Solene is our specialist of Tibet, Nepal and Bhoutan. Fascinated by these regions, she often goes there to find new places to discover, new monasteries and new villages which can bring to your trip authenticity and adventure.
Tibet is simply one of the most remarkable places in Asia. It offers fabulous monasteries, breathtaking high- altitude treks, stunning views of the world’s highest mountains and one of the most likeable peoples you will ever meet.
With this quote the image of Tibet has been created by one of world’s most famous travel guides Lonely Planet. However, Tibet holds more than a religious place. People in Tibet, whether natives or visitors, get a strong sense of place because they have a certain feeling of belonging to that place. There are things which they can only find when they are in Tibet. Like Agnew and Duncan describe, it “refers to the emotional, experiential and affective traces that tie humans into particular environments.” But not only locals see Tibet as something extraordinary, also people from far away come all the way to Tibet to experience it on first hand. Motivations are such as the religion (for example pilgrims), culture or leisure. For tourists who are especially interested in some adventure they can visit places where monasteries are less visited. The landscapes of Tibet are as diverse as its culture itself. In the north one can find grassland, in the west mars-like deserts can be found, in the south Himalaya snowy mountains can be seen and in the centre are valleys and big lakes. Going through Tibet one can observe how Tibetans live their everyday life. With that, one is able to experience their culture. Behind every single place is a story. This shows the way Tibet is shaped by its great history. According to Lonely Planet the key to Tibet’s soul is one of the many pilgrim routes . Many tourists have come to get out of their everyday life and to experience Tibet in a calm and friendly way for relaxation. These different aspects show that Tibet offers a great diversity and with that every single one of us will have a different impression, when one will go there to experience it.
The Buddhist plateau of Tibet is the highest region in the world with an average elevation of 4,900m, thus the sobriquet “roof of the world”. The country generally experiences genial weather, punctuated with snowfall or rainfall from time to time.
Climate of Tibet
Summer lasts from May to September, with warm days and cool nights. The higher altitude regions, especially northern and western Tibet, however can witness chilly days. As the thin air at this height can make the sunshine pretty intense in peak months, early summer is a better time to visit Tibet.
History of Tibet
You hear the word ‘Tibet’ and you immediately think ‘politics’ and ‘revolution’. Tibet has had a long and eventful past, being both independent and occupied at various points in its history. Part of China for many years, yet with a clearly distinctive culture, Tibet has a unique character.
From the 6th century when Buddhism was first introduced till the 16th century, various dynasties ruled the region including the Yuan and Phagmodrupa dynasties. The first Europeans to set foot on Tibet in 1624 were Portuguese missionaries who were allowed to build a church and introduce Christianity.
Gastronomy of Tibet
The most important foods in Tibet are barley, meat and dairy products. Being a high mountainous region with scanty rainfall, vegetation is sparse, so you won’t see a lot of veggies on your plate. Tsampa is the staple food of Tibetans, made from barley flour dough and rolled into noodles or made into steamed dumplings called momos. Dairy foods are the other ubiquitous items on a Tibetan table. Yak butter is a favourite among Tibetan people, which is separated from yak milk by hard churning. It’s considered highly nutritious and deliciously smooth. Yak yoghurt and cheese are also commonly had.
Tibet is the original home of Tibetans and the population today primarily consists of ethnic Tibetans along with other cultural communities such as Menpa, Han, Chinese, Sherpa, Dengs and Luopa. Tibet has had a tumultuous past, see-sawing between independence and forced rule. The Chinese took control in the 1950s after the 14th Dalai Lama fled the country and today Tibet is governed as an autonomous region of China. The exiled Central Tibetan Administration of the Dalai Lama, residing in Dharamshala (Himachal Pradesh) in India, accuses China of bombarding Tibet with migrants with the ulterior motive of altering the demographic makeup.
Religion has been the mainstay and defining aspect of Tibetan life for centuries and has fundamentally shaped Tibetan identity. Tibetan Buddhism has been the key religion in Tibet since the 8th century. However, all but eight of the 6,000 monasteries and nunneries in Tibet were ransacked and destroyed by the Chinese communists during the ‘Cultural Revolution’ from the 1960s to the 1970s. Religious artefacts and scripts were burned, and monks and religious leaders were imprisoned. Today, efforts of the Tibetans have partially revitalised the major monasteries, albeit many remain in ruins. Religious freedom is limited, but the wilful nature of the Tibetans stays indomitable.
It’s worth planning your trip in such a way that you get to partake in a Tibetan festival. The Tibetan New Year is celebrated with the Losar festival in February or March. It is the most widely celebrated festival in the country. Lhasa is the place to be to witness the full splendour of this event, whether it’s the brightly coloured streets and houses or the ritualistic offerings to deities. Losar is followed by the Great Prayer Festival or Monlam, celebrated through dancing, sports and picnics. The last day of this festival is celebrated as Butter Oil Lantern festival. Saga Dawa, usually held in June, is marked by the burning of incense sticks and picnics.
Come , Explore Experience Enriche!!!