Tibet General Information

Tibet is a most unusual and beautiful place. The majority of its land rests above 4000 meters (13,000 feet) and is surrounded bymapTibet Map
tibet mountain ranges on three sides. The awe-inspiring Himalayas are the highest in the world, as is the never-ending Tibetan plateau. It is a place for the rugged adventurer as well as the spiritual wanderer Tibet is a land held back in time, housing many secrets. Nomads remain much the same as they did one hundred years ago. Roaming the plateau from winter and summer camps the nomads still mainly subsist from their yak herds. Then, there are the monasteries, which are striving to find a place in a country that's suddenly facing the 21st century.

The Tibetan people and their religion have been inseparable. Even in their earliest myths one finds references to Tibetan religious beliefs. Originally, the Bon religion dominated Tibet. After the introduction of Buddhist statues and later, Sanskrit documents from India, Buddhism crept increasingly into Tibetan culture. Tibetan Buddhism is the culmination of some early Bon beliefs, Indian Buddhist texts and several great lamas. Buddhism and politics had been interwoven since King Songsten Gampo married a Chinese and a Nepali princess, who were both integral in the emergence of Buddhism. It was the Fifth Dalai Lama who actually built the Potala Palace as the government seat and religious center. A theocracy had prevailed until 1951.

Tibet (Tibet Autonomous Region) is situated in the southwest of China bordering the internal provinces of Xinjiang, Qinghai, Sichuan and Yunnan. Externally it is bordered by India, Burma, Bhutan, Sikkim and Nepal. It covers a vast area of 120 sq km. (29,652 acres), standing the second after Xinjiang in China. But it only owns the thinnest population of 2.6 million, more than 90% of which are the Tibetans themselves; other nationalities like Han, Hui, Mongol also found in the two biggest cities of Lhasa, Shigatse and other cities and towns. At the average altitude of over 4,000 m. (13,123 ft.), this region boasts of many huge mountains like Mt. Nyainqentanglha, Karakoram Mountains, Gangdise and Himalayas. The peculiar landscape gives rise to the cold and dry plateau climate in almost all of Tibet except some regions in the south and east like Nyingchi. Despite the adverse conditions, the year-round snow-clad highest mountains still exert a strong pull to mountaineers, adventurers and sightseers near and afar.

Tibet is also magically endowed with many other natural wonders like the twin group of sacred mountain and holy lake - Mt. Kailash and Lake Manasarova, the Heavenly Lake Namtso among others. It is also the cradle of many large rivers such as China's Yangtze River, Yellow River, Yarlong Tsangpo River and India's Indus and Ganges. Most geographical features are on a grand scale and one necessarily feels small and insignificant as one stands before the spectacular canyons, valleys, glaciers, and basins and so on in Tibet.

Tibet is actually a land of natural treasures. A number of natural reserves within the region are the home to many rare and valuable wild animals and plants like lesser pandas, yaks, cranes and virgin cypress, spruces and snowdrops among others. The land also produces large amounts of minerals, water energy, wind energy, terrestrial heat and solar energy. Yangpachen is just the first research center for terrestrial heat in China.

Kailash Yatra 2013 Departure