Tibet Travel Expert service shares here some of the best sites in and around Lhasa for photography
Lhasa, literally means ‘the Place of the Gods’ in Tibetan language, is a heaven for photographers. Lhasa is located at an elevation of 3,650 metres in the Nyainqêntanglha Mountains of southern Tibet near the Lhasa River, a tributary of the Yarlung Tsangpo River.
Your first view of the red and white Potala Palace soaring above the Holy City raises goosebumps and the charming whitewashed old Tibetan quarter continues to preserve the essence of traditional Tibetan life. It is here in the Jokhang, an otherworldly mix of flickering butter lamps, wafting incense and prostrating pilgrims, and the encircling Barkhor pilgrim circuit, that most visitors first fall in love with Tibet.
Potala Palace, the winter palace of the Dalai Lamas since the 7th century, is a must-see where wonderful photos can be taken. Perched up Marpo Ri Hill, 130 meters above the Lhasa Valley, Potala Palace rises a further 170 meters and is the greatest monumental structure in all of Tibet. From Potala Palace, you can have a great overview of Lhasa city. From Potala Square, right opposite of Potala Palace, you can get the full view of Potala Palace. From Chakpori Hill, aka. Yaowang Mountain, you can get the exact same photo as appeared in the 50yuan RMB bill.
Jokhang Temple is the spiritual center of Tibet and the holiest destination for all Tibetan pilgrims. There are many Tibetan Buddhists praying at the courtyard outside of Jokhang Temple, performing the body-length prostration. If you are more into people and portrait photography, Jokhang Temple is the place to be. At the roof of Jokhang Temple, not only you will get a full view of Potala Palace in the near distance, the golden roof of the temple is a sight in its own right. The roof is covered with gilded bronze tiles, figures and decorated pavilions.
Located in Lhasa Old Town, Barkhor Street is a very ancient round street surrounding Jokhang Temple, a lively combination of pilgrim circuit and marketplace. Barkhor Street is a popular devotional circumambulation for Tibetan pilgrims and locals. You can take photos of Tibetan pilgrims in their colourful traditional costumes walking or prostrating clockwise along Barkhor Street, spinning their prayer wheels and chanting sutras. You can also take photos of the various Tibetan handicrafts for sell here at Barkhor. You can also take Tibetan enjoys their leisure time at sweet tea houses at Barkhor Street.
Shoton Festival at Drepung Monastery
Drepung Monastery is the biggest monastery in Tibet, located at the foot of Mount Gephel, 5km from the western suburb of Lhasa. Drepung is the site of the annual Shoton Festival, with its dramatic unfurling of a giant thangka painting on its hillside. It is a magnificent sight to photograph.
Monk Debating at Sera Monastery
One of the unique things about Sera Monastery is its long tradition of debating. As a part of their training, monks at Sera Monastery participate in a series of debates. These debates are held in a courtyard in Sera filled with little crushed stones. Monks question each other about the knowledge of Buddhist scripture accompanied with dramatic hand slapping that almost looks like a dance move. You can witness and photograph the debating ceremony at Sera Monastery from 3-5pm, Monday to Saturday.
Lake Namtso is one of the most beautiful nature sites to photograph in and around Lhasa. Namtso Lake is located on the border between Damxung County of Lhasa prefecture and Baingoin County of Nagqu Prefecture, which is about 240km away from Lhasa city. On the way to Namtso, you will see the massive pasture, Tibetan nomads with their yaks and sheep, and endless snow-capped Mt Nyainqentanglha in the distance. The crystal-clear Namtso Lake itself is a surreal sight to behold. If you spend the night at the lakeshore, you can also photograph the magnificent stars here at night, also the sunrise at Namtso Lake the next morning.
Tibet Travel Expert service is happy to arrange Tibet Photography Tours for photography-lovers around the world. For the basic tips, please check Tibet Photography Tours: Tibet Travel Tips for Photographers. If you have any further question about Tibet Photography Tours, please feel free to get in touch with us via email, firstname.lastname@example.org.