It was about five in the morning when our car loaded with cement, marched through the night to the mountains Garmudu. On another dark sky is not po- our bright shining star. Cold to the bone, even in the cockpit, and our driver turned on the heating Shen. Travel to Tibet, to which my friend and I, being on the scientific training in Beijing, preparing for several months, has begun.
Tibet – the concept capacious. Geography named so Tibetan plateau, which is bordered by chain highest mountains; It is a combination of flat plains 4-5 thousand meters in height with ridges 6-7 thousand meters in height and occupies a significant part of Central Asia (approximately 2 million square feet. km). As an administrative unit of Tibet is one of China’s five autonomous regions, which includes only a part of what is considered Tibet geography; approximately 4 million Tibetan resides only about half. But all this is the subject of interest of specialists, a simple tourist attracts Tibet other, primarily its southern regions adjacent to Himalayas, where the capital of Lamaism Lhasa is located, some other religious and cultural centers of Tibetans. It was going to go back there and we. It would be wrong to argue that I dreamed of a trip to Tibet all my life. Its remoteness, exclusively harsh natural conditions, as well as the fact that Tibet is almost always (as in XX., and before) for various reasons was closed not only for foreigners, but also for the Chinese, – all this did a trip to Tibet not more real than a walk with and. Custo on underwater grotto or visiting the southern pole. But here, going to China, I learned that Tibet became available, and from now on the thought of the trip there did not give me peace. And when it turned out that my friend thinks about the same, we began to gather.
From the central regions of China in Lhasa there are two highways: from the East – from the city of Chengdu (prov. Sichuan) and from north – from the city of Garmud (Prov. Qinghai) – the final point of the railway Sinin – Garmud. You can get into Lhasa and aircraft, but it is not interesting, and not very cheap. We decided to go through Garmud.
Tibetan Highlands We saw, barely our train, breaking through a series of tunnels, finally got on the plain. Over the windows of the car, dry steppes turned into a semi-desert, which were replaced by black pebbles. Nearby embarrassed (from calf) sheep, whose shepherds tidy on small horses. On the left in the smoke flashed the strip of water, and soon our train was going along the huge – shores were not visible – Zinc Lakes (Cucunor), whose water was under the color of the sky. At the stations there was a brisk trade in the fish not known to me. We bought and we and we bought a couple of fried Rybin and regretted that they took little – very tasty!
In Garmud, we arrived in the evening and went to one of the many cars here, whether the arrival of the courtyards to search for transport to Lhasa. Quite soon it turned out that: 1) there are no free passing cars going on Lhasa; 2) The bus will go there only every other day, and there are no tickets too; 3) there are no places in the hotel located here. It went to night, and the prospect of spending the night on the street did not please. But the fate turned out to us with gracious: the young hotel administrator still decided to shelter us, and a young tall guy appeared closer in our room and he said that he was lucky in his truck in Lhasu and ready to capture us with him – Two in the cockpit enough. It was Shen – our good angel who did a lot to our journey successfully and was interesting. Before the departure remained a day, and in the morning we went to inspect the harmoud. This city is small, located in a semi-desert area at an altitude of about 3.5 thousand m at the crossroads of roads leading to different areas of Tibet. With his birth, he, apparently, is obliged to build at the beginning of the 50s Highway on Lhasa. A large number of visitors are striking, mainly Tibetans, who are concentrated on autobacies, and often spread their tents right on the street. Garmuda is well felt as much means for modern Tibet car. The chauffeur is here – the figure is very respected.
Sitter. The road on which we went, gradually crawled into the dry canyon. A few more trucks joined us – Drivers are trying in Tibet, do not ride one one. The meaning of this was understood by the evening: when we rose to the pass through the tangla ridge, we have lowered the rear wheel, and the travelers helped Shen quickly change him. Alone, he could not cope, and then we were threatened overnight under the pass, and the night in Tibetu Lukey.
Highway from Garmuda on Lhasa – its length of about 800 km is done on the plateau (the average height of about 4000 m), which rises in several steps towards the south from north and goes to the tangla ridge (length of about 700 km, height more than 6000 m). With it, such great Asian Rivers, like Yangtze, Brahmaputra, Mekong, Saluine. Behind the ridge Gorge and mountain valleys, the road goes to Lhasa. The steps are also connected by passages, which, however, are little similar to the passes of the Big Caucasus (pass through the tengel of another type).
The highway itself is well-groomed, from time to time come across small villages – apparently, road workers. Closer to the evening at the entrance to the tangla ridge we stopped near one of them. To the right of the road fled on pebbles a small river, and for her I got rid of Yaki. "It is Yangtze", – explained to us Shen. So she is what his cradle, this largest river China, for many hundreds of kilometers from the mouth accessible to ocean courts!
