Tibet

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naim
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Re: Tibet

Postby naim » Sun Oct 03, 2010 12:11 am

Tibetan Buddhism comprises 5 sects, denoted by the colours of their 'hats': yellow, red, black, white, 'no-colour'. The largest is the yellow sect, which is headed by none other than the exiled Dalai. Today we did two major monasteries of the yellow order, in the vicinity of Lhasa, but still, up more rocky hills and more climbing (no good with thin oxygen)!

Read more here: http://www.tibet-tour.com/tibet/buddhis ... stics.html


___

I start the day off with a slightly nagging headache (no thanks to altitude sickness), and so I decide to try the Tibetan staple food called the 'tsampa'. Who knows it might ward off the friggin' headache. It's basically barley flour mixed with yak butter and tea, and the whole concoction is stirred like eating oats or something. It tastes rather odd, especially the yak butter, and after 3 spoons, I give up! So much about trying to be a Tibetan. :)
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Soon we are in our comfy mini-bus.
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Along the way in downtown Lhasa, an army post with battle-ready personnel. Sort of describes the currrent sentiments.
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Our friend, Lotse, will be the host cum guide. Without him, we are not able to visit sites or leave Lhasa. Born and bred in Lhasa, a true blue Tibetan. Speaks excellent English with a tinge of dark humour. Good bloke.
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We are at a major monastery called Drupeng.
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More info ...
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Huffing and puffing my way up the stone steps, made laborious by the thin oxygen, I'm rewarded with a great view.
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Even better here ... that's the Lhasa river down there. We are at 3,730m above sea level, almost as high as Mt Kinabalu.
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My first encounter with the prayer spinning wheels. Quite heavy, lubricated with yak butter, what else, and seem to be brass. Anyway they spin rather well as I say my prayer. :)
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I have no clue why they like to build monasteries at forbidding spots like this. I guess the tougher the better.
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Scared paintings on some huge boulders up the mountain. No, we are not going there.
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A monk tenderly looks after his little garden. They must be celibate by the way,
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A monastery window.
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Facade of the monastery main building ...
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... but we are accessing it via more steps along a side alley.
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Drupend prides itself as a 'university' for monks and this is their main lecture hall. There are now some 1,000 monks studying here. They started before dawn, and now the class is empty as they are back in their rooms resting.
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More marvellous Tibetan architecture.
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View from the top of the monastery. Note the sacred ornaments on the roof and compare them to facade pic above.
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But still, everybody, monks or otherwise, need some creature comfort.
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Photogs will shoot anything, even a monastery tabby cat.
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Resting on the steps at the main entrance to the monastery, as restoration work progresses below.
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Another splendid view of the Lhasa valley.
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Time to go back to the car park.
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Reminds me of the lanes of the white villages of Andalucia.
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Near the exit, the monks' quarters and a stupa.
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Spartan-looking monks' accommodation block faces the car park.
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Off we go for lunch in downtown Lhasa now!
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===
Pls see my travelogues at http://naim.my - THANKS!

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tuah
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Re: Tibet

Postby tuah » Sun Oct 03, 2010 8:01 am

Bro Naim, what's your camera model?

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nyem
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Re: Tibet

Postby nyem » Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:45 am

tuah wrote:Bro Naim, what's your camera model?

Sony NEX-5 with 18-55 lens. I want one too...
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http://flavors.me/nyem

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naim
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Re: Tibet

Postby naim » Sun Oct 03, 2010 5:08 pm

nyem wrote:Sony NEX-5 with 18-55 lens. I want one too...


Yup, I carry NEX-5, with both lenses 18-55 & 18-200. NEX-5 + 18-55 lens only 470g. :)
Pls see my travelogues at http://naim.my - THANKS!

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sobamy
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Re: Tibet

Postby sobamy » Sun Oct 03, 2010 7:43 pm

tuah wrote:Bro Naim, what's your camera model?


Sony NEX-5 with 18-55 lens are powerful cameras. Better than other DSLRs? See the very clear pics posted by our Bro Naim. Suddenly, I wanna go into photography liao... :) But, I also think it's the Singer with a good song... hehehe...
~~ freely receive ~ freely give ~~

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naim
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Re: Tibet

