There are many distinctive scenic spots in the Shigatse. From Lhasa (271 km) or Gyantse (95 km) along the Yarlung Zangbo River go upstream, passing through the Yamdrok-Tso Lake, one of the three holy lakes in Tibet, you will enter the Shigatse region. Continuing south from Shigatse, you will reach the beautiful world of glaciers and the “the highest peak in the world”, Mount Everest, and then go west to the Zhangmu Port, the border crossing with Nepal. Shigatse has become one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Tibet with its ancient culture, majestic monastery architecture, magnificent natural landscape, and superior geographical location.
Among them, the most famous is the Tashilumpo Monastery, the traditional residence of the second Tibetan spiritual leader, the Panchen Lama.
Originally built in 1447 by the first Dalai Lama, it served for a long time as a fortress for the Tsang kings and played an important place in the history of the Tibetan people. It is one of the must-see sites in Tibet due to its very richly decorated buildings, the copper statue of Buddha Maitreya, and the various stupas of the Panchen Lama which reflect the richness of the place.
If you wish, you can take a walk on the path that surrounds the monastery with the pilgrims and continue with a visit to the local Shigatse market.
About twenty kilometers from Shigatse is the Shalu Monastery, which has a unique architecture in mixed styles of Han and Tibetan. Inside this monastery, the Sakya school houses many Buddhist sculptures, paintings, and some carefully guarded treasures.
Further away from Shigatse city (150km), the Sakya Monastery has a distinctive architecture in opposition to the Tibetan style, and it is in a purely Mongolian style. Blending perfectly into the rocky landscape of Mount Bonpori, Sakya Monastery has a grayish color that is the origin of its name “Sakya” which means grayish earth in Tibetan. The buildings are decorated with white horizontal bands under the roofs and vertical red stripes in the corners, the colors used for the Sakya sect.
How to Go to Shigatse?
There is an airport at Shigatse which has some flights to several main cities in China, like Chongqing, Chengdu, and Xi’an. But most visitors go to Lhasa first, then go to other places. You can take a train from Lhasa to Shigatse, but we suggest you rent a private car for your Tibetan trip because the foreigners have to join their journey organized by a local travel agency. In addition, you can appreciate the different beautiful sites on the route, like the snowy mountains, the blue lakes, etc.
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