Discover travel destinations of travelers writing a travel journal on FindPenguins.

24 travelers at this place

  • Oct16

    Ceng Gu Buddhist Nunnery

    October 16, 2019 in China ⋅ ☀️ 12 °C

    Shortly before he died some of his disciples asked the Buddha, “Teacher, shall we allow women into our number or not?” Gautama replied, “I don’t know. I’ve never really thought about it, but, I don’t see why we shouldn’t.” So from the earliest days of the new religion, women were allowed on an equal footing with men. Today we went to visit a Buddhist nunnery located in a densely populated neighborhood in Lhasa. Before we reached the ornate ceremonial gate of the nunnery, however, we passed a number of shops selling women’s dresses, fruit and electric appliances.

    “These shops belong to the nuns,” my guide told me. “They raise money and it supports their work here in the community.”

    “What is their work,” I asked.

    “They have a small private school here, but their main work is to run their neighborhood clinic. They have a doctor trained in both traditional and modern medicine. Some of the nuns are nurses, other clean the facility, others are simply chore workers, but they do much good here.”

    A few more steps took me through an elaborate archway painted in ornate designs of blue and gold. It led to a plain courtyard whose main attraction was a tall staff that looked like a flagpole covered with a rainbow of prayer cloths. Tibetan Buddhists believe these colored, meter-square colored cloths represent prayers. They string them on lines draped from the top of the flagpole. Then at a religious celebration, the flagpole is twisted, and it becomes a color clad monument to the prayers they have offered.

    As I passed by an open door I saw that the nuns were filling a need in this poor community. A room full of older adults and children waited to see the doctor. We happened to arrive at lunchtime when the nuns were eating their common midday meal. The first red-robed figure I saw looked like a boy with shaved head. Then I saw that the monk had a beautiful face, and I realized that she was a nun, maybe sixteen years of age. I saw others whose gender was hard to determine. Nevertheless, they welcomed us with smiles and had already given our guide permission to allow us to photograph them at their meal. On several instances my eye caught that of a nun. Whenever that happened she would smile. I would nod, and she would return the greeting.

    Whatever their religion, I feel that God must be very pleased with the work these women are doing to help their neighbors. I can only guess what effect they may be having on the people in their poor community, but I know they certainly had an effect on me.
    Read more

  • Oct16

    Potala Palace--The Lost World

    October 16, 2019 in China ⋅ 🌙 0 °C

    The Potala Palace was built in the eighth century and destroyed in the eleventh. It was rebuilt and stands today perched high upon its mountain. The 1.7 mile climb up is arduous but worth the effort. Unfortunately photographs were not allowed inside the former residence of the Dalai Lama. Even so, the pictures we were allowed to take on the outside of the building were remarkable. Until 1959 this was the home of the spiritual and political leader of Tibet, but when the fourteenth Dalai Lama was unwilling to embrace Maoism, he was spirited away by some of his followers across the border to India, where he set up a government in exile.

    The inside of the building is dark, smoke-filled with incense and festooned with colorful flags, pennants and banners hanging down from the roof and the rafters. Prayer wheels line the hallway leading to the Dalai Lama’s quarters. In his sitting room along the sides of the floors are colorful khangs, shin-high couches with velvet covered cushions. Some cushions are deep blue, burgundy, or even burnt orange. The thick incense smoke chokes visitors. Breathing is so difficult that the queue of tourists threading through the thirty rooms we saw stuffed handkerchiefs, scarves and masks over their noses. Dim, colored light trickles in through elaborately patterned stained-glass windows. A knee-high table holds a book, a prayer wheel, and a pair of glasses. Money from all over the world, offerings from devout worshippers, litters the floor in front of the table,. A display case holding a golden statue of the Buddha and two companion covers the entire opposite wall. The statue was two hundred years old when Jesus was born.

    Adjacent to this room is the library containing ancient books, translations from the original Sanskrit writings transported into Tibet centuries before Christ. These books themselves are quite old. Tibetan paper does not change color or become brittle over time, and in this dry climate can books last for millennia.

    Other dimly lit rooms hold more statues of the Buddha, some life-sized, some much larger. Always the thick cloud of incense almost obscures the view. Some statues are made of gold, others of lifelike polychrome ceramic. Some are smiling, others displaying fierce faces ward off evil. There are even female Buddhas, reminders that the Buddha has been reincarnated many times, sometimes as male, sometimes as female. These motherly goddesses called Tatas are especially adored by people who need a compassionate friend in the upper world.

