endured until the occupation of Tibet
    by Communist forces in 1951. The four regency temples of Lhasa
    developed during this period; but above all, to symbolize the
    enhanced status of Lhasa, Dalai Lama V rebuilt the 13-storey Potala
    Palace. Later, in the 18th century Dalai Lama VII began the
    construction of the summer palace complex at Norbulingka.
    Until recent decades, there were only three principal routes around
    Lhasa, followed by pilgrims and traders alike; the Nangkhor
    (inner circuit) around the Jokhang temple, the Barkhor
    (intermediate circuit) with its prolific market stalls, and the
    Lingkhor (outer circuit) which skirted the entire city including the
    Potala Palace. Pilgrims and traders alike would move around the holy
    city on these circuits, invariably in a clockwise direction. The
    great religious sites of the city were thus the focal points of
    attraction: Jokhang temple surrounded by its Barkhor shrines,
    Ramoche and Chakpori, the Potala and Norbulingka palaces, and the
    outlying monasteries of Drepung, Nechung, Sera and Pawangka.
    Residential parts of the city and its surburbs also had their
    distinct names: Rabsel, Hawaling and Telpung-gang to the S and
    SW of the Barkhor; Tromzi-gang, Kyire and Banak Zhol to the N of the
    Barkhor; Zhol village, nestling below the Potala, Denpak to the NW
    of the city, Lhalu, Pelding, and Nyangdreng to the N, Dokde and
    Tsangrel to the NE, Nachen and Changdrong to the E, and so forth.
    A number of the mordern roads have been named after these places,
    which by-and-large survive, although the village in apartment blocks
    behind the Potala at Lhalu.
    The third and most recent phase of construction in Lhasa has been
    carried out under the Chinese occpuation, during which the city has
    been subjected to grotesque expansion and transformation, its nobel
    buildings obsured by the nondescript concrete tower blocks
    characteristic of many present day Chinese cities. Lhasa currently
    functions as the capital not of the whole of Tibet, but of the
    Tibetan Autonomous Region (Ch Xizang Zizhiqu). As such it is
    responsible for the administration of 7 districts: Lhasa, which has
    7 counties under its jurisdiction; Lhokha, which has 12 counties;
    Nyangtri, which has 18 counties; Ngari, which has 7 counties; Nakchu,
    which has 9 counties; and Chamdo, which has 11 counties.
    Most of the new buildings constructed in Lhasa reflet a cumbersome
    2-tier or 3-tier bureacucracy, in that government departments of the
    TAR, Lhasa District, and Lhasa Municipality have their separate
    offices dispersed throughout the city. However unwelcome this
    development may be, it cannot be ignored, and, indeed, it is with
    reference to the plan of contemporary Lhasa, rather than the
    traditional pilgrimage circuits, that the visitor will make his or
    her way to the ancient and medieval sites of historic importance,
    described in the following pages.
    Most visitors will approach Lhasa from the SW or N, whether driving
    the short distance from Gongkar Airport, or the longer overland
    routes from Nepal via Zhigatse and from Ziling via Kermo and Nakchu.
    These approach roads converge to the W of the city at Dongkar.
    Just to the W of Dongkar, the valley begins to open out into a wide
    plain and the Potala Palace is visible from afar. A large military
    HQ has recently been constructed near the intersection, where an
    important petrol station complex and the Dongkar Restaurant are also
    located. From Dongkar two roads lead into town: the main paved route,
    Chingdrol lam (Ch Jiefang lu; also known as Tsang-gyu lam) follows
    the river bank upstream all the way to the E end of the city, and a
    dirt road extension of Dekyi lam (Ch Beijing lu) skirts the Lhasa
    Cement Factory (Ch Sunyitrang) to enter the city through the defile
    between Chakpori and Marpori hills, which formerly marked the true
    gateway to the city.
    Chingdrol lam
    Chingdrol lam, which also functions as a ring road, passes through
    one of the most rapidly developing parts of the city, favoured by the
    influx of Chinese immigrants who have established their small
    businesses (shops, restaurants, and karaoke bars) to service the
    army, which occupies much of the land in this sector of the city.
    The road is divided into West Chingdrol lam (Chingdrol Nub lam),
    Middle Chingdrol lam (Chingdrol Bar lam), and East Chingdrol lam
    (Chingdrol Shar lam).
