Shigatse, Tibet – Tashilhunpo Monastery

by sebastien on January 9, 2011

Shigatse was probably our favourite town in Tibet. It's not quite as "occupied" as Lhasa is, and retained a lot of charm and history. We found the people to be very friendly and a wander around the streets and markets allowed us to engaged with them more. They were always intrigued with seeing the pictures we took of them and would quickly crowd around the camera. So fun! Hit the jump to find more.

Shigatse Market, Tibetan, Basket, Notebook

Here are a few more photos from around the streets near our hotel. The guy sitting in the lawn chair was pretty sharp...

Shigatse, Street, Smoking, Winnie the Pooh, Sitting

In Lhasa there is the Potala Palace that was the (former) residence of the Dalai Lama. In Shigatse there is the Tashilhunpo Monastery, the residence of the Panchen Lama, which is the highest rank after the Dalai Lama. There is a fascinating and sometimes unfortunate story behind the choosing of the Panchen Lama in recent decades that you should read up about, but I won't get into it here.

The Tashilhunpo Monastery really caught our attention. Although the other monasteries we've visited thus far in Tibet were active to a certain degree, this one certainly showed the most attendance, with the assembly hall nearly full with monks chanting, and the alleyways outside full of bright yellow hats.

Shigatse, Tashilhunpo Monastery, Monk, Handmade Boots

In the small temples the walls were starting to decay, and you would find small donations stuffed into every crevice you could find. There were paintings and scriptures on nearly every wall.

Shigatse, Tashilhunpo Monastery, Scripture, Donation, Temple

These beautifully worn steep steps that led outside from the back of the main assembly hall caught the outside light very well. You can see both Sejin and our tour guide Tashi faintly at the left. A lot of the residences in the monastery were derelict as you can see in the photo on the right.

Shigatse, Tashilhunpo Monastery, Steep Steps, Doorway Ruins

We only stayed in Shigatse for 2 nights, but it was very memorable. These are only a very small selection of photos from Shigatse. To get a deeper look into our experience, please view the other photos on facebook, Shigatse, Tibet - August 24, 2010.