Tibet Photos

Historical home of the Dalai Lama


Tibet is one of the most fascinating and least understood “countries” in the world.  Unfortunately, “country” is in quotation marks because as far as the Chinese are concerned, Tibet is not a country at all, but rather an “autonomous region” of China.  Once you get to Lhasa it is easy to see why “autonomous” is such a misnomer.  The absolutely wonderful Tibetan people are becoming a minority in their own land because of the oppressive occupation by the Chinese government since1950.  The Dalai Lama was forced to flee in 1959 – when the Chinese destroyed 6,000 (no, that’s not a typo) monasteries – and he has not been able to return to his homeland since.  When I landed at the airport outside of Lhasa, Chinese authorities searched my luggage when X-Rays showed that I had books with me.  Fortunately they did not discover my copy of “The Power of Compassion”, with the Dalai Lama’s picture on the cover.  I found out later that had they found it, it would at minimum have been confiscated, and I could have been arrested.  So much for the free speech that we take for granted in the western world.

While the Chinese have severely repressed the Tibetan people, they have managed to build roads, housing and infrastructure – and they have restored the World Heritage Site Potala Palace (pictured above).   This historic, architectural, and religious symbol of Tibet is now a museum.  The 1,000 years old Jokhang Temple is an interesting center of tourism. Lhasa shows signs of economic prosperity though true Tibetans mourn the loss of their religious and political freedom.

I did a 1,000 mile drive (with car, driver and guide) from Lhasa (12,000 ft elevation) southwest through Tibet, over a 17,400 ft Himalayan pass, past Mt. Everest and to the border of Nepal, ending up in Kathmandu in five day’s time.  The road was excellent most of the way, but nearly impassable the closer we got to Nepal.  It was an exciting trip through very desolate countryside.