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Tibet - Attractions

A Tibetan monk and pilgrims resting in a barley field near Lhaze, Western Tibet


Lhasa, the heart and soul of Tibet and an object of devout pilgrimage, is still a city of wonders. The Potala, a vast white and ochre fortress, dominates the Lhasa skyline. Once the seat of Tibetan government and the location of the tombs of previous Dalai Lamas, the Potala serves as a symbolic focus for Tibetan aspirations of self-government. The Jokhang temple, 2km (1.2mi) to the east, is the spiritual heart of the city. The medieval push and shove of crowds, the street performers, the stalls hawking everything from prayer flags to jewel-encrusted yak skulls, and the devout tapping their foreheads to the ground at every step is an exotic brew that few newcomers can resist.

Among Tibet's other attractions are Shigatse, around 250km (155mi) south-west of Lhasa and the seat of the Panchen Lama (the reincarnation of whom the Dalai Lama and the Chinese government are currently disputing), and Mt Kailash, set in a beautiful range of peaks.

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