LHASA is one of those romantic, isolated places I had dreamed of visiting. I was so fortunate to visit it in 1988, in one of the “windows of openness” when visitors were allowed and the culture was still somewhat viable.
It is the capital of Tibet, home of the Dalai Lama and at an altitude of 3,490 m (11,450’) one of the highest cities on earth. There are dazzling cultural sites such as the POTALA, JOKHANG AND NORBULINGKA palaces, SERA MONASTERY, all of great significance to Buddhists.
Located in western Tibet, Shigatse is Tibet’s second city, at an even higher altitude, 3,840m (12,600’), at the confluence of Brahmaputra and Nyanchue Rivers. It is 250 kms (160 m) west of Lhasa. The very important Tashilhunpo Monastery is located here (founded in 1447) , traditional seat of the Panchen Lamas. There is also a smaller version of the Potala, Shigatse Dzong, built in the 15th century.
One of our main objectives in the Tibet trip was to trek on the north face of Mount Everest, 8,848m (29,029′) to the first base camp, 5,150 m (16,900′). We were there in the second week of November 1988.