    Starting from Dongkar, you pass to the N side of West Chingdrol lam,
    an engineering and machinery institute, and a large military complex
    including within it warhouses, carpentry workshops, small farms,
    the Chinese Martyrs' Cemetery, Middle School Number Nine, the
    College of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, and the Military
    Publications Office. Looking further N you will see the palls of
    smoke rising above the yellow buildings of the Lhasa Cement Factory,
    and behind them, like a cluster of brilliant white grains of rice on
    the hillside of Gephel Utse, the buildings of Drepung Monastery. On
    the S side of West Chingdrol lam, towards the river, you will pass
    in succession the local police station, the post office warehouse,
    the freight depot, the Gang-gyen Development Company, and the
    Hospital for Skin Diseases.
    Continuing on to Middle Chingdrol lam, you pass on the N side the
    TAR Agricultural Machinery company, the TAR schools of banking,
    hygene, and finance, and the Long Distance Bus Station. A memorial
    dedicated to the workers who died in the construction of the
    Ziling-Lhasa highway stands opposite the junction with Mirik lam
    (Ch Minzu lu), on which the Norbulingka Palace and Lhasa Holiday Inn
    are located. Ahead at this point you will observe the radio and
    television mast on the summit of Mt Chakpori, where Lhasa's medical
    colleges and temples once stood. Continuing eastwards on Middle
    Dhingdrol lam, you will pass to the N the Armed Police HQ and the
    TAR Government Offices, while the colourful prayer-flag strewn
    bridge to Kumalingka ('Thieves' Island') lies to the S.
    After the intersection with Kharngadong lam, which leads towards the
    Potala Palace and has a number of fashionable restaurants and
    nightclubs, you continue on to East Chingdrol lam, passing in
    succession to the S: a large military complex, the Bank of China
    Lhasa Branch, the Minorities Hotel, the Sports Stadium, and Middle
    School Number One. To the N you pass the Tibetan Medical School and
    Middle School Number Eight; and (after the Do Senge lam turn-off
    leading to the Hospital of Traditional Medicine and the Jokhang
    temple), you pass the Peoples' Art Museum, the Kakak Hotel, and
    the Boot Factory. At this point East Lingkhor lam bisects the road.
    If, at this crossroads, you continue on East Chingdrol lam, you will
    pass on the N side the Lhasa Municipality Government Buildings, the
    Sunlight Hotel, and the Kongpo Bus Station, and on the S the Tibet
    University campus. From this point the road forms a T-juntion with
    East Zamchen lam, leading NW into town or SE across the Lhasa Zamchen
    Bridge towards the Upper Kyi-chu valley and Kongpo.
    Dekyi lam
    Taking the unpaved road into Lhasa from Dongkar, you follow a more
    traditional route, along Dekyi lam (Ch Beijing lu which also
    stretches the entire length of the city and is divided into W,
    Middle and E sections. On West Dekyi lam (Tib Dekyi nub lam), you
    pass to the S the factories and residential compounds of the Lhasa
    Cement Factory (Ch Sunyitrang), and the Mineral Research Laboratory.
    Thereafter, passing through Denpak village, you will observe, Drepung
    Monastery and Nechung Monastery. Then, to the N of the road you will
    pass the Lhasa City Engineering and Construction Unit and the TAR Rd
    Transport Maintenance Head Office; while to the S is the TAR Customs
    Office, a green painted building with a clock-tower, marking the
    palce where Dekyi lam is intersected by lanes leading N (to Pari
    Zimkhang, the TAR Communist Party School and the erstwhile TAR
    Tourism Bureau and guesthouse) and S (to the Import-Export Control
    Bureau, the Animal and Plant Inspection Department, and Chingdrol lam).
    Continuing E on Middle Dekyi lam (Dekyi Bar lam) you pass the the N:
    the TAR Hygene Head Office, the TAR Opera Troupe, the TAR Finance
    Head Office, the Muslim Cemetery Kache Lingka, the China Building
    Bank, the School of Performing Arts, the TAR Civil Adminstration
    Buildings, the TAR Scientific Association, the tibet Tourism
    Corporation Offices, the Iron Horse Travel Company Office, the
    TAR Rd Planning Office, and the TAR Petroleum Company. To the S you
    will pass: the TAR Statistics Department, the TAR Insurance Offices,
    the Tibet Hotel, the Perik Bookshop, the Workers' Convalescent Home,
    the Lhokha District Office, and Lhasa Holiday Inn. In this section of
    the road, there are also many small Tibetan and Chinese restaurants
    geared to the tourist market (in contrast to those on Chingdrol lam
    which largely service the army).
