Temples and monasteries of Tibet are the timeless classics that everyone should see and experience at least once in their life. No place in the entire world is so dedicated to its religion as Tibet is and this is evident from the number of monasteries present and the effort that has gone into preserving them. Visit them and listen to the voiceless stories that they all have to tell.
The Jokhang Temple (Tsuglagkhang) - constructed in the 7th century AD to house the statues of Buddha that princesses Bhrikuti from Nepal and Wen Cheng from Tang Dynasty China brought as gifts for their future husband, King Songtsan Gampo. The temple has been enlarged many times over the centuries and now also houses statues of King Songtsan Gambo and his two famous foreign brides. However, the original statue of Jowo Sakyamuni Buddha that Princess Wen Cheng brought from Chang’an over 1300 years ago is definitely its most sacred and famous possession, and is perhaps the most venerated religious artifact in all of Tibet. The temple, a splendid four-floor building facing west under a guilded rooftop, is on Barkhor Square in the center of the old section of Lhasa.
The Potala Palace (Podrang Potala) - A stronghold probably existed on Red Hill as early as the 7th century AD when King Songtsen Gampo built a fortress on it for his two foreign wives. The palace was rebuilt by the Fifth Dalai Lama in three years, while the Thirteenth Dalai Lama extended and repaired it into what it is now. It became winter palace in 1755 when the Seventh Dalai Lama made the Norbulinka into a summer residence. With over 1 000 rooms, the Potala contained the living quarters of the Dalai Lamas while they lived, and their sumptuous golden tombs when they died. As the religious and political centre of old Tibet and the winter residence of Dalai Lamas, the palace witnessed the life of the Dalai Lamas and the important political and religious activities in the past centuries. Potala Palace also houses great amounts of rare cultural relics including the gold hand-written Buddhist scriptures, valuable gifts from the Chinese emperors and a lot of priceless antiques.
The Norbulingka Summer Palace - The Seventh Dalai Lama constructed the first summer palace in 1755 and each successive ruler added his own buildings. Norbulingka is now undergoing complete restoration. Presently, the complex contains a small zoo, botanical gardens, and a mansion.
The Barkhor Street market a circular street around the Jokhang Temple in the center of the old section of Lhasa, it is the oldest street in a very traditional style in Tibet, where you can enjoy bargaining with the local Tibetan vendors for the handicrafts which are rare to be seen elsewhere in the world. Barkhor Street is one of the most important religious paths along which pilgrims walk around Jokhang Temple while turning prayer wheels in their hands through centuries.
Yamdrok Lake is a coiling, many-armed body of water shaped like a scorpion. It doubles back on itself on the western side, effectively creating a large island within its reaches. For Tibetans, it is one of the four holy lakes of Tibet. And the home of wrathful deities. The lake lies several hundred metres below the road, and in clear weather is a fabulous shade of deep turquoise. Far in the distance is the huge massif of Mt. Nojin Kangtsang (7191m).
Palkhor Temple - The temple is famous for the incredible combinations of temple and stupa that was once seen in monasteries from 13th to 15th century. You will find its main attraction, the Myriad Buddhas Stupa to be immensely ravishing. The stupa has more than 3000 statues in it of many legendary icons from Divine Buddha to famous King Songtsen Gampo. With time, the monastery has become a favored tourist destination and you just can't afford to miss it.
Sakya Monastery - This monastery for sure has to be the most treasured part of Tibetan soil. The monastery, built in 1073 and having more than 900 years of history is considered as the 'Second Danhuang'. The monastery houses around 3000 pieces of sutras and precious work of art that are over thousand years old. The main attraction of the monastery is the Lakhang Chenmo hall that covers more than 5500 sq. m. and has 40 huge pillars. Even the big Chanting Sutra Hall is going to leave you spellbound by its sheer size. The monastery is specially going to be a wonderful treat for all antique and artifact lovers.
Tashilumpo - Tashilumpo Monastery is the seat of the sizeable Panchen Lama sect, Tibetan Buddhism's second leading religious group.
The monastery is an interesting sprawling amalgam of traditional Tibetan monastic style halls, chapels and other structures connected by precipitous steps and narrow cobblestone alleys. The interplay between Tashilumpo's golden roofs and its white, red and black exterior walls creates a striking composition.