Tanklu crossed at dusk. Everything went well, although our driver warned that it would be difficult to breathe (the height of the pass of about 5.5 thousand meters). Drove all night, barely persuaded Shen to build a couple of hours in the cockpit. And in the morning I was waiting for a surprise: at the crossroads of roads, where the turning pointer was stood on Lhasa, Shen suddenly said that his cement was not lucky in Lhasa, but in Shigatse, and offered us to ride with him – all the same way. We naturally agreed.
By the middle of the day, we left ashore not very big, but a powerful and full-water river, which, then running on the sleeves, then joining a single stream again, laid the way to the south on the wide, lined up the valley. This was Brahmaputra – one of the largest rivers of India.
Pontoon approached, we crossed on the other side and along the river rushed to the ultimate goal of our journey – the city of Shigatse.
Shigatse is located at the mouth of the Nian-Chu, the right influx of brahmaputra, and is the second largest Tibetan city (about 50 thousand inhabitants). Through him the road goes to Nepal, the border is completely close. In Shigatsza is built in the middle of XV in. One of the students of the famous reformer of Buddhism Zzzhava Monastery Zhong-Lunba, who was a second place in the meaning of the hierarch of the Lamisian Church of Pancheng Lama.
The road passed through the rich villages with good spacious houses. There was spring on the courtyard, and people were in the fields. When Shigazze was still quite far away, there was something like a large screen ahead, which was installed on the rising above the valley of the hill. As it turned out, it is located on the territory of the monastery complex and is intended for the picture with the image of the Buddha, which is stretched on the screen on the holidays.
Shigatse seemed to me a very clean and well-kept city, the central part of which is built up by low modern views of the houses.
From Shigatsze we left early in the morning. Again drove up to the monastery, he was still closed. But the people under his walls were noticeably added. Picking a little, we moved to Lhasa.
We returned another expensive – the one that these two cities have tied. When we went to Lhasa by the end of the day, I realized that, compared to this expensive, the one we arrived in Shigatse – Autobahn. It is here that Tibet revealed our temper. But also attractive places for tourist here are incomparably more.
From the Valley of Brahmaputra on River Valley and Gorge, the road goes to the mountains. Here at an altitude of about 5.5 thousand m above one of the valleys, like a large crystal, hubs a huge, fabulous beauty that shining a glacier in the sun. Then the road comes out to the largest freshwater lake Yordok-Tso (Yangzhyun Hu) – about 300 km in circle. On the shore of this lake we drove two hours. From him the road is again cool up (approximately 6 thousand meters), and from there it begins long, with numerous bizarre turns descent to the valley of Ki-Chu, where Lhasa is located.
Mountain roads are melted so much unexpected, they are not only giving a traveler with unique landscapes, but also forced to wander. So, jumping out of the next gorge, we barely faced the oncoming machine. Shen sharply slowed down, and our car, slightly swaying, hung over the river, which fled down at the bottom. Later, climbing on the shore of the lake, we barely knocked down.
And nevertheless, in the evening, we, whole and disadvantaged, got out near the center of Lhasa from the cockpit, said goodbye to our Shen, fought off the crowd of beggars and curious and went to seek accommodation. Immediately reminded himself a highlands – it was bad, and the legs moved with difficulty: in the cabin car, where we spent almost three days, it was incomparably more comfortable.
We got enough easy. It was a small, extremely modest hotel in the center of the city, which gathered under its roof a rather hundreds of representatives of various peoples and countries of people of different ages. Built in Lhasa, a gorgeous inturist hotel, where the day you have to pay as much as the usual Chinese receive for a month and a half, the ordinary tourist tries to bypass. A somewhat acclimatizing, we took the bikes in the hotel and went to get acquainted with the city.
Lhasa (Country of Consumer) is located in the Valley of the River Ki-Chu (Happy River), the influx of brahmaputra, at an altitude of 3650 m. Here are the high mountains, blocking this valley from the north and south, somewhat retreating from the river. The climate in the valley is quite different than on the plateau, softer. In March, when we were in Lhasa, the daily temperature rose to 180, but the nights were very cold. In the summer, Lhasa suffers from rains, it is quite regular to hovering out of the coast of Ki-Chu. And autumn and spring dry and sunny.
According to Lhasa legend, it was founded in the middle of the VII in. Tibetan king of the srondyzanbambo and was formed as an important center of the northern branch of Buddhism. Later it becomes the place of stay of the Lamisian Church of the Dalai Lama; There are also the main shrines of this religion. Currently, Lhasa is the capital of the Tibetan Autonomous District PRC. The city looks quite modern, the bulk of buildings are two-three-story houses of a relatively recent construction; from old lhasa, except that directly connected with Lamaism, relatively little. The appearance of the current Lhasi is increasingly determined by the university complex, standing in the park on the banks of the Ki Chu, the post office, auto and airbrokes, the hotel, concert halls, restaurants, television, which snaps on the rock opposite the Potala. The city is well-groomed and clean.