    Turning right on to Mirik lam (Ch Minzu lu) which connects Dekyi lam
    with Cingdrol lam, you will pass on the E the TAR poples' Conference
    Hall and Theatre, the Golden Bridge Travel Office, and the TAR Motor
    Parts Travel Office, and the TAR Motor Parts Fitting Company; while
    to the W is the main entrance to Holiday Inn, a side road leading to
    the Royal Nepalese Consulate and the Yarlung Travel Service, the
    entrance to Norbulingka Palace, the TAR Cultural Relics Association,
    the TAR Workers' No. 2 Hospital, and the Long Distance Bus Station.
    A road known as Norbulingka lam or West Lingkhor lam leads from the
    entracne of Norbulingka Palace towards Chakpori Hill and intersects
    with Middle Dekyi lam at a large roundabout dominated by two
    grotesquely sculpted golden yaks, before continuing into Lhalu and
    N Lhasa. On the N side of this road, you will pass Kundeling
    Monastery, and the Transport Office Guesthouse, while to the S you
    pass the old Television and Radio Broadcasting Offices, the Ling
    Gesar temple on Bonpori Hill, and the Trak Lhaluphuk temple complex
    on Chakpori Hill. The extension of West Lingkhor lam into Lhalu and
    N Lhasa is described below.
    Continuing E on Middle Dekyi lam from the Mirik lam intersection,
    you pass on the N side the TAR Government Guesthouse (Xizang Zeng
    Fu Zhao dai suo), the local Dekyi lam police station, the Electrical
    Studies Centre, and the Foreign Trade Company, adjacent to the Golden
    Yak Roundabout. On the S side, you will pass the TAR High Court, the
    TAR Mapping and Survey Department, and the Lhasa Petrol Station.
    After the roundabout, East Dekyi lam (Dekyi Shar lam) begins,
    passing through the defile between Chakpori and Marori Hills,
    where a stupa gateway once more dominates the approach to the city.
    The road here opens out on to the vast and newly constructed Zhol
    Square. On the N side of the square you will see in succession the
    newly constructed TAR Television and Radio Station, the lingkhro
    circuit around the Potala Palace, and the renowned Potala Palace
    itself, with the 15th century Zhamarpa Palace in the foreground.
    To the S, is the enclosed Zhol Doring, and the open expanse of
    Zhol Square (formerly the Cultural Palace Park).
    At this point, crossing Kharngadong lam (which leads northwards
    to the CAAC Airline Office and the vegetable market), you pass on
    the N side, the Lhasa Post Office, and (after the Nyangdren lam
    T-junction) the local bus station, the TAR Seismology Head Office,
    a children's play centre, the Taxi Company, the Yak Hotel, the
    Ramoche lam turn-off leading to Ramoche Temple, and the Peoples'
    Court. On the S side, you will pass the Ying Hotel, the Men-tsikhang
    lam turn-off leading to the Snowlands Hotel and the Hospital of
    Traditional Medicine (Mentsikhang), the Tromzikhang Market, the Kyire
    Hotel, and the Banak Zhol Hotel. After the East LIngkhor lam
    intersection, which leads S to the Public Security Bureau and
    East Chingdrol lam, the road then forms a T-junction with
    East Zamchen lam, heading NW into town or SE towards the bridge.
    Lingkhor lam
    Named after the traditional pilgrimage circuit around the city of
    Lhasa, this motor route is still frequented by devotees who come
    from all parts of Tibet to circumambulate the hole city. There are
    three sections: West Lingkhor lam, extending NE from the Golden Yak
    Roundabout towards Lhalu; North Lingkhor lam, extending due E behind
    the Potala Palace and Lukhang Temple, as far as the Mongolian
    Horseman Roundabout and the Plateau Hotel intersection; and
    East Lingkhor lam, extending due S from the latter to the riverside.
