AsiaChinaXegar

Sakya, Shegar and first sighting of Mt Everest

Xegar Travel Blog

 › entry 11 of 24 › view all entries
Farmer with his yaks plowing the field
We left Xigaze for Xegar (Shegar or Shekar, also known as the new Tingri probably because it's the top political town in Tingri prefecture) today. Our drive took us further west and to more unpaved roads. There were occasional small villages and we stopped when we saw a farmer plowing the field with his yaks. We got closer and closer with cameras, as he was plowing back and forth. As he got closer to us, he would slow down, and the yaks would turn around and go the other way. As we took more photos, he would slow down some more. Eventually I walked over to him and gave him a polaroid photo of him and his yaks. He however seemed more interested in getting a few RMB's. He would be only Tibetan that I paid any money to for photos (not counting those with dogs and yaks doing it as their business).
At top of the Tso La


The 4WD's climbed higher and an hour later we reached our first high pass (Yulung La at 4950m) today. There were lots of prayer flags on top of this pass, and many piles of stone cairns. There were many vendors also selling prayer flags, papers and small souvenirs. Joel bought some papers, and with Jan and Kevin, proceeded to throw the paper into the winds. Kevin thought it was like littering, but we convinced him these papers disintegrate easily enough, and Tibetans have been doing it forever! Kristin also got some prayer flags and the kid who sold them to her helped her climb the microwave or cell phone towers to tie them high! Before returning to the car, I took a polaroid photo of the prayer flags over the pass, and the kid came  to ask me to photograph him, and so I did more polaroid photos of regular Tibetans.
view of prayer flags and the road from the Tso La pass
I had hoped before the trip that some would be willing to pose for photos, but they really like the instant photos. Anyone wanting to make some quick friends is advised to bring along an instant camera and lots of film!

We took a detour to visit Sakya monastery. Sakya was the base of the Sakyapa sect of Tibetan buddhism which rose to power in the 13th century, although the monastery was originally established in the 11th century. The abbot of the Sakya Monastery was chosen by the Mongols to be the ruler of Tibet, and the Sakya sect still has some influence today. The Sakyapa allowed the monks to marry, and the power of the leader is transfered from father to son. There was a great hidden library at Sakya, however, the access to it was not possible, the Great Chanting Hall which leads to it was under renovation and nobody was allowed inside.
Kid helping Kristin tie up the prayer flags
It is supposed to contain thousands of Buddhist scriptures, many hand copied over the centuries and inked in gold! We visited two rooms where monks were chanting, one room had older monks, and another younger ones. We asked and photos were permitted for a small fee (I think it was 25RMB in one, and 15RMB in another) so I took a lot of photos of the monks chanting. There was another chapel for the protectors which had dead and dried up animals hanging over the entrance. It was very interesting to say the least. More walking around, and the monks had finished their chanting and were returning to their dorminatories. I asked some if I may take their photos, and they willingly obliged.  We then walked on the wall surrounding the monastery, it was a neat walled compound, and you get a great view from on top of the walls.
Kevin, Joel and Jan throwing Tibetan papers to the wind at the top of Tso La
On the mountains not too far away, we could see ruins of the original Sakya monastery.

We had lunch at a restaurant/hotel in Sakya and then headed back toward Xegar. This was when we drove over the 2nd high mountain pass today, the Gyatso La at 5248m. There was a big sign saying we were at the Qomolangma National Nature Preserve, the area which included Mt Everest! As we decended the pass (a bit less than 1 hour later), we were rewarded with our first view of Mt Everest! Yeah! It was still more than 80 miles away, but looked impressive nonethe less. Tomorrow we would get up early and hope to catch sunrise at another pass (Pang La at 5200m) with view of the Himalayans. We were told to dress warmly for that.

We arrived at the small town of Xegar. Kevin reported there was not much around after a little walk around the hotel. At least they had electricity and hot water and more than enough food.
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Farmer with his yaks plowing the f…
Farmer with his yaks plowing the …
At top of the Tso La
At top of the Tso La
view of prayer flags and the road …
view of prayer flags and the road…
Kid helping Kristin tie up the pra…
Kid helping Kristin tie up the pr…
Kevin, Joel and Jan throwing Tibet…
Kevin, Joel and Jan throwing Tibe…
Sign at entrance of Sakya Monastery
Sign at entrance of Sakya Monastery
Main courtyard at Sakya Monastery
Main courtyard at Sakya Monastery
Roof decoration, the usual Kharma …
Roof decoration, the usual Kharma…
Incense burner saying Sakya Monast…
Incense burner saying Sakya Monas…
Sakya Monastery
Sakya Monastery
Butter lamps in Sakya Monastery
Butter lamps in Sakya Monastery
Statue of a lama in Sakya Monastery
Statue of a lama in Sakya Monastery
interior Sakya Monastery
interior Sakya Monastery
A monk blowing a shell instrument …
A monk blowing a shell instrument…
Sakya Monastery
Sakya Monastery
Sakya Monastery
Sakya Monastery
Sakya Monastery
Sakya Monastery
Sakya Monastery
Sakya Monastery
Sakya Monastery
Sakya Monastery
Sakya Monastery
Sakya Monastery
Sakya Monastery
Sakya Monastery
Hanging dead animals outside the p…
Hanging dead animals outside the …
Monks at Sakya Monastery
Monks at Sakya Monastery
Sakya Monastery
Sakya Monastery
Sakya Monastery
Sakya Monastery
Sakya Monastery
Sakya Monastery
Sakya Monastery
Sakya Monastery
more animals at the same entrance …
more animals at the same entrance…
Sakya Monastery.The entrance with …
Sakya Monastery.The entrance with…
Sakya Monastery, the hall where th…
Sakya Monastery, the hall where t…
on the wall surrounding Sakya Mona…
on the wall surrounding Sakya Mon…
view of monks quarters from the wa…
view of monks quarters from the w…
A monk on the wall of Sakya Monast…
A monk on the wall of Sakya Monas…
the original Sakya Monastery was o…
the original Sakya Monastery was …
Sakya Monastery
Sakya Monastery
Tibetan countryside
Tibetan countryside
Our drivers taking a break
Our drivers taking a break
Kevin yaking around at Gyatso La, …
Kevin yaking around at Gyatso La,…
Big sign at Gyatso La
Big sign at Gyatso La
At Gyatso La
At Gyatso La
Snow capped mountains visible from…
Snow capped mountains visible fro…
Our first view of Mt Everest!
Our first view of Mt Everest!
Ticket to Sakya monastery, 45RMB
Ticket to Sakya monastery, 45RMB
Xegar Hotels & Accommodations review
Xegar is not exactly a big town, and selection of lodging was limited. There was a big window in the stairwell which was blocked by a wall on the ou… read entire review
Xegar
photo by: portia