There is a lot that is said about Lhasa. This city has seen peace, war, conflict, and struggle, but today, it’s all the more beautiful for it. If there’s anything that can be said about Lhasa it is the fact that there is no need to be inhibited about planning a trip to this city, which is eclectic yet traditional, conflicted and yet has the most welcoming people, and may look barren but is vivid and lively from within. After all, ‘Lhasa’ itself means ‘Place of the Gods’. So, here is a list of the top five things that you should do and see in Lhasa. The rest we leave for you to discover with the help and hospitality of the local people, which is the best way to plan a trip to Lhasa. By Shubhanjana Das
1. Jokhang Temple
It is said that no journey to Lhasa is complete without visiting the Jokhang Temple, such is its importance to the local culture and the people. After all, being the oldest Buddhist temple in Tibet, it is considered the most sacred temple in the whole country. This 7th Century temple is painted in the traditional red and gold hues of a Buddhist religious site with Barkhor street around the temple swarmed by worshipers chanting or turning the prayers wheels.
2. Tibetan Cuisine
If you have gourmet global cuisine in mind while visiting Lhasa, we suggest you clear that misconception for Lhasa is all about its eccentric and unique local delicacies. To get a taste of tsampa (barley flour), yak momo, and butter tea (among hundreds other dishes), we suggest you find Tibetan Family Kitchen at the bustling Barkhor Street to taste local food made by the master chefs of this small family-owned restaurant. By the way, this unassuming restaurant is considered one of the best in Lhasa and also offers cooking classes! Where do we sign up? Besides, House of Shambala and Po Ba Tsnag are also worth a try.
3. Potala Palace
The home of the Dalai Lama. The central figure of traditional administration in Tibet. A watchful guardian of Tibetan culture and history. Potala Palace is all that and so much more! From the 7th century, this building has been the residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled Tibet and sought refuge in India. Once you climb a considerable number of stairs, look back at the panoramic view of the town before you go ahead and explore the interiors of this UNESCO World Heritage Site.
4. Tibetan Peaceful Liberation Monument
How can you say that you have visited Lhasa if you don’t acquaint yourself to its political status quo and the struggles that the whole country has experienced? The Tibetan Peaceful Liberation Monument, situated to the South of the Potala Square, is a modern replication of Mount Qomolangma. This monument signifies the peaceful liberation monument, thereby implicating in itself the ideals and hopes for freedom, peace, joy, struggle, and the perseverance of the people of Tibet.
5. Chagpo Ri Rock Carvings
One of the hidden gems of Lhasa, the Chagpo Ri Rock carvings are a result of painted rock carvings on the back of the Chagpo Ri river. The timeline? Over a millennium! The carvings fall on the route of the Lingkhor pilgrim and are a site where you can see worshipers build a large chorten made entirely out of their mani stones.