    One of the most attractive rooms in the building is the assembly room. Here the Dalai Lama lectured his student for two hours each day. The room is large and comfortable, with palettes and khangs spread all around the floor. Narrow walkways wide enough only for a monk’s foot allow access to the center of the room. The ornate painted and carved ceiling is supported by square burgundy columns, smaller at the top than the bottom. The borders of each face of the two dozen identical columns display royal blue with gold painted trim. As in all the other rooms of the palace, the view is obscured by billowing clouds of incense smoke and tiny colored windows that make seeing difficult. Multicolored banners and prayer flags adorn the cushions on the floor and sag from the rafters above. The room is cluttered with them. Nearby in an adjacent room is a huge golden statue of the Buddha accompanied by famous Bodisattvas of history. Connecting rooms contain huge stupas covering the graves of other beloved teachers who were incarnated as the Dalai Lama.

    Eastern theology tends to be more poetic than prosaic, so one should not be surprised to learn that there has only been one Dalai Lama. He has been reincarnated, however, in fourteen different bodies. Yet, whenever and wherever he lives, the Dalai Lama is believed to be the same individual. The current Dalai Lama is over ninety years old. When he dies it will be interesting to see whether he names the person whose body will house his spirit in the next lifetime. Will he rule the government in exile in India? Will he live in the United States? Will his death mark the end of the Tibetan tradition of Buddhism. It will be interesting to see how all of these issues play out in years to come.
    Read more

  • Day16

    Jokhang Temple

    May 16, 2019 in China ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    Jokhang Temple is in Barkhor Square Tibetians consider this temple as the most sacred and important temple in Tibet. The temple architecture is a mixture of Indian, Tibetian and Nepalease design. It was established in the 7th century. It was impressive inside but unfortunately we could not take photo's which is a shame as the budhas and statues are incredible but I found some on google. Again really hard to learn anything about the temple but hopefully we can find some information when back in Nepal or even Sydney. Both Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple are impressive buildings with so much history and knowledge of Buddhism it is worth reading about.Read more

  • Day16

    On a Mission

    May 16, 2019 in China ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    We went back to Old Town in search of something simple for dinner. Old Town is only a 10min walk away. We walked for nearly 2 hours and could not really find something suitable. So we are back at the Hotel restaurant for pizza.

    The walk in Old Town was great though all the locals are out selling different sorts of food and some of the shops were still open.

    Fitbit Stats:

    20,788 Steps
    31 Flights of Stairs
    14.39 km

    No wonder we are tired.

    Now to watch a movie and ready to hit the road again tomorrow.
    Read more

  • Day22

    Exploring Lhasa

    May 25, 2018 in China ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    We finally recovered from jet lag and now are only suffering with altitude 😂 as a result we were forced to spend a significant amount of time sitting in rooftop terraces with some Lhasa beers, delicious Tibetan food and nice views over the old town at sunset...

    We spent the first few days exploring the old town, including of course Potala palace and Jokhang temple. We also visited the two largest buddhist monasteries in Tibet - they used to host 5000 to 7000 monks each, but now have no more than 400, in part because 80 000 tibetans left for exile in India along with the Dalai Lama, but mainly because the Chinese government decided to control and limit the number of monks who are allowed to live there. It was weird to realize that our guide was not allowed to talk about the current Dalai Lama, and this prohibition was enforced by cameras and mics in our van...

    We saw LOTS of Buddhas, inhaled a lot of yak butter and incense smell (often too much really), learned about the history of Tibet and understood how Buddhism is in practice. We were surprised to see every day lots of people doing pilgrimage and prostration around the palace and the temples, and especially to see how much money it involves. People who do not seem to have a lot give significant amounts of money to each Buddha statue and to each photo of one of the past Dalai Lamas. All this money seems to be used in part for the subsistence of the monks, but a big part seems to go to the scandalously rich tombs of each past Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama, some containing more than 3700 kg of gold...

    Overall, we were surprised by the amount of gold, jewels and other expensive metals in the monasteries as well as all the money many poor Tibetans were giving to their gods. We pictured Buddhism way differently, more focused on the soul and not as much on the luxurious, extravagant objects. We don’t have pictures of these because you have to pay high fees to be allowed! I guess these gods are shy and their keepers greedy...