    On West Lingkhor, after passing the Foreign Trade Office on the left,
    you pass the main Lhasa branch of the Bank of China, the
    Lhalu Middle School and the District Car Rental Company; and on the
    right, overshadowed by the Potala Palace, the side entrance to the
    TAR Television and Broadcasting Head Office.
    Turning onto North Lingkhor lam (also known as Dzuktrun lam), you
    then pass on the left side of the road, the TAR Political Affairs
    Head Office, the TAR United Front Work Division, the Peoples'
    Publishing House Bookstore, the TAR Geology and Mineral Head Office,
    the Office of Foreign Affairs, Lhasa City Police Head Office, the
    Gang-gyen Store, and the Plateau Hotel (Gao Yuan). On the S side,
    you will pass the N face of the Potala Palace, the Lukhang Temple and
    its surrounding park, the Peoples' Hospital (Mimang Menkhang), the
    newspaper publishers, Ramoche lam turn-off which leads to Ramoche
    Temple, and the Telecommunication Building.
    Lastly, East Langkhor lam passes the Peoples' Court, the Peoples'
    City Hospital, the Banak Zhol Hotel, the Public Security Bureau,
    the mosque Gyel Lhakhang, the Boot Factory, Middle School Number One,
    the Carpet Factory, the TAR Mountaineering Institute, the Himalaya
    Hotel and the Xue Lian Hotel.
    Yutol lam and the Barkhor radial roads of Central Lhasa
    From the entrance to the Cultural Palace and the TAR Government
    Buildings, Yutok lam (also called Mimang lam) leads eastwards to
    the gates of the Jokhang, Tibet's holiest shrine and the true centre
    of Lhasa. On the S side of this approach road, are the Xinhua
    Bookstore, the public baths, Middle School Number Eight, a Tibetan
    medical school, the Friendship Store, and the Yutok bridge. After
    the Do Senge lam intersection, the Lhasa City Cinema is located on
    the S side and the Hospital of Traditional Medicine (Mentsikhang) on
    the N side. It is from this point onwards, as the Jokhang is
    approached from the W, that the radial road network of ancient Lhasa
    begins. Although the replacement of traditional buildings has
    greatly diminished the appeal and warmth of the narrow lanes and
    gulleys around which Lhasa citizens lived their lives for centuries,
    the structure of the road network remains unchanged, except on the
    W side where the Jokhang plaza was constructed in the 1960-70 period.
    Four large prayer-flags are situated within the Barkhor
    ('intermediate circuit') market which surrounds the Jokhang, known
    respectively as Ganden Darchen in the NE, Juyag Darchen in the W,
    Kelzang Darchen in the SW, and Sharkyaring Darchen in the SE.
    Working clockwise from the W side, there is a northern lane,
    called Mentsikhang lam, due E of the Hospital of Traditional Medicine,
    which leads to East Dekyi lam and is known for its restaurants and
    tea houses. The regency temple Tengye Ling is approached via an alley
    behind the hospital. A second road runs NE from the plaza towards
    the Tromzikang market via the butter and meat markets, also giving
    access to East Dekyi lam. Having entered upon the Barkhor circuit,
    the third road extends SE from the NE corner. The fourth road, known
    as Waling lam (or Dunsisung lam), leads SE from the SE corner towards
    the nunnery of Ani Tsamkhung, the mosque of Gyel Lhakhang and
    East Chingdrol lam. The fifth, known as Rabsel lam, leads SW from the
    SE corner, and the last Gyedu lam, leads SW from the SW (Barkhor Cafe)
    North Lhasa
    As already indicated, there are a number of N-S roads intersecting
    with Chingdrol lam and Dekyi lam, the two main E-W arteries of the
    city. Among these, the most important are: Lhalu lam, extending due
    N from West Lingkhor lam via Lhalu to Pelding commune; Nyangdren lam,
    extending due N from the Post Office on Dekyi lam to Pawangka and
    Sera Monastery; and Dokde lam, extending NE from the Plateau Hotel
    intersection out of town.
