Gyantse: Day 22-23 (Elevation 3997M / 13050FT)
October 11, 2010, 10:13 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Ahhhh, Gyantse. It may well be my favorite town in central Tibet. I don’t actually know it that well, I’m never able to spend more than a day or two on my way to and from Lhasa, but it always impresses me. Somehow it has retained that slower pace. Local farmers still mozie into town on horse-drawn carts and after stocking up on supplies they plop themselves down on the sidewalks and have a picnic.  They sit for hours drinking homemade barley beer and playing games– but not in a lazy, good-for-nothin’ sort of way; more in a wholesome, hard-working-farmer-deserves-a-picnic sort of way. Real joie de vivre. You also still see livestock roaming around and I even experienced a Gyantse cowboy running his herd of horses through the main street. Anyway, I’m happy to see that Gyantse remains great.

It’s also beautiful, with the ancient fort, temple buildings and old town still standing. Below is the Kumbum, meaning 1,000 images, built in 1427. It is the largest chorten in Tibet with 6 floors and 77 chapels, each housing a deity. It’s fun (and a bit head twirling) visiting each as you do kora. It reminds me of a big, elaborately frosted birthday cake:

We then head up to the Gyantse dzong or fort, which was built in 1390. The dzong played a big part in the British invasion of 1904. Tibetan forces were able to keep Younghusband and his men at bay for about two months with only primitive weapons.

Despite the warning, we did not take a “devious route”:

The view of the old town from the top:

Strange promptings at the cliff’s edge (we didn’t follow this advice either): 

Chloe and Simon on the stairs that were a lot more vertigo-enducing on the way down:

After a day and night in Gyantse, we head the rest of the way toward Lhasa: our final destination as a group. Our route took us past Yamdrok Tso, one of the three major sacred lakes of Tibet. It is over 45 miles long and is the site of a hydropower station, the largest in Tibet.  A shot of the resulting resevoir below:

Our excellent drivers taking a rest by the lake. Pema, left, is my personal fave. He’s too cool:

And onto Lhasa…


1 Comment so far
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Jump off the cliff! Classic.

Comment by Kiki

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