Sam's Exotic Travel Photos of Gyantse Tibet- Agricultural Community Located on Trade Route from India
Gyantse, located 200 km over the mountainous road from Lhasa and 90 km west of Yamdrok Yumtse Lake, is a small agricultural community today, but ione rich in history. Located on the trade route between India and Tibet, Gyantse grew famous for its woolen carpets which were considered among the finest in all of Tibet. The trade routes were closed by the Chinese after their 1950 occupation, but Gyantse remains as a reminder to more glorious days.
Our first view of Gyantse was of the Dzong Fort at the crest of the hill approaching the city. Dzong is an imposing site towering high above Gyantse, giving it a mystic quality. Completed in the fifteen century, it once housed the governor of Gyantse and its administrative offices. Reachable only by a tedious twenty minute walk, the fort lies abandoned today and many of its interior walls and buildings are in disrepair.
At the other end of town, the walled Pelkor Chode, also built in the early fifteen century, once contained a number of monasteries from three different branches of Buddhism. Only one survived the Culltural Revolution, which is run by Gelugpa monks today. The most famous structure within its walls is the Kumbum Stupa, an octagonal five-story structure, signifying the five steps to enlightenment. It is said there are 100,000 Buddhist images painted on its interior walls and 300 statues – all of which remain intact. The stupa contains over 100 doorways and 77 chapels.
Gyantse’s old quarter, between the monastery and the fort, is like taking a step back in time to simpler days, as my pictures demonstrate. Stores are located along Gyantse’s two main streets, whose buildings are typical Chinese style construction.
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