Gyantse,  Tibet, China Week 130 September 24th 2013
Ali has a "thing" about haystacks.
And dung heaps.
And ruins.

Some of which looked "fortified".

Built in 1390 Gyantse Dzong doesn't seem to have seen much action at all until the British invaded from Sikkim in India around 1903.

With the defeat of the Tibetan army the route to Lhasa was open so Younghusband took that next while the Dalai Lama fled..

We didn't visit but the cultural spin in the museum is that the Tibetans were defending China.

Our first glimpse of the Baiju Temple, and Pekor Choda Monastery at Gyantse.
The monastery houses three Buddhist sects co-existing in harmony.

Built in 1418.

About 70 monks.

This is the entrance to the assembly hall.

No interior photos.

Though here there's a subtle twist.

Pay enough and we would have been free to take photos.

We contented ourselves with rooftop photos from the main chapel.

The Great Stupa Kubun is next door.

Home to 77 rooms and one hundred thousand statues and paintings.

On several levels.

We climbed towards the top.

No mean feat as we are still above 4,500m and a tad breathless.

Poked our head into every chapel as we proceeded.

Though our enthusiasm for finding "something different" soon wained.

Fueled though by a remarkable bit of market economics.

Who could resist all the photo opportunities to be presented by 100,000 images for a meager 10 Yuan?

We persevered.

Without a clue what we were looking at.

We watched the Tibetans carefully for a clue to the meaning.

We did observe that Buddhism may be a mostly solitary pursuit.

Despite that the artwork was exquisite to our untrained eye.
We aren't sure if there's a darker, evil, side to Buddhism or this is the manifestation of a "light" side defending itself against the dark.
The red building at the top seems to have some significance.

The Tibetans we saw were distinctly different with long platted hair (extended with yak hair).

From Quinghai province to the north.

We watched some labour their way up the hill.

Another phased array radar?
We couldn't quite work this bit out until someone climbed up a bit and started handling the stones sitting in their "pigeon holes".

What story could be told.

So we descended from the top of the stupa, making sure we got our 10 yuan worth.

I have to mention the hats.

Not only are women elegant they also wear the most magnificient variety of hats.

To provide shade and put Camilla to shame.

The smaller chapel of the Sakya Sect.
Did I mention Ali has a thing about haystacks.

A different area, a different state of harvest.

The Kharola Pass is 5,010m.

Is the black smoke from the engine exhaust getting worse? Is the red light an indication we are damaging the engine, or simply an inevitable consequence of altitude?

To find the answer to these and other pressing questions wait until lower altitudes are reached as Mitsubishi/Fuso/Mercedes are worse than unhelpful in the pursuit of product knowledge.

The Kharola Glacier hangs menacingly above the road.

Well, back a bit really, but its about time some melodrama was introduced into the trip.

The scenic area has an entrance fee.

Thus ensuring an empty car park and a minor traffic jam .

The Chinese tourists stop about 300m south west of here for their photographs.

A small, but obviously important, token rebellion.

Down towards Lhasa.

More ruined "fortifications".

A different sort of meal in a restaurant at Langkazi.

When it arrived it was yak meat, pickled radish, potatoes and rice.

Lots of them.

Camped beside the lake (Yamzbo Yunzco). 

We asked the passing farmer if we could stay the night.


As long as you don't leave litter around like the other tourists.

Lhasa, Tibet, China Week 130 September 25th - 27th 2013

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