A lament for Tibet (picture diary).

mmghosh's picture


We travelled in Western Tibet last month (the bit that belongs to us) - a tiny residuum of an incredibly dense and literate culture, almost, one hears, wiped out in its own land.  Fortunately this culture seems to be relatively safe with us, rather than our somewhat more intolerant neighbors.


The utterly fascinating founder of modern Tibetology - Csoma de Koros - learned his Tibetan here, by the banks of this river.



Literally the "Land of High Passes" - the world's highest motorable road at 18380 ft, covered with prayer flags.



Army roads are all very well, but there aren't many.


And the monasteries!  Hugely impressive restorations, a tiny fragment of their Tibetan glory.  This enormous monastery has over 1000 monks - the main Lhasa monastery had over 20,000.


A little gem - a 1000 year-old largely wooden monastery complex.





The exquisitely restored traditional decorations.



The villages in their mountain fastnesses.






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Great photos all.


Thanks, interesting stuff. I plan on Japan for my 50th.

Very Impressive Photography!..And I Liked Nilsey's China, espc..


...the atesmospheric on the river pictures.


Best Wishes, Traveller



Thanks For The Geography/Political History Lesson

M Scott Eiland's picture

I didn't know any of Tibet fell under India's political control (probably because most of the reading I've done on the region related to Everest and its position on the Tibet/Nepal border).

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

There's a very interesting linguistic history lesson

mmghosh's picture

which I wasn't aware of, either.  The part of Tibet immediately adjoining Ladakh, but within Pakistan, is called Baltistan, where people speak Balti, apparently a purer form of Tibetan than Ladakhi.  


But they are mostly Shia and Noorbakshi Muslim.  And our neighbours are trying to impose Urdu on them, just as we are, more subtly, imposing Hindi on our side.  At least the Tibetan script is Indic!


There used to be much trade between Baltistan and Ladakh - but the borders are all closed off now because of the Siachen War.



I approached from the other side back in 2007 -- Sichuan province of china up into the Ta Gong highlands.


Manish -- how did you travel up there? jeep?


edit - you can see some of my china photos here:



“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Great pix, nilsey!

mmghosh's picture

I was in China in the same exact time!  In Shanghai, even.  


Its fascinating to see how far and how quickly the Chinese are developing Tibet in the process of annexing its waters.  We OTOH are largely restoring and extending the traditional and "monasteric" culture of Tibet in Ladakh - going the other way as it were.


People are still selling produce on th street, instead of supermarkets.




The Silk Route is largely closed, so the Bactrian cameleers now trapped on this side have to survive by hiring out camel rides.




Yes, we travelled in a jeep - well, our local version.

Where's the lament part? Also, do you want me


to try to edit those images to show in the diary?

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Thanks, Jordan.

mmghosh's picture

The lament?  Just seeing a fraction of what must have been Tibet in its glory.


The traveller Li Gotami linked in the diary captured some images of Tibet just before Lhasa was pillaged.




This is a part of the mudbrick Royal Palace in Leh, built in imitation of the Potala, and about 20 times smaller.


Copy the text from this page,


Edit your diary, switch to the plain text editor, paste it over what you find in there.  I'd use an intermedite text editor such as Notepad to hold your copy.


PS:  Fix your images one at a time, the existing text-only HREFs ought to be fine.