    On Lhalu lam, you pass on the W side of the road, the New Zhol
    village, Lhalu village, and Pelding, where there is a quarry and an
    oxygen production plant. On the E side you pass the TAR Women's
    Affairs Office, the TAR Procurator's Office, and the Chamdo District
    On Nyangdren lam, you pass on the W side the TAR Government Personnel
    Department, Lukhang Park, the TAR Religious Affairs Office, Lhasa
    City Maintenance Department, the TAR Transport Company, the local
    police station, the Compounding Factory of the Hospital of
    Traditional Medicine, the TAR Gymnastics Association, the Gymnasium,
    the Zhigatse District Office, the Ngari District Office, Middle
    School Number Six, Lhasa Teacher Training College and the School of
    Hygene. On the E side, you will pass the Post Office, the Fine Art
    Company, the Nakchu District Office, the Inpatients Hospital of
    Traditional Medicine, the University of Traditional Medicine
    (Sorik Lobdra Chenmo), Ngari Branch of the Lhasa City Bank, the
    Race Course, Xinhua Press, and a number of workers' schools.
    Thereafter, the road leads due N to the Military Hospital and
    Pawangka, while a detour leads due E to Sera Monastery and the
    nearby Sky Burial Site.
    On Dokde lam, you pass on the W side the Lhasa Television and
    Broadcasting Head Office, the Power Station Construction Company,
    the Epidemic Prevention Department, the North Fire Station, an
    armed police unit, and various electriacal or engineering companies.
    On the E side, you pass the Plateau Hotel, the Ganlho Amdo Office,
    the armed police reserve units and TAR security offices, Middle
    School Number Four, the Commercial School, pharmaceutical companies,
    motor repair units and agricultural machine suppliers.
    The Academy of Social Science is located in a street between
    Nyangdren lam and Dokde lam, alongside a satellite station, an
    armed police hopsital, a fertilizer factory, and a hydro-electric
    power plant.
    East Lhasa
    Among the outlying easterly parts of the city, Ngachen lam, the
    extension of North Lingkhor lam, leads out of town towards a power
    station of the same name and the hilltop ruins of Dechen Dzong. En
    route, you pass by the International Satellite Station, a series of
    armed and unarmed police units, Middle School Number Three, and a
    flour mill.
    South Lhasa
    The S bank of the Kyi-chu River is relatively undeveloped. Most
    buildings belong to the military, but there are a number of outlying
    farming villages: Dekyi Khangsar, Zhapa, Nupa, Gepho and so forth.
    At Drib, the regency temple of Tsechokling has been rebuilt.
    In Tibet, any prominant place exposed to the wind may be adorned with
    multicoloured prayer flags (darchok), permitting the natural power of
    the wind to distribute the blessings of their inscribed prayers as
    they flap to and fro, for which reason they are known also as
    'horses of the wind' (lungta). Domestic rooftops and monastery
    compounds often have large poles to which these flags are attached,
    and renewed annually on the 3rd day after the Tibetan New Year.
    Similiary, most mountain passes (la-tse) are marked by cairns of
    stones (some inscribed with mantras), to which sets of prayer-flags
    are attached. Whereever public buses or private jeeps cross over a
    major pass, the passengers will invaribaly deisembark to add a stone
    to the cairn, or tie a newly prepared set of prayer flags and burn
    incense as an offering to the spirit of the mountain, who would have
    been tamed and appointed protector of Buddhism by Padmasambhava back
    in the 8th century. Some will cast paper prayer-flags into the air
    from the bus window, rejoicing loudly in the ancient paean:
    "Kyi-kyi so-so! May the gods be victorious!" (lha-gyel-lo).
    A single set of cotton prayer-flags is ordered in the sequence:
    blue, wihte, red, green and yellow, respectively symbolizing the
    five elements: space, water, fire, air and earth. In each corner of
    the flag there may be a protective animal; garuda (top-left),
    dargon (top-right), tiger (bottom-left), and lion (bottom-right),
    while the mantra-syllables forming the main part of the inscription
    may vary according to the preferrd meditational deity of the devotee.
    Those of the three bodhisattvas: Avalokiteshvara, Manjughosa, and
    Vajrapani are commonplace, as are the mantras of the female
    bodhisattva Tara, who protects travellers from the diverse dangers of
    the road.
    Gyurme Dorje
    Trade & Travel Publications Ltd. January 1996
    ISBN 0 900571 69 X
2005-12-14 03:46:53  By: 西藏旅游  返回顶部 返回顶部
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