    Now let’s go see some landscapes. Fingers crossed for the weather to allow good views on our next destination 🤞🏼🏔
    Read more

  • Day11

    Liebes Tibet...

    May 25, 2019 in China ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    ... du wunderschönes Land mit all deiner Geschichte. Du Dach der Welt, Hochplateau auf 5.200m. Du strahlst soviel Ruhe und Spiritualität aus. Obwohl es in dir wohl unruhig zugleich ist. Über 6.000 Klöster und Museen zerstört, über 1000 Tibeter in den Tod gesprungen, Flucht von vielen. So wenig westliche Touristen hab ich gesehen, umso mehr den Zuzug von Chinesen. Man spürt deutlich die Gefahr der Untergrabung von Kultur, Sprache und Identität. Bereits die dritte Generation, geboren und aufgewachsen unter chinesischer Herrschaft, mit weiter stark anhaltendem Widerstandsgeist, gerichtet gegen Willkür und Unrecht. Ich weiss nicht, wieviel Kontrollen, Checkpoints wir durchlaufen haben, wie oft wir unseren Passport zeigen mussten, unzählige Permissions. Selbst ihr, liebe Tibeter durchlauft diese Prozeduren. Und dennoch hatte ich ein Gefühl der Freiheit, denn Euer Land gibt soviel zurück. Man sagt, es gibt kein Tibet Problem und dennoch bleibt die Tibet Frage. Ich bin glücklich, dass ich ein kurzer Teil davon sein konnte, dankbar, dass ihr euer Land für ausländisch Reisende geöffnet habt, hoffe, das eure Kultur bestehen bleibt.Read more

  • Day61

    Sera Monastery

    September 18, 2017 in China ⋅ 🌙 30 °C

    Mönche studieren ihr ganzes Leben lang die Lehren von Buddha und der Welt. Da gehört dann auch dazu sich gegenseitig in seinem Wissen zu messen und abzufragen. Anscheinend zur Belustigung man eines Mönchskollegen.

    Englisch wird in China und hier in Lhasa kaum gesprochen. Leider sind die Meisten hier auch nicht besonders daran interessiert einem Touristen weiter zu helfen. Aus diesem Grund musste ich Restaurants bereits unverrichteter Dinge wieder verlassen, obwohl ich sogar Tiergeräusche nachgeahmt habe. Jetzt hab ich mir im Hotel mal aufschreiben lassen was "Ich bin Vegetarier " auf Mandarin und Tibetisch heißt.

