Sunday, July 13, 2014

Gyantse and Shigatse

Gyantse is a small town with a monastery. It also has some history. If you have some time, read about the British, Chinese and Russians and their battles over Tibet. Gyantse was one of the places where a battle was fought and many Tibetans were killed.


We stopped at the monastery briefly on the way to Shigatse. The stupa was closed for renovation. This reminds me: many of the sites we have visited have been reconstructed or renovated. Many monasteries were destroyed during the Cultural Revolution and that is also true in other parts of China. Where relics and important documents and statues were saved, monasteries and temples have been rebuilt. The same is true in Korea where the palaces were rebuilt after the damage done during the Japanese rule over Korea and then the Korean War. Even where things did not get damaged, renovation goes on regularly to keep up with the damage done by the hundreds of thousands or millions of visitors each year.

The photo below is of Gyantse fort, which is where Francis Younghusband defeated the Tibetans.


At Shigatse, we ate in a very interesting restaurant. The decor was exuberant - very typical of Tibet.


The next morning we went to Tashilunpo monastery, which is the home of the Panchen Lama. The Panchen Lama is historically the teacher of the Dalai Lama. The current Panchen Lama was whisked away to Beijing and is being brought up there. He comes here once a year or so. His photo is everywhere. He is in his 20's now.


The yellow windows in the photo above are where the Panchen Lama lives when he is here.

There are thousands of Buddhas on this wall.

And here is the modern juxtaposed with the spiritual and historical. The parking lot for Tashilunpo monastery. By now, by the way, the alititude was getting a lot easier to deal with. Maybe because it was our fourth day in Tibet?

After visiting the monastery, we left Shigatse and headed back to Lhasa along the river. But, there was more to see. First, some bright decorations at an intersection in Shigatse.

A bridge out of town was under construction so we got to ride along a dirt road for a while. It gave me the opportunity to get a few more photos of daily life. There are lots of greenhouses all over Tibet. They are used to start seedlings and also to grow plants that need some shelter. We passed dozens of them on the way out of town. Here's one below from the road to Shigatse.

We also passed a number of homes, with their requisite dung piles. This is a particularly impressive one. See that brown, rectangular thing in the middle of the picture. That is dried fuel, neatly stacked.


And with that, we were on our way back along the Brahmaputra river. That trip will be the subject of the next post. Now on to fiber-y stuff.

The Tour de Fleece started last Saturday. I am trying to finish last year's project first. I spun a bit on Saturday and Sunday but then was unable to do more during the week. I am going to spin some more right after I finish this post. But this is what I accomplished last weekend.

I have also been knitting away. I tried two different lace shawl patterns for this yarn.

Finally, after frogging them both, I started Nuvem and am loving knitting it. I found it hard to knit on planes and airports trying to follow a chart - on paper and on my tablet. I am now up to the end of skein 4 (from right) which is about half way.

This photo was taken at the beginning of skein 4 which you can see in the middle of the shawl. I am going to knit 6 skeins and then start the ruffle. One is supposed to knit 80% of the yarn and then knit the ruffle but it will be easier to do 75% for me as I have 8 skeins. I can start the ruffle after I join in skein 6 and make the ruffle out of skeins 7 and 8.

Lastly, this is the weekend when Meg Swanson's Retreat 2.75 is happening in Wisconsin. I miss everyone there so much and am so happy that I may be able to attend next year.

The End (for now)


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