Xigaze Travel Blog› entry 45 of 58 › view all entries
After leaving our Tsampa man on the road between Gyantse and Shigatse we cruised our way for the relatively short drive into town and pulled up at the Everest Guest House which we expected would be a bit more downscale than our previous Tibetan accommodations. Lucky for us said Tenzin, they were overbooked and so his company had told him to put us up at a better place that was previously owned by the Panchan Lama, the second in command next to the Dalai Lama. This ended up being a pretty nice hotel and is conveniently located within walking distance of one of the main sites in Shigatse, the Tashilhunpo Monastery whose monastery and temple complex are actually the currently un-used seat of the Panchan Lama.
Tenzin dropped us off at another tourist type restaurant where it seemed all of the very few westerners in town were lunching and told us to “take a rest” before visiting the monastery this afternoon.
We had read that Tashilhunpo was one of the few monasteries in
Anyway, Tashilhunpo is the seat of the Panchan Lama and we were looking forward to wondering around the complex and seeing the temples. You might notice a lack of pictures in this entry. That is because, unlike the other monasteries we have visited who might occasionally charge a modest camera fee, this place charged $10-$20 per temple to take pictures and is known for having monks who at best are indifferent and non-friendly and at worst, rumored to be Chinese informants.
The panorama shot gives you an idea of the size of the complex with all of the golden roofed temples and the large fort on the right. The open courtyard itself was nice but in wandering up towards the hill and the temples, the grounds are really dirty and poorly kept. That in addition to the over the top camera fees and unfriendly monks made for a pretty short and disappointing visit. At least you can take pictures outside of the temple without having to bribe the monks. A few of them are here just to break up the text (I know many of you only like to skim over my long-winded diatribes and descriptions and just look at the pix J
Later that evening, we walked a bit down the road searching for the local internet café that Tenzin mentioned and eventually found it, a huge, smoke filled rooms with 100’s of computers and 100’s of kids mostly playing games and IM’ing each other.
Tomorrow we climb to higher altitude (about 16,300 ft) at Shegar in preparation for our ascent of Everest (OK really just a visit to base camp but it sounds much cooler to say “ascent of Everest”)