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TIBET GENERAL INFORMATION

Geography of Tibet

Area : 1.2 million sq.km

Capital : Lhasa

Temperatures : 23C/73F in summer -15C/5F in winter

Population : 2.2 million

with an average elevation of over 4,000 m, Tibet is considered to be the highest region in the world and is often called the "Roof of the World." This comes as no surprise, especially since southern Tibet is located in the Himalayas, which contains many of the world's highest summits. In addition to its incredible heights, Tibet is also one of the most isolated areas on earth, with most of the people living in elevations ranging from 1200 m to 5100 m. One of the most famous peaks found in Tibet is Mount Everest (8848 m), the highest mountain in the world.

Tibet with it's mountains is the source and dividing line of the Asian continent's major rivers, with the Brahmaputra being the most important. Many of the rivers in Tibet can be used for hydroelectricity, but this potential hasn't been developed as of yet.

The Festivals of Tibet

New Year (February or March)
It is the greatest festival in Tibet. In ancient times when the peach tree was in blossom, it was considered as the starting of a new year. Since the systematization of the Tibetan calendar in 1027 A.D., the first day of the first month became fixed as the new year. On the New Year's day, families unite " auspicious dipper" is offered and the auspicious words " tashi delek" are greeted.

Saga Dawa Festival (May or June)
It is the holiest in Tibet, there memorable occasions coincide on this day, Buddha's birth and Buddha's enlightenment. Almost every person within Lhasa join in circum ambulating round the city and spend there late afternoon on picnic at " Dzongyab Lukhang" park at the foot of Potala.

Gyantse Horse Race (May or June)
Horse race and archer are generally popular in Tibet, and Gyantse enjoys prestige of being the earliest in history by starting in 1408. Contests in early times included horse race, archery, and
Shooting on gallop followed by a few days' entertainment or picnicking. Presently,ball games, track and field events, folk songs and dances, barter trade are in addition to the above.

Changtang Chachen Horse Race Festival (10 August)
As the most important festival in North Tibet during the golden season on the grassland, thousand of herdsmen throng to Nakchu riding fine horses, and carrying the local products. They form as city
Of tens south of Nakchu town. There will be thrilling horse race, archery and demonstrations of horsemanship. Songs and dance troupes from all part of Tibet will add to the fun.

Harvest Festival (September)
The farmers in Lhasa, Gyantse and Shangnan to celebrating their bumper harvest in this time. During that time, people enjoy with horse racing games, costume fashion show, songs and dance Archery and picnic etc.

Kungbu Traditional Festival (November of December)
Long long ago,when Tibet was in danger of large scale invasion, the Kongpo people sent out an army to defend their homeland.It was in September and the soldiers worried that they might miss the New Year,highland barley wine and other good things. So people had the Tibetan New Year on
1st October
ahead of time. To memorize those brave soldiers Kongpo people present three sacrifices and stay up at night from then on. And now it has become the Kongpo Festival for entertainment like Kongpo dancing, horse race, archery and shooting.

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Rivers and Lakes in Tibet

Tibet is full of rivers and lakes, which provides abundance of hydroelectric power and aquatic products. Bushy banks of the rivers and lakes are the homes of swans and geese.If you do not watch your step,you might stride on their eggs.On the banks of the salt water lakes,there are great heaps of alkali which also contains niters and borax.

The Yaluzangbu River.As long as 2,057 km, the Yaluzangbu River turns and twists like a silver dragon from the west to the east into the valleys of South Tibet.It runs through Muotuo county.After a 90-degree turn,it empties into the Indian Ocean.People could have a good time with their yak hide boats on canoes in the upper level of the River with going down to the lower level is quite exciting and challenging.

The Manasarovar Lake-A Holy Lake The lake is situated 30km southeast of Mt.Holy.It has an area of 400 square km.The Buddhists believe that the lake is the bestow from the heaven.The holy water can cure all kinds of diseases,wash people clean and get rid of people's worries.After walking around the lake and taking baths at the four bathing Gates,the pilgrims can be free from sins and can be bestow happiness.The great monk Juan Zhuang praised it " the Holy Lake in the West Heaven".
Not far from the lake stands Mt.Holy.It does not only attracts pilgrims but also many tourists from home and abroad.

Fish Store-the Yangzongyong Lake: The Yangzongyong Lake is within Langkamu county, with an area of 638 square km and a coastal line of 250 km.The deepest point is 60 meters. There is plenty of natural fodder for the fish in the lake. The lake have a fish reserve of about 300 million kg. That is why it is called "the Fish Store of Tibet". A lot of colorful ducks and geese are swimming on the surface of the lake. The coast of the lake is an ideal pasture. All these make an intoxicating quite picture.

The Namu Lake: With an area of 1940 square km,the Namu Lake is the 2nd largest salt water lake. In the lake there are 3 islands, which is an ideal habitat for all kinds of aquatic life.One of the islands is made of calcareous sandstone. It is characterized by the stone pillars,natural stone bridges and the stalactite caves. The beaches of the lake are a beautiful natural pasture. Wildlife is having a good time there.

Religion of Tibet

No other religion apart from Buddhism has been able to take root in Tibet. Only a small population of about 2,000 throughout Tibet have faith in Islam, while there is no trace of Christianity at all. The Bon, the aborigine religion of Tibet, a sect of Shamanism which chiefly worshipped idols and the Nature and practiced driving off of evil spirits, had at one time prevailed in Tibet but lost round with the penetration of Buddhism.

Thus, Buddhism can as well be said to the sole religion of Tibet, and the faith has taken so deep in root that it means almost everything to the Tibetans as already mentioned. Well-to-do families even built in their compound their private chapels of prayer-rooms. to begin with, the first Buddhist scripture printed in Sanskrit was said to have been descended from Heaven in the 5th century during the reign of 28th Tsanpo Tho-Tho-Ri Nyantsan. It was translated into Tibet, and later in the 8th century after the visit the Indian Master Padmasambhava, the spread of Buddhism got accelerated and religious sect started taking shape. In the 11th century the visit of the Bengali Master, Atisha, to Tibet greatly encouraged the study of Buddhism into Tibet and sowed the seed for Gelugpa, the greatest sect that was to come. Finally, in the 15th century, Tsongkapa, the great reformer of Tibetan Buddhism, came to Tibet from Qinghai and founded the Gelugopa sect, the Order of Excellence, and here after Buddhism went all-out spreading like a wild fire into Tibet and the absolute ruler both of the claret and the state is another decisive victory for Buddhism to rise to its paramount as the religion of the entire Tibetan nationality.

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