Sunday, 30 May 2010

Around Lhasa

Day 7: In the morning we visit Drepung Monastery built in 1416, spread up a hillside, six miles west of Lhasa. Before 'liberation' 9,990 monks lived here making it the largest monastery in Tibet. Now only there are only 500 in residence but the recently repaired assembly hall is huge. Building work is happening all around, repairing damage. Here too pigs were kept during the Cultural Revolution.
Sara Monastery, built in 1419 and Tibet's second largest, is a delight. In the dappled afternoon sunshine young monks give an animated display of the art of debating - with much provocative stamping and loud clapping to drive home a point.
Early evening I walk the chora around Jokhang Temple, every inch of the route packed with stalls selling prayer flags, hand printed scriptures, emerald jewelry, trinkets, monk's maroon and saffron robes, incense sticks and hand held prayer wheels. I dodge between a stream of prostrating pilgrims and a squad of riot police armed mostly with tear gas rifles, buy a Potala Palace tee shirt and hike back to the floodlit palace to say goodbye.
Photos of excursions around Lhasa.

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