Postby naim » Sun Oct 03, 2010 8:53 pm

02 October 2010

After a hearty biryani lunch (yes, they make decent biryanis, thanks to influence from the Nepal side), I head for another monastery of the 'Yellow Hat' sect - Sera Monastery - just north of Lhasa.
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Oh no, not another mountainside monastery!
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Well, phew! Not the one above, but a monastery complex just up the shady lane. Sera was founded in 1419 by a student of the founder of the Yellow Hats. It's one of the top 3 monasteries in Tibet.
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I'm tempted to have another spin or two or three ...
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The unique thing about Sera is the method of discussing theological doctrines among the monks.
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It involves expressive gestures as the disciples argues with their teachers, especially loud clappings. To prove a point, perhaps?
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A family of four lapping up the cultural feast.
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A senior monk with his three disciples.
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He's clapping again, so point taken!
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The clapping and the gesturing and the bodily postures happen all over the courtyard.
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Nice white lens! Go Canon Go!
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Across the courtyard, the assembly hall where lectures take place.
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A common sight: elderly pilgrims being led by a daughter, maybe.
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Suddenly the monastery yak appears, and I decide to say bye-bye to Sera Monastery.
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NOTE: Read about Sera here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sera_Monastery

===
Pls see my travelogues at http://naim.my - THANKS!

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moeyhc
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Re: Tibet

Postby moeyhc » Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:28 pm

tuah wrote:Bro Naim, what's your camera model?


Bro Tuah,

These are certainly beautiful pictures.... but,
A camera must have a good photographer to take good pictures. You'll be disappointed if you buy the same camera and the results are far from what you've seen here. Photography is an art where you are the Painter of the thousand words.... Cheers!
Common Sense Is Not Common.

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naim
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Re: Tibet

Postby naim » Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:44 pm

Btw, pls follow me on twitter for the updates:

http://twitter.com/_naim

Thanks!
Pls see my travelogues at http://naim.my - THANKS!

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naim
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Re: Tibet

Postby naim » Sun Oct 03, 2010 11:12 pm

Tibet is synonymous with Potala Palace, and people come to Lhasa for a pilgrimage at Potala. It's the highest ancient palace in the world at 3,800m. It's also a highly politically-charged object, so I'll just say this: it used to be the residence and seat of power of a succession of Dalai Lamas, who ruled Tibet from ancient times till 1959, when the 14th Dalai went into exile till today. So in essence it's an administrative cum religious palace, complete with residential quarters, chambers, chapels, tombs, Buddhist icons, etc. Now officially a museum.

03 October 2010

A beautiful morning from the hotel restaurant as I contemplate my breakfast menu. Definitely no more tsampa adventure as I settle for dumplings, bread and coffee. Harmless stuff.
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I'm soon on my way and along a beautiful autumn avenue ...
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... the object of my Tibetan pursuit appears (well, Mt Everest is the other one, but that's for later). Note the two parts: Red Palace (solely for religious use) and White Palace (administrative and living quarters).
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As I climb the countless steps, I realise that I'm at the Potala finally. I had the same feeling when visiting Alhambra in Spain last year.
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The thin air makes the climb laborious, so I pause to soak in the splendid morning view, and the oxygen. The southern vista.
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I look up, and still a long way to go. Where's the O2 when I need it?
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Reminds me of climbing the Great Wall not too long ago. But we had ample O2 back then.
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A view of Potala Square at the southern edge of the palace grounds.
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Looking west, as the crowd behind me builds up.
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At the top finally, and into a tunnel.
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More steps to climb.
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A humble intro for such a momentous object.
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I am finally in the East Courtyard. The topmost floor where the yellow shades are, was the Dalai's private residence.
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Close-up of the Dalai's bedroom.
[I enter the building, and no photography allowed. Visit includes the Dalai's quarters, chapels, manuscript rooms, tombs of previous Dalais, religious relics, chambers, etc. The whole palace is now a museum, a fantastic one too.]
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I come out of the tour stunned at the splendidness of the palace and the complexity of Tibetan Buddhism. For one thing, they have a concept of 'Future Buddha', who would appear to save mankind before the world ends. A Messiah indeed.
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From a rampart I see the northern part of Lhasa, the new city.
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Beside me, the wall of the Red Palace, totally devoted to religious matters.
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After the long and arduous tour (climbing up and down narrow, steep steps), most visitors take a breather here while enjoying the view and fresh air.
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Exit is along the northern wall of the Potala, so that's the view of modern northern Lhasa.
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The descend towards the east is more gentle and pleasant.
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A nicely done pedestrian tunnel connects the palace grounds to Potala Square.
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The place is full of pilgrims, most carrying this mobile version of the brass spinning prayer wheels found in temples and monasteries. One revolution of the bell marks one prayer, so you could be doing anything as long the bell keeps twirling - you still collect the brownie points.
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Okay, the Potala is a place worth having oneself framed in for posterity, so please allow me ...
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===
Pls see my travelogues at http://naim.my - THANKS!

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nyem
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Re: Tibet

Postby nyem » Mon Oct 04, 2010 3:51 am

Great photo. But next time pls don't stand in front of a lamp post like that. Looks like you are wearing some kind of a headgear on top of your head :lol:

Here I applied some magic to make the lamp post disappear :peace:
DSC03937-magic.jpg
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http://flavors.me/nyem


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