Shannan Attractions
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Shannan Attractions

Graveyard of Tibetan Kings, Shannan

Cradle of Tibetan Culture   
No other Tibetan place but Shannan lets one get so close to Tibetan history and culture. The monkey and the Raksasi, the legendary couple ancestors of Tibetans, are believed to have lived here and brought up their six children, thus starting the history of Tibet. Mt. Gongpori and the Monkey Cave , located east of the town of Tsedang, is deemed to be the exact residence of the legendary ancestors. Venerated by the ancestors' offspring, it is also an imaginative place for travelers to trace the mythical origin of Tibet.

It was in Shannan that Yumbu Lakhang, the first palace and the earliest building in Tibetan history, was built as the dwelling of the first king of Tibet, who was said to have descended from the heaven. It was also in Shannan that Songtsen Gampo (617-650) built the Trandruk Monastery, the first chapel in Tibet, after the Yarlong Tribe unified Tibet into the mighty Tubo Kingdom and moved the capital from Yarlong to the place where Lhasa is presently located. In 779, the Sam ye Monastery completed its construction at Dranang County of Shannan under the patron of Trisong Detsen (742-798), a devoted Buddhist as well as the second most prestigious Tibetan king after Songtsen Gampo. As the first formal monastery in Tibet, the Samye Monastery not only symbolized the footing of Buddhism in Tibet, but also gave birth to the first sect of Tibetan Buddhism, i.e. the Nyingmapa (Red) Sect. The Chimpuk Caves , which is just 8 kilometers from the Samye Monastery, is another notable monastery in Tibet .

As the place where the Tubo Kingdom once rooted, Shannan also boasts the first and largest graveyard for Tibetan kings. Located at Chonggye County, the Graveyard for Tibetan Kings is said to cover the tombs from the 29th to the 40th Tibetan kings, among which most have been destroyed through history, while those of Songtsen Gampo, Trisong Detsen and other seven kings have fortunately been saved for identification.

Furthermore, the Mindroling Monastery, the most significant monastery of the Nyingmapa Sect; the Samding Monastery , notable for the first female living Buddha of Tibet as its abbot; and the Chokorgyel Monastery, the former summer palace for Dalai Lamas, undoubtedly feature a Shannan culture trip as well.

Yamdrok Yumtso Lake, Shannan attraction, Tibet

Scenic Natural Park  
The Yarlung Tsangpo River roars through the Shannan Region, which features the Gyatsa Canyon and the Yarlung Tsangpo Grand Waterfall as must-sees for nature-lovers. A hiking expedition starting from Tsedang via Zangri and Gyatsa into the canyon will be rewarded with breathtaking scenery and offers the chance to duplicate the pilgrimage made by Dalai Lamas to Lhamo Latso. The lake, which lies at Gyatsa County, is venerated as the holiest lake in Tibet for its mystical power in foretelling one's future. From the time of the second Dalai Lama, each Dalai Lama has made at least one pilgrimage to Lhamo Latso, and the appearance and the birthplace of each new reincarnation have been revealed by visions appearing on the lake. On the way of the pilgrimage, a bath in the Oiga Hot Springs, especially in the one exclusively for Dalai Lamas, would provide an experience beyond comfort and relaxation.

Yamdrok Yumtso, the jade lake in Tibet, should never be missed during a trip to Shannan. With its incomparable fairytale beauty created by the placid mellow water, the surrounding green pasture and the widely-distributed islets, this lake is also abundant with fish and attracts numerous water birds to make their homes here. A side trip to Puma Yumtso, the neighbor lake of Yamdrok Yumtso, is also highly recommended as a way to experience the unique wetland scenery.

For an experience beyond what can be imagined or described, try a tour on the Yarlong River Scenic Area, the first national scenic area of Tibet covering most of the above cultural and natural highlights and other additional scenic spots.

Comments and Questions

Hi Aisha
Lhamo Latso is located in Jiacha County. It will take about 7-8 hours from Tsedang to a place named Qiongguojie where one can walk to Lhamo Latso.


7/22/2009 11:18:00 PM


Asked by Naqu (China)

how long time does a trip from Tsedang and to Lhamo Latso (and back) take?


7/22/2009 6:08:00 AM


Asked by Aisha Dahlia Salem (Sweden)