Looking Back at Tibet

Bodhisattva Buddha Buddha Images Buddha Statues Buddhist Dalai Lama Himalaya Tibet

In the process of writing a book about Tibet, I wanted to look back at some of the photos.

Our journey took us to Tsaparang at the far west of Tibet, around Mt Kailash and east to Samye before finishing at Lhasa. You can find out more - and buy - about these images in the Photographs Collection.

If you like these photos and want to see more watch our video: Western Tibet & Tsaparang.

This dramatic stupa was in the town of Darchen, the start and finish point for the pilgrimage trek around Mt Kailash.

Stupa & Midnight Blue Sky, Darchen, Tibet

The far west of Tibet saw revival of Buddhism in the kingdom of Guge a thousand years ago. Most of the temples were destroyed in the 1960's during China's Cultural Revolution but this stupa at Tholing, the Yeshe-O stupa named after the 11th century king, has been maintained and restored.

Yeshe-O Stupa, Tholing, Tibet

The interior of the Mandala temple at Tholing has been destroyed, all the murals obliterated and the statues of the Buddhas either broken or melted down but the spaces once occupied by Buddha statues are clearly visible.

Mandala temple, Tholing, Tibet

This broken remnant of a Bodhisattva was the only remaining statue.

Broken Bodhisattva statue, Tholing, Tibet

The Dzong, or fort, at Gyantse is where the British army defeated the relatively unarmed Tibetans in the infamous Younghusband expedition of 1903. The British soldiers plundered the monastery. It is sometimes said that memory of this event and the vulnerability of their western flank prompted the Chinese to invade Tibet in 1949.

Gyantse Dzong, Tibet

Further west is the famous monastery at Samye where Buddhism became established in Tibet in the 8th century. This photo of giant incense burners was taken in the courtyard in the early morning. The people standing around are selling branches of fragrant juniper that you can offer into the burners.

Juniper Burners, Samye monastery, Tibet

Samye is a beautiful place and we have several images in the Photographs Collection including this outline painting of the Buddha.

Painting of the Buddha at Samye monastery, Tibet

Our journey finished in Lhasa. This photo is of the butter lamps outside the Jokhang temple and the following image was taken in a backstreet studio that was making new clay statues of the Buddha and Bodhisattvas. These are the hands of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion, known to Tibetans as Chenresig. To the Tibetans, the Dalai Lama is considered to be an emanation of Avalokiteshvara.

Butter lamps at the Jokhang Temple

Hands of Avalokiteshvara

You can see more photos of Tibet in the Photographs Collection. 

And wait for news of our book "Beyond Kailash" about our journey across Western Tibet.

Don't forget the video: Western Tibet & Tsaparang.

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