In the center of Lhasa on a small square and the streets adjacent to her, the city market is located. I did not seem particularly rich. Basically here are selling edible – pellets, meat, vegetables. In the morning, if you do not sleep, you can buy an excellent ripper (apparently, from the meal milk). Pretty much local market "Exotics": Daggers, semi-precious stones, wild animal skins, old coins, various crafts from stone, metal or wood. All this is designed for inturist. And although when we were there, the sellers were clearly more than buyers, on the prices it affected little.
The main mass of Lhasa residents (about 100 thousand of them) – Tibetans, although quite a few and Chinese. And all the names of institutions, as well as the inscriptions at bus stops and other public places are given on Tibetan and Chinese languages. English speakers a little, it is mainly those who communicate with foreigners. Among the local population, two types are quite clear: tall, strong physique, a face of something resembling American Indians, and people are low, more subtitled, in their appearance they are closer to some peoples living next to Tibet. Rushed into the abundance of lamas. They are dressed in a special cut of red-brown clothes, one shoulder remains naked; they go often bare.
Both pilgrims and tourists Lhasa attracts primarily as the capital of Lamaism – the northern branch of Buddhism.
The spread of Buddhism in the Valley of the River Ki-Chu is associated with the wives of the Tsar Sronzzanbambo, which ruled in Tibet in VII in., – Chinese and Nepalese princesses who, going to their narrowed, brought the statues of Buddha (they are preserved). Later, already in the XIV in., Buddhism was reformed by one of the largest church figures of Zhonhava; He gave a local religion that kind she preserves and so. The Highest Hierarch of the Lamisian Church is the Dalai Lama – the locative of the Bodisatva of Avalokiteshwara, and the second person – Panchen Lama, the reincherion of the Buddha Amitaba, – We saw his residence in Shigatse.
The center of LamaZma, covered by its main shrines, is Potala – a huge palace monastery complex, considered the largest Buddhist monastery in the world. It is erected on a horseshoe cliff of Marbo Ri (Red Mountain) on Lhasa. The first buildings appeared here in VII in., But he gained his current appearance only in the XVI-XVII centuries.
Central part of the complex of red-brown, like clothing at Lam, colors. It is called "Red Palace". Here were the apartments of Dalai Lama, the main Lamisian shrines, tomb (sombugans) of the Dalai Lam, starting with the fifth. Another part of the Potala – "White Palace", where before the courtiers lived, there were reception halls, storerooms, etc. Lamaism is not just a religion, for a long time he determined the whole life of Tibetans (and other peoples who confess Lamaism), here it developed here and existed for several centuries the theocratic state headed by hierarchs of the Lamisian church. By mid xx in. There were about 3,000 monasteries in Tibet and more than three hundred thousand monks (a significant part of the male population). Changes did not bypassed Tibet side, but also today every day huge crowds of pilgrims from all areas of the country rushed to the Lamisian temples.
During our stay in Lhas, Potala was opened for visitors twice a week in the morning to lunch. paid entrance.
In addition to the Potala, in Lhasa and the closeness of it are still a few very well-known and revered lamaist monasteries. This is a big Zhu, he was built in the center of Lhasa in memory of the Chinese princess, who became the wife of the Tibetan Tsar, Sir Monastery, which is located four kilometers north of Lhasa (he stands, clinging to the carpurious grief). One of the brightest impressions left a visit to the Brybun monastery, very revered by believers. It is 8 kilometers to the west of Lhasa, and it is possible to travel by bus on the highway laid on the banks of Ki-Chu.
Based on the monastery in 1416. one of the followers of Zhonhava. It is in the Great Garden for the Southern Footpath of Mountains, and from the West it covers a small ridge, separated from the territory of the monastery with a big ravine. On the slopes of hanging over the brick rocks of red and blue paint, paintings are depicted on which terrible messengers (apparently, doctors – guardians of faith) are drunk in the boilers of sinners. Not far from these paintings something like a small park, and even higher, closer to the top, two idols can be seen. The monastery complex itself is not fully preserved, during our visit, some of the destroyed buildings were restored. But the main building of the monastery, erected in the life of its founder, in excellent condition. The main attraction is the huge statue of the Buddha Maitrei, which is in an equally majestic, immersed in the twilight of the central hall of the monastery. At the entrance to it on the racks go out to the ceiling, sutras are praying. And in a small room in another wing of the building were put on richly decorated objects. In Brickunas are also tombs (soupguans) of the second, third and fourth Dalai Lam. Getting acquainted with Brailo helped us an elderly and, apparently, a rather high rank of Lama, who for some reason took us under his care.
The term of our stay in Lhas was rapidly approaching an end – we were waiting for a certain period of far from Tibet, and it was necessary to think about departure. The desire to return through Eastern Tibet was not possible: at the bus station we were told that the snow fell, the passes were closed and the bus would not go, and we did not risk the Motherhoga, this incomparably more difficult and dangerous than that we arrived. I had to take a bus ticket to Garmud. Taking a picture of the farewell to the monument to the builders of the highway, tied by Lhasa with the central regions of China, standing near the bus station, and left for the bus and departed in Garmoud. There was a Xining ahead, where did the new route of our trip in China begins.