Tibet 2014 - Gyantse

Shigatse 23 September, afternoon.

With Shigatse out of the way we can drive to the lovely town of Gyantse, but again there are speed restrictions and the drive is slow. We stop at a roadside flour mill where everyone is drunk, very drunk.

The Gyantse Dzong, or fort, stands high on a rocky outcrop, the town is small and surrounded by mountains meaning it may be blessed by being less able to be too dominated by a new Chinese town. Hopefully the sense of being a quieter, kinder old town will remain. We stay at the Tibetan Jian Zang hotel and eat a late lunch of omelette at an empty restaurant across the road where we’ll return for an evening meal. Lakhshang seems to know the lady owner.

Gyantse is my favourite town in Tibet and the Kumbum stupa one of the most precious buildings. We walk inside and around the Pelkor Chode monastery and climb up the lower levels of the Kumbum peering into the hundreds of chambers with their magnificent statues before strolling through the old town. The upper levels of the Kumbum, which we explored in 2002, are covered with scaffholding and closed off for renovation.



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