The seven days I spent in Tibet haunt me. I dream often of thick clouds of incense smoke settling heavily on air that is thinned by extreme altitude. In my dreams, I am light headed again, I can’t catch a breath, and my heart is pounding with the sounds of monks chanting to the thrums of the drums and the wail of the horns. I remember magnificent vistas of ragged mountain ranges and sweeping plains. I think most of all of the people—so beautiful in their humble yet fervent devotion. Their constant movement is dizzying–bodies prostrating in supplication on the hard ground, hands spinning prayer wheels, lips moving as they count prayer beads. The strength of ceremony and tradition in Tibet is as powerful as the vivid colors that brighten the soot-stained temples. In Tibet, I came to know the heights of the highest mountains in the world and the incredible people who call them home. But I also came face to face with the brutal lows of a peaceful people encased in a strong military grip. I think it’s important for travelers to go to Tibet to experience this mystical place for themselves and build their own perspectives, so check back for upcoming posts on tips for traveling to Tibet that support the people of this beautiful land.
The Potala Palace, built in 1645, has more than 1,000 rooms, 10,000 shrines and about 200,000 statues.
Prayer wheels for kora to the Potala Palace
Monks vigorously debating scripture @ Sera Monastery
Boy receives a blessing @ Sera Monastery
A holy man prepares to give a discourse @ Drepung Monastery
Drepung Monastery used to be a home for 10,000 Buddhist monks–now there are less than 400.
Friendly pilgrim @ Barkhor Market in Lhasa
Light illuminates prostrating pilgrims in front of the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa
A pilgrim engages in kora around the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa
I met this beautiful Tibetan woman in a park in Lhasa and she asked me to take her portrait.
The restored Yungbu Lakang Palace is said to be the oldest building in Tibet and overlooks the ancient Yarlung Valley.
Monks hard at work at Yungbu Lakang, Tibet
The Nyetang Lhachenmo Buddha is more than 100 feet tall and 1000 years old
Sheep herding in the Himalayas
Monks at Samye Monastery–built in 775-9, it is the oldest monastery in Tibet
Yak butter candles light up the deities at Samye Monastery.
Thank you for reading! Have you considered a trip to Tibet? If so, has anything been holding you back?