Once known as the mysterious capital city of the forbidden Kingdom of Tibet, Lhasa today has became one of the top travel destinations of the world. It is like your gateway to explore Tibet, the experience so thrilling and unforgettable that you will cherish for all your life.
Located at an altitude of 3,490 metres (11,450 ft), Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world, and it used to be known as the highest capital city in the world during the height of Tibetan empire. The divine city contains many culturally important Tibetan Buddhist holy sites such as the Potala Palace, Jokhang temple, Norbulingka Palace, and many more.
As well-narrated in the travel notes of renowned 17th century Italian Jesuit missionary Ippolito Desideri, Lhasa had a cosmopolitan community of Mongol, Chinese, Muscovite, Armenian, Kashmiri, Nepalese and Northern Indian traders in 1716, with the prevalence of basic international trade operation at that time.
Lhasa literally means “place of the gods”. A glance at Tibetan history tells us that the divine city was initially established by Songtsen Gampo, the great king of Tibet in the seventh century where he built the first structures on the site of what is now the Potala Palace on Marpori Hill.
This was followed by the construction of Jokhang Temple and Ramoche Temple to house the statues of Akshobhya Vajra (depicting the Buddha at the age of eight) and the Jowo Sakyamuni (depicting Buddha at the age of twelve), which were brought to Tibet respectively by Princess Bhrikuti of Nepal and Princess Wen Cheng of the Imperial Tang court of China.
In the more recent context, it is the administrative capital of Tibetan Autonomous Region of China. The holy city is located in the South Central part of the Region, on the North bank of the Tsangpo River in a beautiful valley surrounded by majestic mountains from four sides. The urban population of the city is estimated to be around 200,000. The city is well-connected by both air and train routes.
Lhasa has been the Mecca of Tibetan Buddhism and culture for centuries with its rich history and tradition. So the city is definitely a key destination of your Tibet tour to gain authentic Tibetan experiences.