    Did you know: Lhasa heißt übersetzt "Das Land des Himmels".
    Read more

  • Day143

    Lhasa: Paläste, Tempel, viele Gläubige

    January 6 in China ⋅ ⛅ 5 °C

    In der Nacht erklimmt unser Zug langsam das Hochplateau von Tibet. Der Zug wird mit Sauerstoff versorgt, aber wir spüren dennoch die Höhenluft. Die nächsten fünf Tage leiden wir teilweise unter den Auswirkungen der extremen Höhenlage von Tibet:
    Kurzatmigkeit, Schlaflosigkeit und Kopfweh.
    Diese Symptome treten nicht unentwegt auf, sondern besonders Nachts und beim Überqueren hoher Pässe.
    In Lhasa (3600hm) werden wir von unseren Reisebegleitern traditionell durch Umhängen eines weißen Schals am Bahnhof empfangen.
    Die 41 jährige Reiseführerin spricht gut englisch, ist sehr freundlich und stets um unsere Zufriedenheit bemüht. Daneben begleitet uns ein 20 jähriger Nepalese, der bei der nepalesischen Reisagentur, über die wir unsere Tibet Tour gebucht haben, für Tibet zuständig ist und deshalb dieses Land mal selbst ansehen sowie Fotos zu Marketing Zwecken erstellen will. Er spricht wie viele Menschen aus Nepal ebenfalls gut englisch.
    Zu guter letzt gibt es noch unseren Fahrer, der ebenfalls sehr freundlich und gelassen wirkt, mit dem wir aber mangels fehlender gemeinsamer Sprachkenntnisse leider nicht kommunizieren können.
    Soweit wir informiert sind, kann Tibet ohne staatlich legitimierte Begleiter und einer speziellen Erlaubnis nicht bereist werden. Nur innerhalb von Lhasa dürfen wir auch ohne Begleitung herum schlender.
    Auch während der Fahrt durch Tibet fühlen wir uns vom wachsamen Auge der Obrigkeit immer beobachtet. So ist in den Touristenbussen eine Kamera eingebaut, damit der Innenraum eingesehen werden kann und unser Fahrer muss vor zahlreichen über die Straßen gespannten Kameras länger anhalten, weil sonst eine zu hohe Durchschnittsgeschwindigkeit ermittelt wird. Wie das System exakt funktioniert haben wir nicht durchschaut aber dennoch den Druck gespürt, unter dem die Touristenführer stehen. Als die Sprache mal auf die chinesische Regierung kam, wurde diese von der Führerin ob des guten Bildungssystems und anderer Errungenschaften sofort gelobt. Ob das ihre wirkliche Überzeugung ist wissen wir nicht, zumindest geht ihr Sohn auf ein Internat im mehrere 1000 km entfernten Shanghai um bald den Aufbau Chinas als hochausgebildeter High Potential voran zu bringen.
    Den Eindruck, dass die Tibeter an der Ausübung ihrer religiösen Gebräuche gehindert werden bekommen wir bei der Besichtigung der heiligen Stätten Lhasas allerdings nicht. Da die Landbevölkerung in den Wintermonaten am besten Zeit hat, besuchen wir den ehemaligen Palast des Dalai Lamas und den Tempel zusammen mit etlichen traditionel gekleideten Tibetern aus der Provinz, die uns mit großen Augen anschauen. Andere Langnasen sind nur wenige unterwegs.
    Vor und rund um den Tempel, beten viele Buddhisten indem sie sich immer wieder auf den Boden legen und aufstehen oder auf diese Weise zum Tempel pilgern.
    Eine lange Schlange wartet vor dem Tempel um die heilige Stätte zu besuchen, während wir Touristen, da wir Eintrittsgeld gezahlt haben, an allen vorbei geschleust werden. Wir fühlen uns wegen dieser Sonderbehandlung komisch, aber die Tibeter scheinen das nicht als ungerecht zu empfinden, lächeln uns an und freuen sich wenn wir Fotos mit Ihren Kindern machen.
    Die Gassen rund um den Tempel sind mit Geschäften gesäumt, die vor allem religiöse Gegenstände, wie Gebetsmühlen führen. Aber auch Restaurants, Kleidungs- und Handygeschäfte sind in den alte einstöckigen Häusern untergebracht.
    Wir sind beeindruckt von dieser uns fremden Kultur, die sich so sehr von unserer westlichen säkularen unterscheidet.
    Nach zwei Tagen verlassen wir früh morgens mit unseren Begleitern Lhasa in Richtung Nepal, nicht ahnend, dass uns die Umstände nochmal in die Hauptstadt Tibets führen werden.
    Read more

  • Day60

    Jokhang Temple

    September 17, 2017 in China ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    Leider sind Fotos im inneren der Tempel und Klöster meist nicht erlaubt. Schade! Denn im Inneren gibt es unzählige verschiedene Buddhastatuen in teilweise gigantischem Maßstab und über und über in Gold und brilliante Farben gehüllt. Auch Fotos der Mönche sind nicht erwünscht.

    Did you know: Natürlich sind in Tibet Fragen zum Dalailama und zur politischen Situation verboten. Aber sogar das Nutzen des Lonley Planet oder eines anderen Reiseführers über Tibet, ist nicht gestattet.
    Read more

  • Day205


    June 5, 2019 in China ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Wir haben im Tibet nette Menschen und wunderschöne Landschaften angetroffen. Unsere 8 tägige Rundreise war durch viele Klöster, hohe Pässe und viel Autofahren geprägt.

    Der Potala Palast in Lhasa war einst das Zuhause von über 1’000 Mönchen und der Winterpalast des 14ten Dalai Lamas, welcher 1959 nach Indien flüchtete. Heute leben noch 84 Mönchen im Palast, diese sind jedoch Angestellte und werden bezahlt.

    Aktuell ist das Leben der Tibeter und der tibetischen Mönchen nicht so einfach.
    Read more

You might also know this place by the following names:

Jibenggang, Jêbumgang, 吉崩岗

Join us:

FindPenguins for iOSFindPenguins for Android

Sign up now