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Tibet - Shannan

    The southeastern Tibet is a majestic and mysterious highland area where the great mountain ranges of Himalayas, Nyanchen Tanglha and Hengduan converge. The unusual terrain has created the most spectacular scenery, unique local climate and dense forests. The towering snow-capped mountain peaks, glaciers, river rapids, waterfalls, cloud shrouded ancient monasteries, holy mountains and lakes are common sight in region of mystery and enchantment.

    The southeastern Tibet is not only known for its spectacular landscape. It also has an ancient history and esoteric religious tradition which have made local culture all the more fascinating and awe-inspiring.

    The area is inhabited by the Tibetan, Lhoban, Monban, Naxi and Den people whose  primitive life style and warm-hearted hospitality are always refreshing and exhilarating to visitors. Shannan, Nyingchi and Chamdo (Qamdo) are the three jewels of this land of riches.

    The road from Lhasa crosses the Yarlung Tsangbo River and, after extending some distance, leads into  Shannan area. This area is rich and fertile which witnessed the emergence of the Tibetan people and the rise of the Tubo Kingdom. The Yarlung River Scenic Area is designated as the only national scenic area in Tibet. It includes Yumbu Lhakang, the earliest palace in Tibet, the burial ground for the kings of the Tubo Kingdom  between the seventh and ninth centuries and the Traduk Monastery, the  earliest temple of Buddhism in Tibet, built in the seventh century. The Samye Monastery, the earliest of its kind in Tibet, sits on the northern bank of the Yarlung Tsangbo River. The legendary monkey cave is half way up the Gongpori Mountain, just behind the Tsetang (Zedang) town seat in Shannan. The picturesque Yamdro Yumtso Lake, Gyatsa Lake and Drekhu pastureland are popular scenic areas.

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Tsetang (Zetang)

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    Tsetang (Zetang), the birthplace of earliest Tibetans, sits on the south bank in the middle section of the Yarlung Tsangbo River with a moderate climate at an altitude of 3,600 meters. The nearby Yarlung River scenic area is a national scenic park with Samye Monastery, Yumbu Lhakang Palace, burial site for Tsampos and Traduk Monastery spotting the region.

    Built in the mid-8th century, Samye is the first formal Buddhist Monastery with the Buddha Dharma and Sangha in Tibet. The whole construction of the monastery, for the stupas forest-like, the building high and expansive, the scale grand and broad, is designed in accordance with the shape of "mandala" layout, and furthermore, the monastery is well-known to the whole world for the highlighted and mixed perfection of Han, Tibetan and Indian architecture style in the main hall and the numerous relics such as wood and stone carvings, frescos and statues kept in the monastery. As described in a historical book, this monastery is considered "an unimaginable construction and incomparable monastery".

    Towering at the summit of Mt. Tashitseri east bank of Yarlung River, Yumbu Lhakang is the first palace as well as one of the earliest constructions in Tibet. The legend says, it was established by "Bon" religious believers for the first Tibetan King Nyetri Tsampo during the 2nd century B.C., and later it turned to be the summer palace of King Songtsan Gampo and Princess Wencheng in Shannan. Till the reign of the 5th Dalai Lama, it was converted to a monastery of the Yellow Sect.

    Covering a total of 3.85 million square meters, the Tombs of Tibetan Kings in Chongkye County are the only tomb group of Tibet. Here buried the kings, ministers and some royal concubines from the 29th generation to the last (40th) of "Tupo" Dynasty. Of all the tombs, the most remarkable one is King Songtsan Gampo's.

    Traduk Monastery is one of the earliest Buddhist temples in Tibetan history. Built in 641 A.D., it is said that King Songtsan Gampo established the temple to suppress the ogress in order to prosper his kingdom. And later it became the winter palace of King Songtsan Gampo and Princess Wencheng in Shannan. Of all the treasures and relics kept in this monastery, the pearled Tangka -- "Avalokitesvara at his rest" is the most remarkable one.

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