The city of Lhasa has deep historical and religious roots, so travelers to this thriving city will find easy access to some of Tibet’s most prized palaces and impressive monasteries. It’s possible to tour some of the best in a single day, or spend a long weekend wandering the well-kept gardens and quiet temples that have made this city famous.
Tucked into Lhasa’s iconic Red Hill, this sprawling structure is stationed some 12,000 feet above sea level, making it the highest palace in the world. In addition to a printing house, school, seminary and garden, travelers will find an iconic cave that dates back to the seventh century and ornate, colorful murals detailing religious events. And while the towering structures are well worth a visit, travelers say it’s the awe-inspiring views that make a voyage to Potala so memorable.
In the 1930s, Drepung Monastery ranked among the largest monasteries in the world. And while the number of monks who live and study here has decreased, it’s still a place of learning for those looking to follow the faith. Travelers can see practicing monks on a visit to Drepung and also check out the vast courtyards and dense forest that make this destination a perfect place to experience peaceful reflection.
Pilgrims from around the world make the trip to Jokhang Temple, where the blessed Jowo Buddha stands. This four-story structure has bronze covered roofs and sits in the center of Barkhor Square in the historic section of Lhasa. An impressive collection of more than 800 metal sculptures and thousands of painted scrolls is housed in Jokhang, although they are not open to the public.
This quiet monastery, located on a green mountaintop just outside Lhasa, is an ideal destination for outdoor adventurers looking for a touchstone to Buddhism with the backdrop of nature. Scenic hiking trails surround this monastery, and epic views of the picturesque valley are best from the backside of the mountain.