Surrounded by the Himalayas, the highest mountains in the world, lies a hidden treasure, the highlands of Tibet, one of the most fascinating regions on Earth. In Lhasa, the capital of Tibet that is also known as ‘city of the gods’, religion plays a special role in the lives of its population and hordes of pilgrims pack themselves into the sacred route that leads around the Jokhang Temple, Lhasa’s most important sacred building. The origin of the most famous building in Lhasa is the Potala Palace that dates back to the time of Songtsen Gampo in 637 A.D. It became known worldwide mainly due to its function as having been the former seat of government of Tibet and as the official residence of the Dalai Lama. Drepung was once the richest monastery in Tibet as can be seen by the abundant furnishings of the monastery, despite the dramatic events of the more recent past. In contrast with many other Tibetan monasteries this holy district suffered little destruction and the Cultural Revolution that was forced upon Tibet by China only brought about a temporary lull in the life of the monastery. One of the biggest and most important monuments of Tibet’s sacred architecture is the amazing Kumbum Chorten, a three-dimensional mandala that can be entered. After the ritual journey through Kumbum Chorten the route symbolically passes through the entire Buddhist path of deliverance to as far as Nirvana. Tibet, the ‘land of holy monks’ on the roof of the world has a truly unique atmosphere and is most certainly a land that breathes original beauty and remarkable monastery culture.
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